Hawaii LLC Formation Options
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Hawaii LLC today. Includes Hawaii LLC formation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free—just pay state fees.
Skip the state fees! Get a Hawaii LLC and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Pay in Full
Includes Hawaii LLC, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
How to Start an LLC in Hawaii
To start an LLC in Hawaii, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Organization with the Business Registration Division (BREG). You can file the document online, by mail, via email, or fax. The articles cost $51 to file, including the $1 state archive fee. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Hawaii LLC.
According to HI Rev Stat § 428-107, every Hawaii LLC must appoint a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your LLC. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit https://hbe.ehawaii.gov/documents/search.html;jsessionid=379E11C690FD4D4F249376ADC5C4F9EA.prodapp1 and search until you find the perfect name for your LLC.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your LLC name is, you’re ready to file your Hawaii Articles of Organization. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization
Learn more about each Articles of Organization requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Or skip the form entirely and hire us to form your Hawaii LLC. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
1. Company Name
You have to include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “LLC.” You can’t pick a name already in use in Hawaii.
2. Principal Office
This must be a street address, though it doesn’t need to be a Hawaii address. When you hire Northwest, you can keep your personal address private and use our address as your principal address.
3. Registered Agent and Address
Your Hawaii registered agent must be available during business hours to accept service of process (legal notices) for your LLC. You can list a Hawaii resident such as yourself or another member of your LLC, or you can list a business like Northwest. A Hawaii street address is required here, as well. Our address will go here when you hire us.
4. Hawaii LLC Organizer
You’ll need to include the name and address of your organizer, aka the person or entity who files your Articles of Organization (this doesn’t have to be anyone in your LLC). Hire Northwest, and we’ll be your organizer.
Most LLCs are “at-will,” which means they continue to exist unless they are dissolved. If you’d like your LLC to end on a certain date, you can put that date in your articles.
Is your company member-managed or manager-managed? Who calls the shots? Most LLCs are member-managed, meaning members (owners) share decision-making power. But, if you don’t want to run the day-to-day operations of your business, that power can be handed over to managers. Either way, you’ll check the corresponding box in the articles. You’ll also need to list the names and addresses of the initial managers (if manager-managed) or initial members (if member-managed). When you hire us, we can list our address for the addresses here.
This section asks whether or not the LLC will be liable for company debts and obligations. Since a limited liability company is usually formed to limit liability (it’s in the name!), most people tick the first box in this section, choosing not to be liable.
The organizer needs to sign and print their name here. The signature certifies that the organizer is authorized to submit the articles, and that the statements within are true.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Hawaii LLC?
Professionals in Hawaii hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent to start an LLC—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. We have an office in Honolulu, HI. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Business Registration Division. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Honolulu registered office address on your LLC’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Hilo, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding and Business Address
We already accept your legal mail—so why not take it a step further? In every state, we include limited digital mail forwarding for your regular mail too (5 pieces of regular mail a year; $15 a doc after that). Plus, you can list our address as your business address. That means you can have all business mail routed through our office. With both mail forwarding and a business address included, you get a level of security unmatched in the formation industry.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your LLC in Hawaii. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Hawaii LLC Is Formed?
After your Hawaii Articles of Organization are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting an operating agreement, opening a bank account, funding the LLC and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
An EIN (“Employer Identification Number”) is a federal tax ID assigned to your business by the IRS. The IRS uses your EIN to easily identify your business on tax filings.
Does a Hawaii LLC need an EIN?
Yes. You’ll need an EIN when you register your business with the Hawaii Department of Taxation. You’ll also need an EIN if you have employees, and you’ll likely use your EIN when you open a business bank account.
How do I get an EIN for my LLC?
You can apply for an EIN directly from the IRS at no cost. Most businesses are able to apply online, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to apply with a paper form. Want one less thing to do? Add on EIN service when you hire us, and we’ll get your EIN for you. Or choose our VIP service—an EIN is included.
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Operating agreements put into writing how your business actually operates—how much each member invested, how profits and losses will be allocated, how voting works, and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the whole business (knock on wood) falls apart.
Do I need an operating agreement for a Hawaii LLC?
Hawaii doesn’t legally require an operating agreement. According to HI Rev Stat § 428-103, members MAY enter into an operating agreement—but the law doesn’t declare that they must.
However, even though an operating agreement isn’t required by law, it’s actually one of your company’s most important internal documents. Creating one can help your LLC with everything from opening a bank account to handling major events like mergers and dissolution.
What should be in an operating agreement?
An operating agreement should explain how the business will handle “big picture” situations—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolving the business. Below is a list of common topics that operating agreements should cover.
Profits, losses, and distributions
Voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
Transfer of membership interest
Dissolving the business
Your operating agreement can cover pretty much anything as long as it isn’t contrary to Hawaii law. Topics not allowed to be changed in the operating agreement are listed in HI Rev Stat § 428-103, which forbids actions such as unreasonably restricting information access and eliminating a member’s duty of loyalty.
How do I write an operating agreement?
To write an operating agreement, you need to address how your business will handle money, members, votes, management, and more. Not sure how to get started? At Northwest, we’re here to help your LLC get off on the right foot. When you hire us, we provide your business with a free LLC operating agreement, specific to your management style. We’ve spent years developing these agreements and other free LLC forms—which have been used by over a million LLCs.
Open an LLC Bank Account
Your LLC needs its own bank account. Why? An LLC gets its limited liability from being a distinct entity, separate from its members. If you mix personal and business finances, you could lose your liability protections.
How do I open a bank account for my Hawaii LLC?
To open a bank account for your Hawaii LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization
The LLC operating agreement
The LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
Fund the LLC
Time to put some money in that new LLC bank account. What money? For starters, your initial contributions to your LLC’s capital. LLC members are owners, and each owner needs to pay for their membership interest to fund the LLC.
What is membership interest?
Membership interest is your percentage of ownership of the LLC. Membership interest is normally proportionate to your investment. So how does this work?
Imagine your LLC has 5 members. 4 members each invest $1,000 in the business. One member invests $6,000. The total contribution of all members is $10,000. The 4 members each own 10% of the business. The moneybags member who shelled out $6,000 owns 60% of the business.
Typically, this also means that the 4 members would each get 10% of any profits, and moneybags would get 60%. Exactly how profits and losses are allocated, however, can be adjusted in the operating agreement as long as changes are in line with IRS requirements and Hawaii laws.
File Hawaii Reports & Taxes
Hawaii LLCs are required to file a state report each year. This report is basically an information update you file so the state knows who currently runs things and how to contact your business. Hawaii LLCs are also subject to state tax filing requirements.
How much is the Hawaii Annual Report fee?
The fee for the Hawaii Annual Report is $12.50 online and $15 to file a physical copy. There’s a late fee of $10, which escalates to your business being administratively dissolved if you neglect to file for two years.
When is the Hawaii Annual Report due?
Your Hawaii Annual Report is due at the end of your anniversary quarter. So, if you form your LLC between January 1 and March 31, your annual report will always be due by March 31.
When you sign up for Northwest, we send you reminders for your annual report due dates. Want one less thing to worry about? With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Hawaii LLC taxes?
Hawaii has a marginal personal income tax rate with 12 different brackets. The lowest tax rate is 1.4% for income up to $2,400. Income between $36,000 and $47,999 is taxed at 7.9%. The highest rate is 11% for income $200,000 and up.
Technically, Hawaii doesn’t have a sales tax—but don’t jump for joy yet. Hawaii instead has a General Excise Tax, which is a tax on “business activities.” Basically, a portion of every business transaction that’s made goes to the state. Although it’s not a sales tax, most businesses pass the tax on to the consumer, so it ends up appearing similar to a sales tax. Most business activities are taxed at 4%. Local governments can tack on up to 0.5% to the GET, bringing the maximum total up to 4.5%.
Property tax in Hawaii is also worth mentioning, as the state has the lowest property tax rate in the country. Hawaii properties have an average effective tax rate of just .27%. So, let us handle your LLC’s formation while you look for the perfect beachside property. At Northwest, we can form your Hawaii LLC for as low as $278.50. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
Do LLCs have to register with the Hawaii Department Of Taxation?
Yes. Hawaii LLCs are required to register with the Department of Taxation. You can register at Hawaii Tax Online or by filling out the State of Hawaii Basic Business Application. You’ll also need to pay a $20 registration fee.
Hawaii LLC FAQs
How can I submit the Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization?
You can file Hawaii articles online, by mail, via email, or fax. Mailed filings must be submitted to the following address:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
PO Box 40
Honolulu, HI 96810
Physical filings can be delivered to 335 Merchant Street, Room 201, Honolulu, HI 96813. (Note that in-person services are suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Emailed filings can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Faxed filings can be sent to (808) 586-2733.
How much does it cost to start a Hawaii LLC?
The filing fee for your Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization is minimum $51 ($50 to file plus a $1 State Archives fee). Add $25 if you want expediting. There’s also a $2.50 credit card fee.
Hire Northwest for a one-time fee of $278.50 ($301 for 3-day expediting), including state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, limited mail forwarding and loads of useful forms and tools to help get your Hawaii LLC up and running. Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start a Hawaii LLC?
Articles of Organization typically take 6-10 business days to process, no matter how they’re filed. If you pay the extra $25 to expedite, the process speeds up to 2-3 business days.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your Hawaii LLC formed within 10 days total. Or, choose the expedite option and your LLC will be formed within 3 days.
What is the Hawaii Basic Business Application?
Hawaii’s Basic Business Application is the form used to apply for a General Excise Tax License, and how you register with the Department of Taxation. (You can also register at Hawaii Tax Online.) All LLCs are required to submit this application either online or via a physical copy, and pay the one-time $20 fee.
Does a Hawaii LLC need a business license?
All Hawaii businesses are required to obtain a General Excise Tax License. However, there is no statewide general business license requirement.
Some counties and cities have their own business licensing requirements. For example, Maui County doesn’t have a general business license, but it does require licensing for certain business endeavors—bicycle tour businesses must get licensed for $500 a year.
Need an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs for your license applications? Northwest can help. You can easily add on these items to your LLC formation order.
Can a Hawaii LLC help me live more privately?
While you can’t remove all ownership information from Hawaii public filings (like you can in states like New Mexico, Delaware, and Wyoming), a Hawaii LLC can still help you reduce your public footprint. For example, you can maintain some address privacy by listing our address on public docs instead of your own where applicable. Check out our page on living privately with an LLC to learn more.
What is a foreign Hawaii LLC?
A foreign Hawaii LLC is any LLC formed outside of Hawaii but registered to do business in the state. For example, if you formed an LLC in California but wanted to conduct business in Hawaii as well, you would register as a foreign LLC in Hawaii by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority with the Hawaii Business Registration Division. Like domestic LLCs, foreign LLCs in the state have to file annual Hawaii annual reports. Northwest can register your foreign Hawaii LLC for you today!
How to Order LLC Formation Service
Our Hawaii LLC formation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
With Northwest, we give you flexibility on how to pay. You can pay all the fees up front (this includes one full year of registered agent service). Or, pay just $30 out the door with our VIP monthly payment option. With our VIP option, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
We’ll prepare your Hawaii Articles of Organization and send them to the Business Registration Division for approval. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Hawaii Business Registration Division has approved your filing, we notify you that your Hawaii LLC has been legally formed. You can now take any necessary next steps, like getting an EIN and opening a bank account.