How to Start an LLC in Hawaii

Last Updated: by the TRUiC Team

To start a Hawaii LLC you'll need to file the Articles of Organization with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which costs $50. You can apply online, by mail, by fax, by email, or in person.

Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Hawaii guide to get started today.

  1. Name Your LLC in Hawaii
  2. Choose a Registered Agent
  3. File the Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN
  6. File the Annual Report
  7. Keep Your Company Compliant

Or Simply use a professional service:

four point seven out of five Northwest ($29 + State Fees)

Learn more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide. To form an LLC in any state, visit our How to Set Up an LLC guide.

Hawaii State map icon with filing cost

Step 1: Name your Hawaii LLC

Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your Hawaii LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Hawaii naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.

1. Follow the naming guidelines:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Your name cannot include words that could confuse your Hawaii LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your Hawaii LLC.

For a complete list of naming rules in Hawaii, you can read Hawaii's Naming Guidelines.

2. Hawaii Name Availability. Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a business name search on the Hawaii State website.

To learn more about searching for a Hawaii LLC name, read our full guide.

3. Is the URL available? We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

Find a Domain Now

Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.

We reviewed and ranked the best LLC services. Find out which is best for you.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Hawaii

You are required to nominate a Hawaii Registered Agent for your Hawaii LLC.

What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business's point of contact with the state.

Who can be a Registered Agent? A Registered Agent must be a resident of Hawaii or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in Hawaii. You may elect an individual within the company including yourself.

Recommended: Northwest provides the first year of registered agent service free with LLC formation ($29 + State Fees)

Step 3: File Your Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization

To register your Hawaii LLC, you will need to file Form LLC-1 - Articles of Organization with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. This can be done online, by mail, by fax, by email, or in person.

Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.

File the Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With Hawaii Business Express

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form LLC-1 by Mail, by Fax, by Email, or in Person

Download Form

State Filing Cost: $50, payable to the State of Hawaii (Nonrefundable) plus $1 State Archive Fee (May be refundable)

Mailing Address:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
335 Merchant St.
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, HI 96810

Office Address:
335 Merchant St.
Room 201
Honolulu, HI 96813

Fax: (808) 586-2733


For help with completing the form, visit our Hawaii Articles of Organization guide.

Hawaii LLC Formation Document

If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the State of Hawaii, you will need to form a foreign LLC.

Step 4: Create Your Hawaii LLC Operating Agreement

When creating an LLC in Hawaii, LLCs are not required to have an operating agreement, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.

Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Hawaii LLC operating agreement guide.

Recommended: Download a template or create a Free Operating Agreement using our tool.

Step 5: Get a Hawaii LLC EIN

You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

  • To open a business bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees for the company

Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.

FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Step 6: File the Annual Report

Hawaii requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Department of Commerce. This can be done online, by mail, by fax, by email, or in person.

File Your Hawaii Annual Report

OPTION 1: File Online With Hawaii Business Express

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form C5 by Mail, by Fax, by Email, or in Person

Download Form

Fee: $12.50 online, $15 via hard copy

Mailing Address:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, HI 96810

Office Address:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
335 Merchant St., Room 201
Honolulu, HI 96813

Fax: (808) 586-2733


Due Date: Due dates for Hawaii LLC annual reports vary depending on which quarter the date of registration falls in. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs provides reminders at the beginning of each filing quarter.

Late Filings: Any annual report received after the required filing quarter will result in a $10 late fee. Failure to file an annual report for two or more years will result in the dissolution of your Hawaii LLC.

Steps After LLC Formation

Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.

Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.

Step 7: Keep Your Company Compliant

Hawaii Business Permits and Licenses

To operate your Hawaii LLC you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

The details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Hawaii requires all businesses such as sole proprietorships, DBAs, LLCs, corporations (S corp and C corp), partnerships, etc. to obtain a General Excise Tax License. Make sure you read carefully and don't be surprised if there are short classes required as well.

Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of license you are seeking to obtain.

Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:

Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review on Startup Savant.

Hawaii LLC Tax Filing Requirements

In order to keep your business in good standing, it's important to stay up to date on your Hawaii LLC taxes.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax.

Hawaii General Excise Tax

Hawaii doesn’t impose a sales tax; instead, the state levies a General Excise Tax (GET) on all business activity. Businesses must obtain a General Excise Tax License from the Department of Taxation. 

The General Excise Tax is paid by the business and not the consumer. The state allows businesses to charge their customers GET under most circumstances, but businesses are still ultimately responsible for the payments.

Read our Hawaii General Excise Tax guide to learn more.

Hawaii Employer Taxes

If you have employees in Hawaii, you will have to register for the Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. You will also need to sign up for the Employee Withholding Tax through the Hawaii Department of Taxation on behalf of your employees.

Register for Hawaii State Taxes

General Excise Tax | Unemployment Insurance Tax | Withholding Tax

Federal LLC Tax Filing Requirements

Most LLCs will need to report their income to the IRS each year using:

How you pay yourself as an owner will also affect your federal taxes. Visit our guide to learn more about how to pay yourself from your LLC.

Read our LLC Tax Guide to learn more about federal income taxes for LLCs.

Hiring Employees in Hawaii

If you plan to hire employees, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:

Recommended: Check out our Hiring for your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.

Common Questions About Hawaii LLCs

What is an LLC?

LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. For more information, read our What is an LLC guide.

Watch our video: What is an LLC?

How do I name my Hawaii LLC?

You must follow the Hawaii LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:

  • Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
  • Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
  • Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.

If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.

After you get your business name, your next step is getting a unique logo. Get your unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.

Do I need to get a DBA or Trade Name for my business?

Most LLCs do not need a DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.

To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.

Can I be my own Registered Agent?

Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the registered agent for your Hawaii LLC.

Read more about being your own registered agent.

Is a Registered Agent service worth it?

Using a professional Registered Agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your Hawaii LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs. 

For more information, read our article on Hawaii registered agents.

What is the processing time to form my Hawaii LLC?

Two weeks, but may be expedited for an additional fee.

What is the difference between a domestic Hawaii LLC and foreign LLC?

An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC we are actually referring to a domestic LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.

Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.

How much does it cost to start a Hawaii LLC?

The cost to start a Hawaii LLC is $51.

To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form a Hawaii LLC.

Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?

No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.

How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?

A social security number is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more here about applying as an international applicant.

What tax structure should I choose for my Hawaii LLC?

When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.

However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.

Do I need an EIN for my LLC?

All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.

Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.

What is the minimum wage in Hawaii?

The minimum wage in Hawaii is $12 per hour.

How often do I need to pay employees?

Hawaii requires wages to be paid at least twice per month unless the employee and employer get special permission from the Hawaii Department of Labor to be paid on a monthly basis.

Hawaii Business Resources

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