If you want to get someone’s blood boiling just mention the title of this article: Hawaii Timeshare Taxes and Maintenance Fees. Timeshare owners from Westin Ka’anapali and other Maui timeshare resorts are furious and feeling helpless to do anything about the situation. What is the situation?
Maui County: “The county is appealing a decision by 2nd Circuit Court Judge Peter Cahill, who in March issued an order saying the timeshare property tax classification established more than 10 years ago is illegal. He ruled that the tax rate for the classification from 2005 to the present is “invalid and void.” (source)
The lawsuit involves the owners of Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas and Maui County. But the impact will have a dramatic effect on all timeshare owners in Maui.
Over ten years ago a new tax rate was created for timeshares: $15.41 per $1,000 taxable assessed valuation. Hotels and resorts pay $9.34. Residential homes pay $2.85. For years this extra cost has been passed on to the timeshare owners by increasing their maintenance fees to cover that cost. One owner’s annual fee went from $1,500 to over $2,600 in one year!
But if the county loses their appeal they will have to refund an estimated $34 million in excess taxes it has collected. Of course they would be forced to refund it to the resort developer. But will the timeshare owners see any of that refund? Not likely. Will they see a reduction in their annual fees? Again, not likely. And what is a timeshare owner going to do against a big corporation like Starwood or Marriott or whomever they use to enforce the fees?
Many timeshare owners have become frustrated to the point of just selling off their timeshare. Why not? A non owner can rent a villa at one of the many Westin or other Maui resorts for the cost of a maintenance fee or less. So what is the motivation to own? This has also become a huge point of contention for timeshare owners: especially when they are denied reservations due to the practice of overbooking non owners.
I’d love to hear of your experiences with your Hawaii timeshare and how your annual fees have been affected!
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