Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire




Tech tax-credit abuse in eye of Tax Dept.

The Department of Taxation yesterday announced plans to crack down on abuses of the state's high-technology tax credit known as Act 221.

Passed by the 2001 Legislature, Act 221 provides tax credits for investments in high-technology businesses. It has been criticized as being an economic boon mainly for moviemakers who have taken advantage of the law's broad wording to reap substantial benefits.

"Act 221 is very generous by design, but some investors have pushed it beyond what was intended," Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi said in a news release.

Preliminary Tax Department figures show credits claimed under Act 221 totaled $46 million last year, nearly three times as much as expected. The state's Council on Revenues last week cited the lost revenue from tax credits in lowering its forecast for growth in tax revenues this fiscal year to 4.3 percent from 6.1 percent.

To address the concerns, the Taxation Department said it plans to develop an audit program intended to target abusive claims.

The department also plans to seek additional information from taxpayers trying to claim the credit and publicize the rules clarifying the application of the act.

The state Tax Review Commission in a report in January, said Act 221 was too broad, too generous and lacking in accountability.

The high tech tax credit only requires that more than half of the total business activity actually be high-tech in order to qualify for the credit, meaning for every $200 invested, $100 can be spent on non-high-tech activity and the investor still gets to deduct the entire $200 investment, the commission said.

BancWest deal to be honored

The Hawaii chapter of Financial Executives International will honor First Hawaiian Bank parent BancWest Corp. with the Deal of the Year award May 19 at the Ala Moana Hotel.

BancWest is being recognized for working out a deal to be acquired for $2.4 billion in December 2001 by French banking giant BNP Paribas SA.

The award, which is being presented for the ninth year, recognizes Hawaii's most resourceful and far-reaching business deal. The FEI consisting of current and retired financial leaders from a majority of the largest companies in Hawaii, university finance faculty and representatives from national public accounting firms.


Matson moving across the bay

San Francisco >> Matson Navigation Co., an ocean carrier based in San Francisco since 1882, plans to move to a 21-story tower in Oakland, developed by realtor Shorenstein Co., according to company spokesman Jeff Hull.

About 200 company employees will occupy 52,580 square feet on the Oakland office tower's seventh and eighth floors and part of the ninth. That's less space than the company now rents in San Francisco, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, which Hull confirmed.

Matson's lease at the Oakland office is for 12 years and will begin January 2004.

The company needs less office space after transferring some departments elsewhere in recent years, Hull said. In the new location, Matson, a unit of shipping and real estate company Alexander & Baldwin Inc., will receive better tax incentives, lower rent and will be closer the port of Oakland, he said.


New jobs

>> The accounting firm formerly known as Richard R. Lychywek CPA has reopened as Lychywek & Jennings CPAs, Inc. in Honolulu. James D. Jennings is president and chief executive officer. He has more than 11 years of public accounting experience and was manager of Richard R. Lychywek CPA Inc. for four years before taking over the firm. Chris Caddell, Cortney Thai and Janice Ah-Nee have been hired by the firm. Caddell has more than five years of public accounting experience. Thai has mor than two years of public accounting experience. Ah-Nee has more than 16 years of public accounting experience. Richard Lychywek has retired. 

>> Joe Velasquez has been named director of sales and marketing for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Velasquez will oversee the group and leisure sales teams and all marketing efforts for the Maui resort. He was most recently director of sales and marketing for the Park Hyatt Los Angeles.


>> Nancy Daniels, Carolyn Fujioka and Amy Hennessey have earned the accredited in public relations designation from the Public Relations Society of America. Daniels is public relations manager for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts. Fujioka is Hawaii director of public affairs for State Farm Insurance Cos. And Hennessey is a senior account executive with McNeil Wilson Communications Inc. There are 35 APR-certified public relations practioners in Hawaii and 5,000 nationwide. The designation requires passage of a national exam.

>> The Hawaiian Humane Society has presented the Arthur P. McCormack Award to Barbara Cox Anthony for her lifelong support for the welfare of all animals. The annual award honors achievements that embody the humane spirit exemplified by "Mr. Mac," a past executive director of the Hawaiian Humane Society.

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