Hawaii Business License

You can obtain a Hawaii business license online or by mail.

We provide the information and resources you'll need to get federal, state, and local licenses and permits for your small business, including the seller’s permit.

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How to Get a Business License in HI

You can get a business license online or by mail by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.

Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).

There are three main licensing jurisdictions:

  • State
  • Local
  • Federal

State of Hawaii Business Licensing

The main state-level permit or license in Hawaii is the General Excise Tax License, sometimes called a seller’s permit.

You must obtain a seller's permit if you:

  • Are engaged in business in Hawaii
  • Intend to sell or lease goods or services that are subject to the state’s general excise tax.

Visit the Hawaii Tax website to obtain a General Excise Tax License.

Additionally, Hawaii requires some professions to obtain additional licenses or permits. Check with the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division for more information.

Local Hawaii Business Licensing

In Hawaii, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.

For example, Hawai'i County requires auctioneers, firearm dealers, dance halls, pawnbrokers, scrap dealers, second-hand dealers, and businesses involved in purchasing, wrecking, or rebuilding used cars to have separate local business licenses.

Contact your local Hawaii city or county office for more information.

Steps for Obtaining a Business License in Hawaii

Hawaii General Excise Tax License

You can register for a Hawaii General Excise Tax License online or by mail.

Apply for a Hawaii General Excise Tax License

OPTION 1: Apply Online With Hawaii Business Express

Apply Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: Apply by Mail

Download Form


Fee: $20

Mailing Address:
Hawaii Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 1425
Honolulu, HI 96806-1425

Other Hawaii Business Licenses

The processes for obtaining other state and local business licenses vary. Contact the Hawaii Professional and Vocational Licensing Division or your local Hawaii city or county office for more information.

Renewal

The Hawaii General Excise Tax License does not need to be renewed. Check with the relevant government office for renewal policies and procedures for any other licenses you have.

Federal Business Licenses and Permits

You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).

If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.

Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:

Agriculture
Alcoholic beverages
Aviation
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Commercial fisheries
Maritime transportation
Mining and drilling
Nuclear energy
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics

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HI Business License FAQ

What is a business license?

A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.

What are the types of business licenses?

There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.

Is there a national business license?

Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.

Is an EIN the same as a business license?

No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.

Is an LLC considered a business license?

No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.

Who needs a Hawaii business license?

Any business that sells taxable goods or services needs a Hawaii General Excise Tax License. Other businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses.

What licenses do I need to open a business in Hawaii?

Most businesses will at least need a Hawaii General Excise Tax License. Other businesses in certain professions or locations may need additional licenses.

What is a seller’s permit?

A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In Hawaii, this is another name for a General Excise Tax License.

How much does a Hawaii business license cost?

The registration fee for a Hawaii General Excise Tax License is $20. Fees for other licenses vary.

How do I get a Hawaii business license?

You can register for a Hawaii General Excise Tax License online or by mail. To register online, use the Hawaii Business Express website. The processes for obtaining other licenses vary.

Do I have to renew my Hawaii business license?

The Hawaii General Excise Tax License does not need to be renewed. Check with the relevant government office for renewal policies and procedures for any other licenses you have.

Hawaii Business Resources

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