Open main menu
Hawaii Wiki Topics
Hawaii flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Hawaii Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Online Resources

Tax money bag.jpg

Why Use Tax Records

By studying several consecutive years of tax records you may determine when a young men came of age, when individuals moved in and out of a home, or when they died leaving heirs. Authorities determined wealth (real estate, or income) to be taxed. Taxes can be for polls, real and personal estate, or schools.

Tax record content varies and may include the name and residence of the taxpayer, description of the real estate, name of original purchaser, description of personal property, number of males over 21, number of school children, slaves, and farm animals. Tax records usually are arranged by date and locality and are not normally indexed. Tax records can be used in place of missing land and census records to locate a person’s residence.

How to Use Tax Records for Hawaii

County Level

The Hawaii State Archives has both personal and property tax records for Hawaii (1855-93), Kauai (1855-92), Lanai (1855-92), Maui (1887-92), Molokai (1855-92), and Oahu (1855-1929). These tax records are not indexed and are incomplete. The early tax records are a poll tax only. The tax records were taken on a division basis with each island divided into many divisions. It is necessary to know the correct division in order to search these records.[2]

State Level

Property tax records and tax maps were moved from state to county control about 1980. Tax maps dating as early as the 1920s are on microfilm at the Real Property Assessment Office. The address for the City and County of Honolulu is 842 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.

The Hawaii State Tax Office has a map room with tax maps beginning in 1932. These tax maps give the names of owners, estate heirs, and field books. The field books give the title history and its book and page numbers, which are found in the Bureau of Conveyances.[3]

Home page Hawaii archives

Hawai‘i State Archives
Kekāuluohi Building
‘Iolani Palace Grounds
364 S. King Street
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813
Fax: (808) 586-0330

Business Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturday, Sunday, and State Holidays

Tax Laws

While property taxes are locally levied, there is significant state involvement with the amount of tax local political subdivisions can levy, how property assessments are conducted, and what services local taxing subdivisions must provide for their residents. Many of the changes the state has made to lower the local property tax required a shift in financial responsibility from the local governments to the state.