Mandatory Electronic Filing

Section 231-8.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, enables the Department of Taxation (DOTAX) to require certain taxpayers to file tax returns electronically. Any person who is required to electronically file (e-file) a tax return and fails to do so shall be imposed a penalty of 2 percent (2%) of the amount of tax required to be shown on the return, in addition to any other applicable penalties and interest.

Electronic-filing (e-filing) requirements are different from electronic payment (e-pay) requirements.

Tax Types Required to E-file, with Effective Date
Tax Return Type Effective for
Taxable Period beginning on or after
Cigarette & Tobacco tax
(Forms M-19 and M-110)
September 1, 2019
(Tax Announcement No. 2019-02)
Fuel tax
(Forms M-20A, M-22 and M-36)
September 1, 2019
(Tax Announcement No. 2019-02)
Liquor tax
(Form M-18)
September 1, 2019
(Tax Announcement No. 2019-02)
Rental motor vehicle, tour vehicle, and car sharing vehicle surcharge tax
(Form RV-2 and RV-3)
October 1, 2019
(Tax Announcement No. 2019-03)

Additional tax type with mandatory e-filing requirements will be added in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How do I e-file?
A: Use Hawaii Tax Online to e-file your returns.

Q: Will an e-filed return be posted immediately?
No. E-filed returns are processed and posted nightly. The return status will change from “submitted” to “processed” in Hawaii Tax Online. The effective date of the e-filed return is the submitted date.

Q: Does mandatory e-filing apply to both periodic and annual returns?
A: Yes. If you are required to file returns electronically, both periodic and annual returns must be e-filed.

Q: Does the e-filing requirement apply to returns that I need to submit or amend for prior tax filing periods?
A: No. Only returns for taxable period(s) beginning on or after September 1, 2019 (for Cigarette & Tobacco, Fuel, and Liquor taxpayers) or October 1, 2019 (for RV taxpayers) are required to be e-filed. The requirement applies to all new, supplemental, and amended returns.

Q: Is there a minimum tax liability threshold for the e-filing requirement?
A: No. All tax types required to e-file must e-file regardless of their tax liability

Q: If I am not required to e-file, can I still e-file?
A: Yes. Most widely used return forms are available for e-filing on Hawaii Tax Online. E-filed returns are easier to complete, more accurate, and processed more quickly than paper returns. We encourage all taxpayers to e-file as it is the convenient, fast, and secure way to file your tax returns.

Q: Can I submit attachments with my e-filed return?
A: If an attachment is required with a return, Hawaii Tax Online will prompt you to attach a file. If you are not required to submit an attachment with a return, you will not be able to submit attachments.

Q: Can I request a waiver from the e-filing requirement?
A: Yes. You can request a waiver from the e-filing requirement by completing and submitting Form L-110 and providing an explanation of why you cannot meet this requirement. Your request is subject to approval.

Q: If Hawaii Tax Online is unavailable on the return due date, what should I do?
A: We encourage you to e-file early to ensure that your return can be processed in a timely manner.
We do our best to ensure that Hawaii Tax Online is available and plan maintenance windows to avoid due dates. In the unlikely event that Hawaii Tax Online is unavailable on the return due date, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure taxpayers can e-file without a late penalty.

Q: If I can’t sign in to Hawaii Tax Online and need to e-file a return, what should I do?
A: Some returns are available for e-filing without signing in to Hawaii Tax Online.
You can reset or retrieve your user name and password yourself on Hawaii Tax Online. Telephone assistance is also available during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 7:45AM – 4:30PM, excluding holidays) by calling (808) 587-4242.