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Hawaii Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Hawaii

To start a Hawaii corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Business Registration Division (BREG) and pay $51 in state fees. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Hawaii corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in the Aloha State are as follows:

  1. File Hawaii Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay BREG the $51 in state fees
  3. Wait to receive an approved copy of your Articles
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Hawaii corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a Hawaii corporate bank account
  7. File a Basic Business Application (Form BB-1) with the Department of Taxation in order to get a Hawaii tax ID and a General Excise Tax license ($20)
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Hawaii Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Hawaii Articles of Incorporation

To form a Hawaii corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 Decide what address you’d like to list publicly
Step 3 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 4 Decide how many shares of stock to authorize
Step 5 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 6 File online and pay $51 with a credit card (plus a processing fee) or mail to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Business Registration Division at PO Box 40, Honolulu HI 96810 with a check or money order for $51

How Long Does it Take to Start a Hawaii Corporation?


Fastest and Simplest 3 days

Pay the $25 expediting fee and file your Articles online yourself. Receive your approval in about 3 days.


Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 3 days

Save yourself some headache and hire Northwest to file your Articles for you. Just choose “3-day filing” and answer a few brief questions about your business. Sit back and let our Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.


Not Too Shabby 10 days

Have some time to kill? Forgo expediting and file your Articles yourself (or hire Northwest to file for you).

What is the Cost of a Hawaii Corporation?

$51. This includes the state filing fee ($50), and a mandatory State Archive fee ($1). File online, and there’s an additional online processing fee of $2.50. For 3-day expediting, add on another $25.

Hire Northwest and your total, out-the-door cost is $278.50 ($303.50 expedited). This includes state fees, a full year of registered agent service, useful corporate forms, and a hassle-free experience.

How Much Does a Corporation in Hawaii Cost Each Year?

$16. The filing fee for the mandatory Hawaii Annual Report is $15, and there’s a $1 State Archive fee for every Hawaii filing.

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What is a Hawaii Annual Report?

Your Hawaii Annual Report is a form you must submit to BREG each year in order to confirm or update your contact and ownership information. The form and $16 in fees are due at the end of your “anniversary quarter” (for example, if you registered your business in the first three months of the year, your report is due March 31st).

Forget to file? You’ll lose your good standing and have to pay a $10 fee. If you neglect your reports for more than two years, your business can be dissolved by the state. Northwest can help you avoid all these unpleasantries—we’ll send you reminder notifications for your reports. Better yet, leave all the annoying paperwork to us and hire Northwest to file your Annual Reports for you each year.

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What are the taxes for a Hawaii corporation?

The Hawaii corporate net income tax rates are:

4.4%: $0 to $24,999
5.4%: $25,000 to $99,999
6.4%: $100,000 +

There’s no state sales tax in Hawaii—instead, Hawaii has a gross receipts tax called the General Excise Tax (GET). Essentially, instead of taxing customers (buyers), the state taxes businesses (sellers or providers). The rate is 4% for most products and services (4.5% in Oahu). Most businesses pass on the GET to customers, so the GET can appear much like a sales tax.

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Is a Registered Agent Required for a Hawaii Corporation?

Absolutely. You must list your Hawaii registered agent and their office in your Articles of Incorporation. Your agent can be a business (but not your own) or an individual Hawaii resident. You can even be your own registered agent—although that’s not always the wisest decision. You’ll have to be available at the office listed in your Articles during regular business hours—and there’s nothing worse than staring out the window at the surf, knowing you’re stuck inside. This address also becomes part of the public record, meaning it’s accessible to everyone—including data-sellers and busybodies.

A better option? Leave the worry and hurry to us. Our address will go in your Articles, and we’ll be ready and waiting to scan and send you any legal notifications the same day—so you’re free to run your business from the beach (or wherever you want to be).

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Hawaii Corporation Versus Hawaii LLC:

When it comes to costs, Hawaii corporations and LLCs are on pretty equal footing. State filing and archive fees are the same for both entities: a total of $51 for Articles and $16 for Annual Reports. Tax obligations can be similar as well—it really depends more on your tax election than your entity choice. For example, both LLCs and corporations can be taxed as S corporations, which would make their tax obligations the same.

While costs are similar, operations are a bit different. Corporations often appeal to large businesses. Their formal structure can make it easier to manage lots of people and parts. Their long legal history means there’s plenty of court precedents, which can help corporations navigate complex legal waters and make the best decisions for their businesses. Stocks also open up more possibilities for corporations, such as offering preferred stock to more cautious investors (or going big and joining the ranks of Wall Street). LLCs, on the other hand, are popular for small businesses. Without all the corporate formalities, LLCs can be simpler to operate (and easier to understand). Curious if a Hawaii LLC might be a better fit for you? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Hawaii.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a Hawaii Corporation?

Yes, your Hawaii corporation is required to get an EIN for federal tax filings. Your EIN will also come in handy for plenty of other forms and filings. You’ll typically need your EIN to open a corporate bank account and register for licenses and permits (like your GET license). In some cases, you can use your personal SS# instead, but there’s no reason to put your personal info at risk when you’re already required to have an EIN. You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Prefer to leave the paperwork to us? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you—just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our services.

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Does a Hawaii Corporation Need a Business License?

While not a business license per se, if you engage in any business in Hawaii, you’ll need a GET license along with a Hawaii tax ID. To get these, you’ll need to file a Basic Business Application (Form BB-1) and pay the $20 fee.

Cities and counties in Hawaii may require licenses for specific business activities. For example, pawnbrokers in Hawaii County shell out $100 a year for a business license.

Does a Hawaii Corporation Need Bylaws?

Your bylaws define how your Hawaii corporation works internally. As an internal document, bylaws aren’t anything you have to submit to a state agency—but that doesn’t mean they’re not absolutely essential. Your bylaws put into writing who’s on the board of directors, what the scope of their powers are, how long they’ll stay, how they’ll be replaced, and how many members it’ll take to vote on a resolution. In your bylaws, you’ll explain the details of your corporation’s stock, such as classes, series and voting shares. You’ll also list the officers and their responsibilities. Essentially, your bylaws spell out exactly how your company will run and how much authority each person will have—critical information.

Bylaws are important for people outside of your corporation as well. Want to open a corporate bank account in Hawaii? You’ll almost certainly need to provide your bylaws. Want to take on investors or partners? They’ll be very interested in the details of your bylaws. Hope to get approval from a lender? They’ll probably need to see your bylaws too.

We know how crucial bylaws are to your corporation. That’s why we give you free corporate bylaws when you hire Northwest to form your Hawaii corporation. We give you other free corporate forms as well, from resolutions to meeting minute templates. We want to work with your business for years to come, so it’s important for us that you start off on the right foot. We’ve spent years refining and improving our docs. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.

Hawaii Corporation Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”

Principal Office

This address is where you’ll receive state mail (besides legal notifications—those go to your registered agent). Tip: Keep things simple with one address for all your mail. When you hire Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Hawaii address as your principal office address too.

Registered Agent

Your Hawaii registered agent can either be an individual Hawaii resident (like yourself) or an authorized business (like Northwest). Tip: Wouldn’t it be wild if we didn’t recommend Northwest at this point?

Registered Office

This is the Hawaii street address where your registered agent will be available to accept legal notifications. Like all the information in your Articles, this address becomes part of the permanent public record of your Hawaii corporation. Tip: When you hire Northwest, our address will go here.

Authorized Shares

List the number of shares you want to create. You must list at least one. You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting. Tip: Want more than one class or series of shares? You won’t be able to use the state form; you’ll have to prepare your own Articles of Incorporation to submit.

Hawaii Incorporator

“Incorporator” is just a fancy title for the person who does a pretty straightforward job—signing and submitting your Articles of Incorporation. Your incorporator must include their name and address, but it doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone in your corporation. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Hawaii corporation.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®