How Much Is A Business License In Hawaii?

The state of Hawaii requires all corporations, companies and businesses who want to do business to apply for a specific type of basic business license. A General Excise Tax (GET) license is available to businesses who want to operate within Hawaii as a branch or main office.

How much is a business license in Hawaii? An application for a Hawaii business license costs $20, and the license will remain valid for one year from its validation date. Hawaii does not have a general business license like other states, but instead calls their equivalent permit the General Excise Tax (GET) license.

Hawaii relies on the General Excise Tax (GET) license for any companies who want to trade or do business in the state.

This is a special type of business license for Hawaii that will allow a business to buy, sell, trade and pay legal tax to the state. All businesses require one, and might need additional licenses to trade legally.

Business Licenses in Hawaii

All businesses who want to do business from or within the state of Hawaii require a basic business license to do it. A General Excise Tax License is the Hawaii state’s equivalent of what other states would call a sales tax license – and this is the base requirement for a business.

An application for a General Excise Tax License (GET) costs $20, with minor administration fees of up to $25 that could apply. Renewal applications cost $15, and must be done before or on the date of license expiry – or a business could be charged late fees, or fined.

Hawaii business license applications can be done online, or at your local city or town office. Online applicaitons are faster, and can take between 3 to 5 days from application to approval. Applications done in person might take between 10 to 15 days to process and approve.

Application fees are non-refundable, even in the case of an unsuccessful application. If the application was successful, a printable application should be issued and the applicant should be able to print a temporary digital copy.

The GET License is required for all companies who intend to trade in Hawaii, including goods, services and those who sell online. Specific businesses (like bike tours, liquor sellers and entertainment venues) might have to register for other licenses too, but always the GET license first.

A business can’t legally trade without a GET license within Hawaii. Failing to apply for a license could mean a fine, or closure until the right licenses for the business have been obtained first.

How long does a business license in Hawaii take?

Applications for a Hawaii GET are instant, but might take time to process before they are approved. Online applications are estimated to take 3 to 5 days to compete, but applications that are made in person can take between 10 to 15 days.

When does a business license in Hawaii expire?

A Hawaii sales tax license is valid for 1 year after its application date. Renwal applications can be filed either before or after its expiration, but before is always advised to avoid penalty or late fees.

What other business license types are there? 

There are many types of business licenses. One example is the bicycle tour business license. It is subject to different regulations and laws, and costs up to $500 to register.

Where can I apply for a business license in Hawaii?

Apply for a business license through your relevant city hall, or visit the Hawaii state portal online to apply. Online applications are much faster.

What if my business license is delayed?

Online business licenses take up to 5 days, while licenses filed in person could take up to 15 days to process. Delays are common at busier times of the year, and a follow up is recommended from there.

Types of Business Licenses

A General Excise Tax LicenseThe GET license is the Hawaii state equivalent of what other states call a basic business or sales tax permit. All businesses in Hawaii require it.
A Nonprofit Business LicenseNonprofit companies describe any charities or businesses that do not turn a profit. They are applied for separately from a sales tax lcense.
A Food LicenseFood licenses are only required for any businesses who sell, transport or process food and beverages. A GET license is still required with this in the state of Hawaii.

Hawaii Business Facts

• The total economy of Hawaii is estimated to be worth at least $97 billion

• Businesses in Hawaii employ an estimated 24.2 million people.

• Military, tourism and direct sales are three of the most popular industries in the state of Hawaii.

• Small businesses in Hawaii are on the increase.

General Excise Tax Licenses in Hawaii

A General Excise Tax License is the Hawaii equivalent of what other states call a sales tax or general business license. All businesses in Hawaii require one, even if they only intend to operate a branch in the state with a main office elsewhere.

All business types in Hawaii require a basic business license first. Additional license types could be necessary, though this will depend on what type of business you have. Extra licenses could apply to more specific business types, like liquor, food or tourism.

The initial application for a small business license in Hawaii costs $30, and the license lasts for one year after successful application. After one year, renewal is necessary and renewal fees will apply. 

It is illegal to operate a business in Hawaii without the proper licenses in place. WIthout a legal business license in place, the state could force closure of businesses until they have applied for the correct permits to operate.

Here are the business license costs in other states: