How to Register Your Business in Hawaii

Is your business hiring an employee in Hawaii, but based in another state? Learn how to register your business in just a few simple steps.

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From Maui to Oahu, Molokai to Lanai, the beauty of the Hawaiian islands are unsurpassed. The most recently admitted of the U.S. states, and the only state not in North America, Hawaii is a beloved vacation destination, and a stunning place to call home. The lucky residents of The Aloha State enjoy world-class surfing, incredible food, and nearly year-round gorgeous weather. They've even got an advantage when it comes to taxes: with a base sales tax rate of 4%, Hawaii also has one of the lower sales tax rates among US states. If your business is planning to hire a Hawaiian, chances are, they’re going to want to stay there. Fortunately, though, in this era of remote work, collaborating across state lines, or in this case, the Pacific Ocean, is easy.

Bringing on a new employee to your business can be exciting, but there’s a lot to do as well. You want to onboard your new hire as quickly and smoothly as possible to ensure their success at your organization. But before you get started with onboarding, you’ll need to register your business with the state of Hawaii.

Decorative surfboards at a shop for tourists near Hana

1. Register your business with the Hawaii Department of Taxation

a) First, you’ll need to register your business with the Hawaii Department of Taxation. You can submit and manage your registration on the Hawaii Business Express website. Once you’ve created an account, the registration wizard on Hawaii Business Express can walk you through the process. In the initial screen for starting a new business, the wizard will ask you what best applies to you, including whether you would like to register a business as a sole proprietor or obtain a Hawaii GE Tax (General Excise Tax) License from the Department of Taxation. In general, the option that will apply to you will likely be, "I would like to register a new business in Hawaii with the Business Registration Division, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs."

b) As you answer the questions, you'll need to know your business entity type, such as whether your business is a Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Or Limited Partnership. Forms and your filing fee will vary. As you continue in the process, depending on your business entity type, you'll need to enter more information such as your business name, information about your registered agent, and more, so we advise keeping legal documents handy for easy access to these details.

c) It can take 2-3 days for the registration process to complete. Keep the Hawaii Business Express web address on hand, so you can manage your registration in the future as needed. If you need more help registering with Hawaii Business Express, here is an explanatory video that walks you through the process.

Photo of Hanalei Pier

2. Register your business with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

a) Next, you’ll need to register your business with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, so that you can pay unemployment taxes on your employees' wages in Hawaii. You can create an account and complete the registration process online. You’ll receive your account number by email, immediately after registering. To create an online employer profile for an active unemployment insurance account, you'll need to have the registered name and address of your business, your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Department of Labor Number, gross quarterly wages as stated on Form UC-B6, and your preferred email address. A guide to creating  an online profile is available here.

Photo of mountains in Maui

Once you’ve registered with the Department of Taxation and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, you’ll be able to register new employees, file wage reports, and submit unemployment taxes. Unemployment taxes are due quarterly, and if you are a liable employer, you must submit a tax report every quarter, even if you had no paid employees for that quarter or are unable to pay your unemployment taxes.

For more details about tax requirements and federal law around registering in Hawaii, refer to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS website has a page with helpful links for small businesses and other employers doing business in Hawaii.


Interested in expanding your team outside of the US as well? Pilot specializes in managing international payroll, benefits, and compliance for US-based companies, in one secure platform. Our team of HR and payroll experts is happy to guide you through any questions, whether about workers compensation insurance in different countries, or how Pilot can send payments from your business bank account to your international contractor's local bank account. The Pilot platform is user-friendly for whatever size your business--from small businesses to large, and our team is experienced at working with different team members throughout a company, from the business owner to HR manager to Finance team member ✨

To learn more about Pilot, request a demo with one of our experts.


⚖️ Legal Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


Cover photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash

Photo of surfboards near Hana by Don Stouder on Unsplash

Photo of Hanalei Pier by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

Photo of mountains in Maui by Katie Musial on Unsplash

Pilot Team
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