Step 1) Verify & Secure Your Brand Name

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your new brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can have it reserved by filing an Application for Reservation of Name.

Filing Fee: $10

Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered Agent

When starting a corporation, Hawaii Registered Agent is your intermediary or a representative of your brand who accepts and helps handle all official documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth.

So basically you can either hire a 3rd-party professional and pay up to $160/yr, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com. They take care of handling the paperwork in a timely manner for you along with a lot more depending on your specific startup package.

Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation

Register an LLCTo make your Hawaii Corporation officially, now that you have a registered agent, you’re need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Business Registration Division of DCCA either through Online Application or through mail. Information that will be disclosed for the public record includes:

  • Corporate name, address, and purpose,
  • Full name and complete address of Registered Agent,
  • Full name and complete address of the incorporators,
  • Number of shares Corporation is authorized to issue, and so on.

Filing fee: $50

Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

Step 5) Select Initial Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the Hawaii corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank Account

Ideally, during your first shareholder meeting you spent some serious time going over where to bank and set up your corporation’s financial foundation. With so many different banks and credit unions (local, state, national) with tons of different fee structures, incentives, kickbacks, and other business services this shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The other issue is to make sure corporate accounts aren’t connected or mixed with any accounts of any other kinds. It should be a dedicated and separate account for easy financial tracking and tax purposes synced with your accounting software.

Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesAs a legally operating corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least dedicate time to knocking this out yourself and doing the homework. That said, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number quick, easy and free through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Honolulu Small Business Administration office and DCCA’s Business Registration.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional Business License Research packages that take care of the legwork for you.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

If you’d like help forming a Corporation, here are two great options:

IncFile ($49 + state fees) is ideal if you’re on a budget but refuse to sacrifice quality. However if you’d like access to an attorney past incorporation Rocket Lawyer ($99 + state fees) is the best option.

Visit IncFile Or Visit Rocket Lawyer

Note that this article on how to form an corporation in Hawaii isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an corporation in Hawaii or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.