Posted on Aug 1, 1992 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 92-10
August 1, 1992
Department of Taxation Written Determinations

[NOTE:  The statutes at issue in this opinion letter were amended by Act 115, Session Laws of Hawaii 1994 (see HRS ch. 231), which permits the Department of Taxation to disclose segregated copies of written opinions, and creates administrative and judicial appeals processes. This may materially affect the conclusion reached in similar future opinions.]

The Department of Taxation’s written determinations, or opinion letters, concerning the applicability of the State franchise tax to loans in which the borrower is located out of state are protected from required disclosure to the public under the UIPA.

Using the federal definition of the term “return information” for guidance, the OIP found that such opinion letters constitute return information, the disclosure of which is a criminal offense under State law. The OIP noted that Congress, unlike the State Legislature, has adopted specific provisions allowing for the disclosure of written determinations by the IRS. Because of the significant public interest in the disclosure of the Department of Taxation’s advisory opinions, the OIP recommended that the Department and the State Legislature adopt provisions similar to those of Congress. OIP
Op. Ltr. No. 92-10 (Aug. 1, 1992)

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