Step 1) Pick a Name for Your Hawaii Corporation

Choose a Business NamePicking a name for your Corporation is the first step to starting a business in Hawaii. The business name you choose should not resemble or be closely similar to any business entity registered with the Department of Commerce and Consume Affairs of Hawaii.

As well, the state stipulates that any of these words or its abbreviation should be included in the actual name of your Corporation: ‘Corporation’, ‘Limited’, or ‘Incorporated’; or ‘Corp.’, ‘Ltd.’ or ‘Inc.’

Check if the name you have selected is still available using the Hawaii business name search tool of the Business Registration Division. A name reservation can be filed if the name is still available using the Application for Reservation of Name form. Reservation filing fee costs $10.


Step 2) Process Your Hawaii Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCTo legally register your Hawaii Corporation, filing a Corporation in Hawaii should be done. The form for the Articles of Incorporation should be used when incorporating in Hawaii.

You are to file this to the Business Registration Division of DCCA. Information about your Corporation is required when filling out the form, so make sure to ready these. When done, you can do an online application or through mail.

Filing fee: $50


Step 3) Find a Hawaii Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Hawaii Registered Agent should be hired to incorporate your business in the state. A qualified individual or Registered Agent service can be a Registered Agent in Hawaii provided that the individual is a resident of the state, or the business entity is lawfully registered to operate within the state.

A physical address should be provided as well where the legal notices from the state will be sent.

You can hire a Registered Agent service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Hawaii Registered Agent free of charge when you form your Corporation with IncFile – which is $100 less than other online incorporation services.


Step 4) Establish a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA corporate records book is simply a record book where all paperwork like your Hawaii Corporation registration documents should be kept.

This is to ensure that all important documentations connected to your Corporation is kept in a safe place that is easily accessible if needed. A corporate records book can be bought at the local office supply chain or you can order directly in Amazon.


Step 5) Select An Initial Number of Directors for Your Hawaii Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsWhen forming a Corporation in Hawaii, you need to elect the initial directors to help you decide on crucial corporate matters.

As soon as you have your initial directors, draft an ‘Incorporator’s Statement’ with the names and addresses of the directors. This Hawaii Corporation document should then be stored in the corporate records binder.


Step 6) Conduct the Initial Assembly with Your Initial Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsWhen you have elected your initial set of directors, the next thing to do is schedule an initial meeting. This initial meeting is crucial when starting a Hawaii Corporation as the following agenda will be decided upon:

Note: When choosing to have an S Corp status, this should also be approved during this meeting. The minutes of the meeting should be prepared, signed by all the attendees, and be filed in the Corporate Records book.


Step 7) Complete your Hawaii Business Tax and Corporation Licensing Requirements

Business LicensesThere are many requirements for completion when it comes to taking care of your Hawaii business taxes and licenses. Make sure to keep track of what you must do to ensure that you fully meet the obligations for Hawaii Corporation maintenance.

First off, follow these three steps for business tax requirements:

  1. Process an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for free at the IRS website.
  2. Complete each business tax requirement with the help of our Hawaii Tax Guide.
  3. For election of S Corp status, file Form 2553 with the shareholders’ signature affixed on the form. (optional).

Completing the requirements for Hawaii business licenses should also be done carefully. This is to guarantee that you meet all regulations to legally operate. Use our Hawaii Business Licenses and Regulations guide to be compliant.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountBy opening a business bank account you will be able to keep all financial assets separate. Not only does it protect your personal assets, but it makes paying taxes a lot more simple.

This will keep all of your business and personal finances separate, which makes tax time much less stressful. You can open an account through your current bank or through one of these.


To-Do After Starting a Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Hawaii Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Make a Funding-Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanEvery Corporation needs a solid business plan, so it’s imperative that you write one.

A business plan helps direct your business towards success, sets a precedence of goals to be achieved, and puts a clear action plan into motion. To get started with your business plan, use the resources below.

Quick Links on How to Make a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your business to be taken seriously, build a professional website. Thankfully, there are free tools like WordPress for the non-tech savvy entrepreneurs like myself.

Learn how to build your website with this simple step-by-step guide. It covers the basics and walks you through the entire process.


3) Make Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsAs a Corporation, even though it is not a requirement, you are still highly advised to create Corporation bylaws. Your Hawaii Corporation bylaws fosters better organization within your Corporation’s operations.

This is because Corporate bylaws are rules to govern the internal operations of a company.

Note that this guide is an informational tool and should not be used for any legal purposes. For the specifics on how to form a Corporation in Hawaii or starting a business, refer to the expertise of your lawyer.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom