How to Start an LLC in Hawaii

Here are the 7 steps to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Hawaii

For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.

Find out how to form a Hawaii LLC for yourself

Learn about Hawaii LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

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Creating an LLC in Hawaii

A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.

A Limited Liability Company LLC must be formed in Hawaii by filing a Articles of Organization with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and paying the $50 filing fee.

However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your Hawaii LLC . If you file an LLC in Hawaii online, it will usually take 5-7 business days to complete (or 3-4 weeks if you submit by mail) unless you pay an additional $25 for expedited processing 1-3 days.

An LLC can be easily formed in Hawaii. Simply follow these seven steps, and you’re done. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.

How to Start an LLC in Hawaii

Step 1. Choose a Name for Your Hawaii LLC

Creating an LLC in Hawaii requires you to choose a business name before you can file a Articles of Organization. Be sure that your business name complies with the Hawaii naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.

  • Hawaii law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
  • It is not acceptable for your Hawaii LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC Hawaii appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
  • There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
  • Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)

See a complete list of Hawaii’naming rules here.

Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your Hawaii LLC name.

Recommended: Consider setting up a business phone service after securing a domain name for your LLC to establish credibility and improve customer satisfaction.
 
Wise business plans offer a variety of features for businesses, including Toll-free numbers, Coverage in US and Canada, team messaging and more. Try our business phone services today.

No. A DBA is simply a business's nickname. It cannot become a legal business entity. DBA registration can only be done if you already have a legal business entity or if you wish to operate as a sole proprietor or partnership.

A business entity name may be reserved for a period of 120 days if it has been submitted to the Hawaii Department of Commerce as an authorized reservation. The Hawaii Department of Commerce allows online filing through Hawaii Business Express for name reservations.

An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".

Step 2: Appoint Your Registered Agent in Hawaii

Your next step in creating an LLC in Hawaii is to appoint a Registered Agent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.

All Hawaii LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.

Registered Agent Requirements in Hawaii

To comply with Hawaii law, your LLC’s registered agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in Hawaii. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person.

 A registered agent may be an individual residing in Hawaii or a domestic or foreign business authorized to transact business in Hawaii.  

Although you do not have to submit this form to the Secretary of State, your business must record it. Learn more about Hawaii Registered Agents by reading our full guide.

You must select a Hawaiian Registered Agent who is a resident of Hawaii or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, that is authorized to do business in Hawaii. You may pick any member of the company, including yourself.

Changing your LLC's registered agent is a quick and easy procedure, but it must be done correctly to avoid difficulties. A registered agent is an individual or company who acts as the representative for your LLC in legal matters. It is possible to change your registered agent after you establish your LLC.

Are You looking for a Registered Agent?

Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when Creating an LLC in Hawaii.

Step 3.Prepare and File Articles of Organization

To create a Hawaii LLC, you will need to file Form LLC-1 Articles of Organization  For Limited Liability Company with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division.. You may apply online, by mail, or in person.

There is a $50 filing fee. You must send the original and a copy of your Articles of Organization if you file by mail.

You will receive a duplicate form back from the state once it receives your documents.
It may take up to3- 4 weeks to process a mailed submission.

There is a $25 expedited processing fee (1-3 days), but the state recommends filing online instead.

If you choose one of our business formation services, we can handle this step for you.

The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:

  • Your LLC name and principal place of business.
  • Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
  • Decide whether your Hawaii LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
  • The reason for creating an LLC in Hawaii.
  • Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
  • The effective date of the certificate,
  • The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.

Foreign LLCs:  For the registration of a Foreign Limited Liability Company in Hawaii, you must file an Application for Certificate of Authority for Foreign Limited Liability Company (Form FLLC-1), along with the appropriate filing fee(s), with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Business Registration Division. Registration can be done online, by email, by mail, or by fax.   

A filing fee of (Form FLLC-1) is $50. with an additional fee of $25.00 for expedited service.

Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization

The 1st option is:

Online filing through the Hawaii Business Express

The 2nd option is:

Filing the Articles of Organization by Mail

There is a state filing fee of $50 payable to the Hawaii Department of State (nonrefundable). Fee of $1 for State Archives (possibly 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

All members of a member-managed LLC have the power to act on behalf of the company. In a manager-managed LLC, managers are chosen by the members and have broad powers over management and operation.

The state of Florida normally takes about a 3 to 4 weeks by mail. 5-7 business days via fax, in person, or online. If you file online and pay the $25 expedite fee, it will take 1-3 business days.

If you're just getting started with your business or have already been running as a sole proprietor, consider setting up an LLC. LLCs shield owners from personal liability for corporate obligations and claims. When it comes to ownership, management, and taxation of the company, LLCs provide a lot of flexibility.

Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State

Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.

By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.

Step 5. Write an Hawaii LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.

Operating agreements are not required in Hawaii, but they are an essential part of your business.

Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.

The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.

An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.

How should an operating agreement be drafted?

The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:

  • Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
  • Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
  • If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
  • The members and their contributions
  • How profits and losses will be divided
  • Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members

In Hawaii, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization.

An operating agreement is not required by law to form an SMLLC, and it is not filed with the state. Instead, an operating agreement is voluntary—though suggested. If you want one, keep it at your company's registered address.

An operating agreement is not required in Hawaii, but it is highly suggested. By having one, you'll be able to preserve your limited liability status, avoid financial and managerial mix-ups, and make sure you choose the rules that govern your business rather than state law by default.

When a sole proprietorship is converted to an LLC, the IRS requires that a new EIN be issued.

The IRS offers free EINs. You may obtain an EIN for free from the IRS. Getting a EIN is a simple procedure that may be completed online or by mail.

Step 6. Get an EIN for Your Hawaii LLC

Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in Hawaii.

To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.

An EIN is used for the following purposes:

  • Manage state and federal taxes
  • Create a business bank account
  • Hire employees

Get an EIN Number in Hawaii

Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in Hawaii.

The 1st option is:

Apply online for an EIN from the IRS

The 2nd option is:

Get an EIN by Mail or Fax

Address to Mail

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

After your LLC is established, you'll need to acquire a Hawaii Tax ID Number (from the HI Department of Taxation). You'll also need to obtain any further (and necessary) tax licenses.

A tax classification will be discussed with you when you obtain an EIN. In most cases, LLCs choose the default status.
Some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by electing S corporation status. Consult with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.

When a sole proprietorship is converted to an LLC, the IRS requires that a new EIN be issued.

The IRS offers free EINs. You may obtain an EIN for free from the IRS. Getting a EIN is a simple procedure that may be completed online or by mail.

 

Step 7. File Your Hawaii LLC Annual Report

The Business Registration Division of the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs requires all LLCs to file an annual report and pay a $15 filing fee. The Domestic Limited Liability Company Annual Report form (Form C5) may be printed out and filed by mail instead.

The state will send your LLC an annual report reminder on or before the anniversary month. For example, if your LLC was established on July 15, then your report is due each year between July 1 and September 30.

Due Date: Due by the end of the calendar quarter in which the LLC was formed.

Late Filings:  LLCs are fined $10 a year for late filings in Hawaii. Furthermore, LLCs may be dissolved after 2 years if they fail to submit an annual report on time.

Are you Looking for Hawaii LLC Formation Service?

Get the easiest and fastest Hawaii LLC formation online with Wise business Plans.

What to do After Forming Your Hawaii LLC

Keep your personal and business assets separate

Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your Hawaii LLC is sued if they are mixed with your business accounts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in Hawaii:

 

1. Create a Business Plan:

If you have decided that a Hawaii LLC will be a good choice for your business in Hawaii, your next step is to create a business plan (although it is not required), so that you have a roadmap for what you will do and how you will accomplish it.

Business Plan Template

Free: Business Plans Examples

Do you need help creating a business plan? Check out these six free, proven business plan examples from different industries to help you write your own.

1. Open a Bank Account

As soon as your LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between the LLC and you (the owner).

Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.

It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. Find out which banks offer the best business checking accounts, have low or no fees, ATM accessibility, and interest-earning accounts as well as online or mobile banking tools. 

Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.

2. Obtaining a business credit card:
  • Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
  • It prevents your business from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
  • Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
  • Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made

Getting Business Insurance for Your LLC

You can manage risks and grow your LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:

  • General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
  • Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.

Ready to Protect Your Business

Let us help you with your business insurance needs.

 

  • General business liability insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Term life insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Surety bonds
  • Commercial auto

Create Your Business Website

A website is an important step in legitimizing your business. It is essential for all businesses. You are missing out on a large percentage of potential customers and revenue if you don’t have a website, even if your business is too small or in an offline industry.

More than 90% of consumers begin their search for products and services online. If you don’t have a website that is ready to welcome your customers, then they will simply find your competitors.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • Every respectable firm has a website. When it comes to getting your firm online, size or sector isn’t a concern.
  • Creating a basic website has never been easier, thanks to website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder. To design a website, you don’t need to hire a web designer or developer.

Recommended: If you want to enhance your conversion rates and maximize revenue in order to help expand your business and meet objectives, you should always hire a professional business website design company to build your business website.

Wise Business Plans is a leading web design company, We have created over 2000 + websites across 20 countries for our clients but we are physically based in 7 major cities in the United States including Alabama web design, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Iowa, Michigan and San Diego.

Hawaii LLC FAQs

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division charges $50 to file the Articles of Organization. You may reserve your LLC name with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Registration Division for $10.

An LLC provides liability protection and tax advantages, as well as other benefits for small businesses. LLC formation in Hawaii is easy.

You must set up a professional limited liability company (PLLC) if you offer a licensed professional service in Hawaii and want to form an LLC. Architects, attorneys, dentists, public accountants certified by the IRS, and more are examples of professional services. LLCs may be formed in Hawaii to provide professional services, according to state law. However, only one type of service can be offered and all of the LLC's owners must be certified or licensed to perform the professional service for which it was created.

Following these three steps will dissolve an LLC in Hawaii: Follow the Operating Agreement.

Step 1: Follow Your Hawaii LLC's Operating Agreement. The steps for dissolution will usually be specified in the operating agreement for LLCs.

Step 2: Close Your Business Tax Accounts.

Step 3: File Articles of Dissolution.

You can change the name of your LLC using the Articles of Amendment to Change Limited Liability Company Name if you want to do so. You may submit the required form by mail, fax, or in person. In Hawaii, forms must be filled out in black ink. Make sure you include a non-refundable $25 filing fee because there

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