Tom Yamachika is the President of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to informing the taxpaying public about the finances of our state and local governments in Hawaii. This means the Foundation looks at how government raises the money it spends, be it taxes, user fees, or borrowing money through the use of debt. While most of the Foundation’s attention is focused on state government, it also keeps a watchful eye on county governments as they annually set real property tax rates in order to fund their respective budgets.
Tom received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a Note and Comment Editor of the California Law Review. He received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale College, where he was elected to Tau Beta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated magna cum laude.
Tom is a tax attorney in solo practice since early 2013. Prior to 2013, he was with the accounting firm Accuity LLP, which was formed in 2006 from the Honolulu office of Coopers & Lybrand (which later became PricewaterhouseCoopers). Before that, he served as an Administrative Rules Specialist in the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation from 1994 to 1996, where he drafted rules, interpretive releases, and legislation on several different state taxes. Prior to that, he practiced litigation and tax law with Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright in Honolulu.
In his capacity as President of the Tax Foundation, Tom writes weekly articles on tax topics, many of which appear in Civil Beat, Hawaii Free Press, The Garden Island, the Maui News, and West Hawaii Today. He has also authored longer articles, such as “Demystifying ‘Contractors’ in the Hawaii General Excise Tax,” published in the October 2016 Hawaii Bar Journal; “Hawaii General Excise Tax–‘The Omnipresent Snare’” published in the national Journal of State Taxation May-June 2010 issue, and “Real Property G.E.T. Issues: Property Management, Commissions, and Leasing,” in Hawaii Business magazine’s June 2011 issue.
Tom currently is a Tax Committee affiliate member of the Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants, and is also a member of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. He is on the board of directors of Goodwill Contract Services of Hawaii. He was recently Vice Chair of the Honolulu Real Property Tax Advisory Commission, and was for many years Problems Coordinator for Oahu Math League, an organization sponsoring mathematics competitions for Oahu high school students.