Do you own a business operating in the state of Hawaii? If so, you may need to acquire licenses and permits to ensure that your company operates in a compliant fashion.
But how do you determine which permits and licenses you need (if any), and where do you acquire them? In this guide to Hawaii business licenses and permits, we’ll answer all the tough questions about this process.
Are There Federal Licenses That My Business Needs?
First off, let’s discuss the matter of federal licenses and permits. There are many business activities that are regulated by various federal agencies, from agriculture to transportation and logistics. We recommend taking a look at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guide to federal licenses and permits to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.
In addition, most businesses should acquire a federal tax ID number, also known as an EIN (employer identification number). This is essentially a social security number for your business, and it enables you to hire employees, pay business taxes, open business bank accounts, and more. You can acquire an EIN from the IRS for free.
What State-Level Licenses and Permits Apply in Hawaii?
Though you will need to register your business in the state of Hawaii, there are no statewide licenses required to transact business. However, there are a variety of licenses and permits that you may be required to obtain, depending on the nature of your business.
The Hawaii Business Action Center is a great resource for determining your business’ licensing needs, as well as finding the right department to apply for permits.
Occupational Licenses and Permits
The Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs manages all occupational licenses in the state, from acupuncture to social work. Your business may need to obtain one or more of these permits based on your industry and the nature of your business activities.
Environmental Licenses and Permits
Finally, the Environmental Management Division of the Hawaii Department of Health provides information regarding permits to help maintain clean air and water, as well as those related to hazardous waste. You can learn more at this link.
Which Tax Registrations are Required for Hawaii Businesses?
In addition to occupational licenses and permits, there are a number of state-level tax registrations, which are based on the industry you operate in and which business structure your company uses.
LLCs are not required to pay state income tax in Hawaii, while corporations are subject to a state income tax rate between 4.4% and 6.4%. Additionally, most Hawaii businesses will need to register for sales tax.
Some industries also require more specific tax registrations. You can learn more about these requirements right here.
Are There Local Licenses, Permits, or Registrations in Hawaii?
The answer to this question obviously depends on where in Hawaii you’re operating your business, but there are indeed quite a few licenses, permits, and tax registrations required by Hawaii localities.
Depending on your location, you may need to obtain one or more permits from your local county clerk’s office. Local licenses are all managed at the county level, including those in Honolulu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, and Kalawao counties. Contact your local county clerk for more information.
There are also some requirements on the city/municipality level. For example, Honolulu provides a business resource website to explain the applicable business licenses and permits.
If we were to break down the exact rules and regulations regarding permitting in every locality in the state of Hawaii, this article would become excessively lengthy. With that in mind, we’ll simply say that every business owner should check with their local government to determine whether there are licenses, permits, or tax registrations required to operate in compliant fashion.
Can I Hire Someone to Research Licenses and Permits for My Business?
If this process sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it certainly can be. If you would rather hire a reputable business services provider to handle this for you, that is always an option.
Companies like Incfile can research the necessary licenses and permits for your company on the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. They will then send you the applications you need to acquire these permits and licenses, meaning all you need to do is fill them out and mail them in.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for the question of which licenses and permits your business might require to operate in the state of Hawaii. Instead, it’s important that you know how to access the resources to determine which permits your company needs to operate in a compliant fashion.
We hope this article helped you to do just that, and we wish you good fortune in your business future!