How to File a DBA in Hawaii

Filing a Hawaii trade name, also known as a Hawaii DBA (doing business as), is an easy process that is achieved by filing the Hawaii Application for Registration of Trade Name with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Follow our step-by-step How to Get a DBA in Hawaii guide to get started today.

Important: A DBA is only used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

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Follow These Steps to File Your Hawaii DBA

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A professional service will handle filing your DBA in Hawaii, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

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Filing a DBA in Hawaii is Easy

Step 1. Start with a Hawaii Trade Name Search

When you register your Hawaii trade name, you are essentially letting other business owners know that the name is in use. Your trade name isn’t protected from being used by others.

The next step is to check to see if your Hawaii trade name is unique and also meets Hawaii’s business name requirements.

First, visit the Hawaii Business Express website and search for your new DBA name so you will know if it’s already in use.

Hawaii also recommends searching local phone directories and checking with the Department of Taxation to see if your trade name has been used.

Next, review the naming requirements. In Hawaii, your trade name should NOT include:

  • Words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • The following terms without approval from the State Commissioner of Financial Institutions: financial institution, bank, banker, banking, banc, savings bank, savings and loan, savings association, financial services loan company, credit union, trust company, intrapacific bank, international banking corporation, and trust.
  • The following terms without state approval or certification: certified public accountant, public accountant, CPA, PA, cooperative, escrow, and escrow depository.

Need Help Creating a Brand Name and Logo?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. Then, create a unique logo for your brand with our free logo generator.

Need Help Choosing a DBA Name?

If you need help coming up with a DBA name, try our business name generator. You can use this tool to generate both business names and domain names.

We recommend checking if your name is available as a web domain (URL). You might not plan on starting a business website today, but you may want to prevent others from acquiring your URL.

Find a Domain Now

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2. Register Your Hawaii DBA

Your Hawaii trade name can be filed online or by mail with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. You can file online with the Hawaii Business Express website, or you can complete a hard copy Application for Registration of Trade Name.

Some important sections of the form include:

  • Section 3: Indicate the status of the applicant (Sole Proprietor, Corporation, Partnership, LLC, LLP).
  • Section 7: Describe the nature of the business.

A DBA does not offer any legal protection for your personal assets in the event that your business is sued. For more information on setting up a limited liability company, visit our How to Form an LLC page and select your state.

File a Hawaii Trade Name

Option 1: File Online With Hawaii Business Express

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Application for Registration of Trade Name by Mail, Fax, Email, or In-Person

Download Form


Cost:
$50 Filing Fee

Office Address:
Check Hawaii's list of Business Action Centers for in-person filing.

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

Email: breg-doci-filing@dcca.hawaii.gov
(Include form and credit card information)

Fax: (808) 586-2733
(Include form and credit card information)

Manage Your Hawaii Trade Name

General Questions
Call the Business Registration Division: (808) 586-2727

Renew Your Trade Name With the State
Your Hawaii trade name should be renewed every five years. You can renew it online at any time during the six months preceding the expiration date.

Change Your Trade Name
You can change your trade name by withdrawing your initial trade name and repeating the registration process.

Withdraw Your Trade Name
You can cancel your trade name online.

After Filing Your Hawaii DBA

If filing a DBA marks the beginning of your business journey, then there are a few more steps that you should take before getting started:

  • Create your Business’s Website - Every business needs a website. Luckily, drag-and-drop builders like GoDaddy and Wix make the job quick and easy. Check out our Best Website Builder article to find the tool that’s best for you.
  • Get your Business Finances in Order - You’ll need to separate your business finances from your personal ones. This is accomplished by opening a business bank account. If your business has long lead times or other cash flow irregularities, you can also look into a business credit card.
  • Protect Your Business - While an LLC will help to protect your personal assets in the case of a lawsuit, your business’s assets also need protection. Having the right business insurance will ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens. Most businesses start with general liability insurance as their base coverage.

Need Help Filing Your Hawaii DBA?

Have a Professional Service File Your Hawaii DBA For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your business.

Recommended: MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) 

DBA Hawaii FAQ

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. Each one comes with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, meaning more is not necessarily better.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you need one for your business, read our What is an EIN guide.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

No. An LLC is a business entity, while a DBA is just a name for a business.

Sole proprietorships are often confused with DBAs, but they are not the same: a sole proprietorship is a business entity, therefore it can choose to become an LLC.

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have Inc. in the name?

A DBA can only have Inc. in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

Holding a rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection. The best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. In any case, it is always best to consult an attorney.

When would it be good to get a DBA versus a legal name change?

Getting a DBA is often a better choice than changing your business’s legal name. If you want to rebrand your company or focus on another line of business, filing for a DBA is a simpler process than filing for a legal name change.

Is my DBA protected from being used in other places?

Some state-level laws prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but this varies from state to state. It is possible to trademark a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

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