How to File the Articles of Incorporation for a Hawaii Nonprofit

Filing the Articles of Incorporation is a critical step in starting a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit in Hawaii. Whether you have been running a charity for a while or are just starting out, your nonprofit organization will need to fill out the Articles of Incorporation and file them with the State of Hawaii. This will allow you to file for 501(c)(3) status and reap the benefits of having an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Want to form a nonprofit elsewhere? Check out our other How to Start a Nonprofit guides.

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Starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Hawaii is easy, just follow these easy steps to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation:

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Hawaii, you have come to the right place. After reading the comprehensive guide for Hawaii nonprofit formation, follow this guide to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation with the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. Information you will need to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation
  2. How to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation
  3. Hawaii Nonprofit Formation FAQ

Information you will need to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation

To become a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii you must file DNP-1, the Articles of Incorporation.

Here are the sections that you will need to complete.

Article 1: Entity Name & Type

Enter the name you selected.

For help with selecting a name for your nonprofit read our comprehensive guide on how to name a Hawaii nonprofit.

Article 2: Mailing Address

Enter the mailing address of the organization’s principal office.

Article 3: Registered Agent & Registered Office

The registered agent can be any entity registered to do business in Hawaii or any person who is a resident of the state. Your organization cannot act as its own registered agent.

Enter the information of the registered agent you selected.

For more information read our guide: What is a registered agent? and The Hawaii Registered Agent Guide.

Article 4: Incorporator

The incorporator is the person who completes, signs, and submits the certification of formation. This person does not need to be a part of your organization. This can be you or a lawyer helping you with the process of formation.

Enter the name and address of each incorporator of the corporations.

Article 5: Membership

Indicate whether the corporation has members.


Describe the purpose of your nonprofit organization and additional provisions.

In order to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, the organization’s purpose must explicitly be limited to one or more of the following:

  • Charitable
  • Religious
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for public safety
  • Fostering national/international amateur sports competition
  • Preventing cruelty to animals/children

NOTE: You can read the IRS guidelines on their website.


Use this section of the articles of formation to formally state what the assets of the organization will be used for, and what will happen to the assets if the organization is dissolved.

To be eligible for 501(c)(3) status, you must convince the IRS that the organization’s assets will always only be used for the purposes approved under 501(c)(3) rules. To this end, you must include provisions ensuring that in the event your organization is dissolved, the assets of the organization will be used towards tax-exempt purposes.

Section 5 of this sample document provides an example of these provisions required for 501(c)(3) eligibility.

How to file the Hawaii Articles of Incorporation

There are two ways to submit your Articles of Incorporation:


File the Articles of Incorporation through Hawaii Business Express.

By Mail:

Submit the Articles of Incorporation to the mailing address below:

State of Hawaii
Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, HI 96810

The filing fee is $25 with an additional $1.00 State Archives fee.

  • Checks and money orders for mailed forms must be made payable to the "Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs"
  • Accepted credit cards for online, fax, and email filing include Visa and MasterCard

Hawaii Nonprofit Formation FAQ

How do I contact the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs for more information?

You can call for information at (808) 586-2727, email them at, or visit them at their website.