Whether you represent a foreign entity seeking authority to conduct business in Hawaii, or you plan to create a new company from the ground up, you will need to first file the appropriate paperwork with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. With each filing there will be an administered fee payable by check or credit card depending on the filing process. Filers will have the option of using the Business Registration online portal; a website which has made the process as quick and painless as possible. The traditional paper filing of the forms can also be executed through the downloading and printing of the PDF file.
Start an Entity
Search for a Name
Foreign and domestic companies alike will need to operate under a name which is completely distinguishable from all other corporations, LLCs and partnerships within the state of Hawaii. To ensure that this is the case, we suggest performing a Business Entity Search on the Business Registration Division’s website. It often occurs that foreign entities will be required to use a fictitious name to operate under for the duration of their term in Hawaii if their original title has already been registered by another company.
How to Register in Hawaii
Step 1- The first step to registering your business is agreeing upon a name which accurately represents the type of business transacted by your company. Once this has been accomplished, you can proceed by performing a Business Entity Search to verify its availability. Foreign entities applying for a Certificate of Authority should also perform this query to ensure that they won’t have to administer a fictitious name for use in Hawaii. A Name Reservation can also be performed prior to the filing of the necessary forms. This process will allow for businesses to retain the rights to their name for a period of 120 days prior to registration.
Step 2- Once you’ve selected a name which is unique to your business, you will be able to begin filing the necessary paperwork. This step can be accomplished online and through PDF forms. A tutorial for each of these processes, and for every business type, can be found linked in the list below.
- Domestic Profit Corporation
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation
- Foreign Profit Corporation
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation
- General Partnership
- Domestic Limited Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership
Step 3- Once the forms have been completely and accurately filled, you will be able to proceed by paying the filing fee (fees listed below). Online filers will find that upon clicking the “Review and Purchase” function at the bottom of the form that they will be given access to the fields necessary for their credit card information. Once you’ve paid by credit card, your filing will be sent in for processing. Those opting for paper filing will need to write a check covering the filing fee and made payable to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. An additional $25 can be attached to any filing to expedite the processing.
- Domestic Profit Corporation- $50
- Domestic Non-Profit Corporation- $25
- Foreign Profit Corporation- $50
- Foreign Non-Profit Corporation- $25
Limited Liability Company
- Domestic Limited Liability Company- $50
- Foreign Limited Liability Company- $50
- General Partnership- $15
- Domestic Limited Partnership- $25
- Domestic Limited Liability Partnership- $25
- Domestic Limited Liability Limited Partnership- $25
- Foreign Limited Partnership- $50
- Foreign Limited Liability Partnership- $50
- Foreign Limited Liability Limited Partnership- $50
Step 4- If you don’t plan on using the government website to file, you will need to attach the filing fee to your application forms and mail them to the below address. Foreign entities will also be expected to attach a certificate of good standing authenticated by the Secretary of State or like authority from your jurisdiction of original formation. This certificate must be issued within 60 days of your filing with the state of Hawaii.
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 40 – Honolulu, HI 96810
A Name Reservation is a very useful function which can be filed online or through a PDF file. This application will allow business owners to prevent other entities from utilizing their company name for a period of 120 days prior to their filing with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. This process can be especially useful for foreign entities wishing to avoid operating under a fictitious name. The price for this type of filing is $8.50.
Certificate of Good Standing
A Certificate of Good Standing is often referred to as a certificate of status or existence and can be filed for using your account with the Business Registration Division’s website. It can prove useful for businesses wishing to expand to regions other than that of their initial formation. Most states will require that a certificate accompany the application forms to prove that your business has complied to state laws and is punctual with it’s annual reports. The fee is a mere $7.50 and the certificate can be downloaded in PDF form or sent to you in the mail.
The corporate bylaws, operating agreement and partnership agreement all serve a very similar function; to establish the rules under which your company shall operate. These agreements will contain any provision not already listed in the original registration documents. This document can serve as legal evidence and for this reason you should seek legal advice when drafting to ensure that all details have been described as accurately as possible. Each link below will give you access to a free template in both MS Word and PDF file formats.
Employer Identification Number
Many businesses will need to apply for an EIN after filing with the state authorities. This number is often referred to as the Federal Employer Identification Number and is used by Internal Revenue Service to do exactly what it sounds like; identify businesses withholding federal income tax. Without an EIN, business owners will be unable to register for loans, apply for credit cards, open checking and savings accounts or otherwise conduct any kind of financial transaction. You can acquire this identifier Online or through the mail with the PDF Application (SS-4). Review our tutorial for more information.