Starting a Business in Hawaii: LLC Formation
Hawaii is the westernmost state of the U.S. and the only one composed entirely of islands. Although the Hawaiian archipelago is made up of hundreds of islands, the majority of Hawaii’s cities and population live on just a handful.
Hawaii is famed for its climate, culture, natural scenery and friendly people. It is a center for tourism, although it supports several other economic sectors.
For most business owners, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Hawaii is by creating a Hawaii LLC. A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business entity that’s ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. You get the advantages and protections of larger Hawaii corporations, but with much simpler rules and regulations.
Briefly, the benefits of starting a Hawaii LLC include:
- Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
- Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Hawaii LLC
- Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
Six Quick Steps for Creating Your Hawaii LLC
This guide has plenty of information on how to start your Hawaii LLC, but you can break down the basics of forming a business in HI into just a few simple steps.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Hawaii LLC
You will need a distinctive and original name for your Hawaii LLC that’s not used by any other business in HI. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a Hawaii business entity name search on the HI Business Registration Division website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Hawaii LLC.
Learn about Hawaii LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your HI LLC
Every Hawaii LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Hawaii, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Hawaii LLC
Every HI LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Hawaii Business Registration Division.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your HI Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Hawaii and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Hawaii Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about Hawaii Registered Agents.
STEP 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Hawaii LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Certificate of Organization with the Hawaii Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your Hawaii LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the HI Business Registration Division. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Hawaii LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your Registered Agent
- Duration of the business
- Name of the incorporator
You can file your Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Hawaii. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
Form Your LLC Now
Review Information About Hawaii Business Registration
The HI Business Registration Division has plenty of information on forming and running a business in Hawaii.
These are all the basic steps for forming an LLC in Hawaii. You’ll find other useful information below.
Special Types of Hawaii LLCs
A regular Hawaii LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Form a Professional Hawaii LLC
Some states allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs,” but Hawaii only recognizes professional corporations, not professional LLCs.
Form a Foreign LLC in Hawaii
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Hawaii, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on Hawaii filing and licensing requirements here
What to Do After Forming Your Hawaii LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in Hawaii? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
Detailed Information for Your Hawaii LLC
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the Hawaii business registry of the HI Business Registration Division and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a Hawaii LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Hawaii Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Hawaii Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Hawaii rules. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), Hawaii and federal business licenses, Hawaii annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Hawaii government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and Hawaii taxes like sales tax and income tax.