You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, dreams of a thriving Hawaii LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen. But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Hawaii. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Hawaii LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
Quick Note: If you’d like to have an online service file the Articles of Organization for you or simply need to save time, hire an LLC formation service. Two popular options are LegalZoom and ZenBusiness.
Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
When you’ve finally decided on a name, make sure it complies with the state’s requirements, meaning it must:
- Use a term that indicates its business type, like “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC”
- Not use the terms “financial institution”, “bank”, “banker”, “banking”, “banc”, “savings bank”, “savings and loan”, “savings association”, “financial services loan company”, “credit union”, “trust company”, “intrapacific bank”, “international banking corporation”, or “trust” unless authorized by the state.
- Not imply affiliation with a governmental agency (unless specifically permitted by that governmental agency)
- Not be misleading as to the company’s business purpose.
On top of all that, it must be distinguishable from all other business names on the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ records. Unsure if your name is available? Perform a name search to find out.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing a Hawaii Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Your Articles of Organization won’t be complete unless you’ve included your registered agent’s name and address, so reach out and confirm the appointment before you sit down to complete the form.
Your registered agent can be either an individual Hawaii resident (with a physical address in the state) or a business entity, like a registered agent service, that’s authorized to do business in the state.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Hawaii Articles of Organization
Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Hawaii.
Considering how important the Articles of Organization is to the LLC formation process, the document itself is surprisingly quick and easy. Collect all the necessary information beforehand and you should be able to cruise through it in one sitting. Here’s what you’ll need:
- LLC name
- Principal office address
- Registered agent name and address
- Names and addresses for each organizer
- Business duration (optional)
- Whether the LLC is managed by members or managers
- Names and addresses for each member or manager
- Liability of members for debts, obligations, etc.
Given the essential service the Articles of Organization provides, it’s only natural that it would come with a fee. Fortunately, at $51, it’s not overly expensive. When you file, have a check or credit card payment ready.
Standard processing takes 3-5 business days. Expedited processing (2-3 business days) is available for an additional $25.
The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs offers a variety of filing options, so you can choose the one most congruent with your circumstances, timelines, and preferences.
If you want to keep your filing process digital, complete the process on the Hawaii Business Express portal. Simply click “Get Started” in the box labeled “Start.” You will need to set up an eHawaii.gov account if you don’t already have one.
Download the paper application here. Then fill it out, include a check (payable to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs), and mail it to:
State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, Hawaii 96810
Or, if you live in Honolulu, you can hand-deliver your finished form and payment to 335 Merchant St.
Faxing your form is also an option. You can send it to (808) 586-2733. Similar to the email option, you must include credit card information with any faxed forms.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Hawaii), but what if your business is expanding to Hawaii from another state? In this case, don’t worry about the Articles of Organization. Your LLC will follow a different route.
Any LLC that started in another state and is coming to Hawaii must instead foreign qualify by filing a Certificate of Authority for Foreign LLC online or using a paper form. Refrain from conducting any business activities until after you’ve successfully foreign qualified. Otherwise, you might face some serious fines and penalties.
But after you’ve received authority from the state, you’re free to start doing business in Hawaii!
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and perks packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization has been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Annual Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Which is the Best LLC Service?
All you need to do now is research every service extensively and make side-by-side comparisons for each option. Easy, right? Just kidding – we did all of that for you.
And from our meticulous research of reviewing and ranking the top LLC services, we’ve drawn the conclusion that IncFile and Northwest are your best overall options.
They might not have the brand recognition of LegalZoom, the industry giant, but both have amazing customer support, affordable prices, and include a year of registered agent service.