Simple Guide to Business Registration and Licensing in Hawaii

Learn quickly how to register your Hawaii Business and how to renew your registration. We will also briefly cover Hawaii Business and Occupational Licenses.

Warning: This guide is very general and simple and is only meant as an introduction. It does not replace your need for due diligence and research concerning your business registration and the need for a licence or permit from the state. Please consult with a professional before operating a business in Hawaii.

Understanding Hawaii Business Registration and Licensing

As an analogy, think of your business as if it is a vehicle. Your business must be registered with the state just as does a vehicle. The registration must also be renewed each year. Different types of vehicles might have different requirements, but they all face the same simple registration process. Business registration is pretty much as simple as that.

Click here to register your Hawaii Business (opens in a new tab).

Note that you do not need a driver’s license to “register” your vehicle. They are two different things. The license grants privilege to drive it – but it is not needed to own it.

Some Hawaii Businesses will need licenses or permits (just like you need a license to drive a car) and some will not – it depends on the type of business. A simple example would be a Doctor. You can’t be a doctor without a license, obviously. Certain permits are also required by the state like to operate such as for a tour company, for example.

Find out more about occupational licensing in Hawaii here (opens in a new tab).

How to Register Your Hawaii Business

Hawaii Business Registration Online has a software “wizard” that will ask you a few questions. It will guide you and allow you to register your business and apply for other accounts you might need (such as a Hawaii General Excise Tax License) simultaneously. Your business will almost certainly need to file GE Tax returns, whether exempt or not, and you will need this license to file it.

Note that the word “license” here is confusing. The Hawaii GE Tax license is not an occupational license as discussed above. It’s more like a tax filing and payment account.

To register your Hawaii Business online, click here.

Each Year You Must Renew Your Hawaii Business Registration

Going back to our analogy, renewing your Hawaii Business Registration is as simple as renewing a vehicle. Typically, Hawaii will send you a post card by mail (or provide an email reminder) to let you know that your renewal is due. These notices will have a file number (it’s like a code) that will help the system recognize your registration quickly.

All you have to do is follow the link on the notice and provide the file number and Hawaii’s renewal website will guide you through the rest of the procedure. It’s fast and easy and there is usually a very small fee, which can also be paid online. This must be done once per year. That’s all there is to it.

Tax Services Oahu offers business tax services and consulting. Please feel free to contact us here if you need help with your Hawaii Business.

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