Buying and Selling FAQs in Hawaii
I just bought a used car and I have driven it once in six months because it's always in the shop. Does it count as a lemon?
Unfortunately, at this point in time, Hawaii's Lemon Law only applies to new vehicles. The law does not apply to motor scooters, motorcycles, or mopeds, either.
I bought a car on the mainland and am shipping it to my home. What's this "use tax" I have to pay?
The use tax is similar to an import tax. It is a protective measure the state has taken to amass funding from residents buying less expensive products from the mainland and having them shipped to the islands. If every resident did this the state and counties would go broke from a lack of sales tax collected.
You pay the tax on the vehicle at the time of registration. The one-time fee is 4% of the landed value of the vehicle. Thus, if the vehicle endures serious damage during shipment you do not pay the full rate.
Do I have to pay a use tax if I buy a car on Oahu and have it shipped to Maui?
No. Use tax is a state tax levied only when you import a vehicle from the mainland.
Can I keep my license plates for souvenirs when I sell my car?
Unless you transfer the plates to a new vehicle, you have to turn them into the local DMV. However, if you are looking for a souvenir you can contact your county DMV office and request a sample plate. Fees for the sample plate vary by county.
If I buy a car from a neighbor, how can I get temporary tags?
Simply bring the bill of sale from the transaction and the transferred title to a local DMV. The DMV will take the title and begin the transfer process into your name and give you temporary tags in the meantime.
I heard you could find out about what a car has been though before buying it. How do I do that?
It is a good idea to always order a vehicle history report prior to handing over your money. The records are easily accessible and the results allow you to buy with confidence.
I bought a car with cash from an individual. The seller transferred the title but now I hear I need a bill of sale. Is this true?
In Hawaii all vehicle transactions, including private deals, need to include a bill of sale. The document is necessary to register the vehicle with the state.
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