Posted on Apr 12, 2001 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 01-02
April 12, 2001
Real Property Tax Information Made Confidential by Ordinance

The Office of Information Practices’ Opinion Letter No. 01-02 addressed a proposed bill for an ordinance to make certain tax assessment records of the City and County of Honolulu confidential. Ordinances that make records confidential are not recognized under the legislative policy established by the Uniform Information Practices Act (Modified), chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statues (“UIPA”). Thus, an ordinance to make records confidential would be effective only to the extent that it was consistent with the UIPA.

Records that fall within the categories of public records set forth in section 92F-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, including “real property tax information,” must be disclosed without exception. Records that are not within the categories subject to mandatory public disclosure are presumed to be public, but may be shown to fall within an exception to public disclosure under section 92F-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Should an agency believe that a record not subject to mandatory disclosure falls within an exception to disclosure, the agency has the legal responsibility to justify non-disclosure of those records.

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