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Hawaii DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Hawaii DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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Hawaii DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Hawaii using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as a Hawaii DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called a Trade Name. 

To see if you need to register for a Hawaii Trade Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Hawaii

Who needs to register for a Hawaii Trade Name?

More information about the laws behind Trade Name registration can be found in Hawaii Statutes § 482-2,1 but it is voluntary to register for a fictitious business name in Hawaii.  There are a few reasons a business may want to register.  

A sole proprietorship and general partnership are the most common type of business structure to register for a Hawaii DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name. But, unlike most states, it is optional for a Hawaii business to register for a Trade Name.

Even though this is an optional registration, there are a few reasons that many sole proprietors or partnerships will want to register for a Trade Name:

  • Proves that small business exists.
  • Banks, merchant processors, and vendors may require one.
  • No other business can register the same name or obtain a trademark for that name in Hawaii.

Related: How to register a sole proprietorship in Hawaii

A corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Limited Liability Partnership won’t typically register for a Hawaii DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of a Hawaii corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

Steps to Register a Hawaii Trade Name?

Step 1: Check Available Names

In Hawaii, Trade Names are registered by the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Business Registration Division. To register a name, it must be unique and not similar to other registered names. To find out if the name you want is available, first do a Hawaii business name search on the DCCA website.

Additionally, applicants need to search the local phone directories of each island, the city directory, and the Hawaii Department of Taxation to verify no other business is using the name they want to register. 

Something to note is that if a business name isn’t used by the applicant for 365 consecutive days, the Trade Name may be revoked and available for anyone to register.

Step 2: Fill out and File the Trade Name Form

After verifying the name you want to use is available, the Application for Registration of Trade Name (Form T-1 ) and either submit online through the Hawaii Business Express website or by mailing the form

Information needed on the form includes:

  • Name and address of the applicant
  • Status of the applicant (type of business entity)
  • Name being requested
  • Nature of the business

Step 3: Submit the Form

You can file online or in person or submit the form along with the filing fee by email, mail, or fax. Email, mail, or fax filings must include the Trade Name form and credit card information.

In-person: Filings can be made at a Hawaii Business Action Center.

By email: breg-doci-filing@dcca.hawaii.gov

By mail:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, Hawaii 96810

By fax: (808) 586-2733

If you have questions about the process, contact the
Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs:
breg@dcca.hawaii.gov
808-586-2727

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Hawaii DBA FAQs

How much does a Hawaii Trade Name cost?

To cost to register for a Trade Name in Hawaii is $50. 

How long is a Hawaii DBA good for?

The Hawaii Trade Name needs to be renewed every five years. The Trade Name can be renewed at any time within six months before the expiration date.

Are there any words you can’t use in a Trade Name?

Trade Names can’t be registered using words that are related to a financial institution (such as financial services, banker, credit union, etc.), insurance, or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

A Trade Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use the words LLC or corporation in its name.

Names also can’t be registered if they are similar to a government agency, such as FBI, Treasury, etc.

Do I need a DBA in Hawaii?

It is not mandatory to register a DBA in Hawaii; however, there are many cases where it is beneficial, such as verifying the business’s existence to open a business bank account or set up a vendor account.

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called a business tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for certain types of business structures, such as partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.

There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Hawaii

What is the difference between a Hawaii Trade Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Hawaii Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Hawaii?

Sources

  1. Hawaii Statutes § 482-2 ↩︎

Hawaii DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

Hawaii DBA / Trade Name Registration In 3 Easy Steps

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