How to find a registered agent in Hawaii
Hawaii registered agent requirements
Most states have similar requirements regarding registered agents. Hawaii’s requirements are fairly straightforward.
A registered agent in Hawaii must be an individual or business entity that has a physical Hawaii street address (at a registered office). They must be able to be at this address during normal business hours in the event that any important documents — like service of process mail — are directed to your business.
They must then transfer these documents to you in a timely manner. This is often done through an online account.
Being your own registered agent
If you plan to be your company’s own registered agent, you need to be a resident of the state of Hawaii. You need to have a physical address within the state. P.O. box addresses are not valid physical addresses when it comes to registered agent services. Finally, you must be available during normal business hours at the registered office address.
If you do not wish to be your own registered agent, keep in mind you can also appoint another trustworthy individual, such as a family member or employee, to be your registered agent. Your business itself cannot be your registered agent, however.
Hiring a Hawaii registered agent service
Many Hawaii LLCs and corporations hire a commercial registered agent service. If you choose this option, the company needs to follow the requirements listed above and maintain a physical Hawaii street address as well.
Recommended registered agent services
Why you need a registered agent
If you plan to incorporate your Hawaii business and become a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you need to have a registered agent. This is a person or entity that is willing to receive business mail and legal paperwork for your company.
Such paperwork might include court documents, lawsuit papers, tax forms, and government notifications. All of these documents need to be delivered to Hawaii LLCs in a timely manner, which is why the Hawaii Secretary of State requires that all businesses have registered agents. It is an important role that comes with a lot of responsibility.
When you need a registered agent
Choosing a registered agent (also known as a resident agent or statutory agent) is fairly simple. In Hawaii, you can select a trustworthy registered agent service, or you can choose to be your own registered agent.
Before choosing your registered agent, however, you must follow the appropriate sequence of steps for incorporation. This means that you must first choose a corporate name. You need a name that no other business has, so it’s important to conduct a name search with the Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Registration Division.
Once you’ve chosen a name that no other LLC or corporation has in Hawaii, you can start assembling your Articles of Incorporation (Articles of Organization). This means choosing your registered agent in addition to outlining the purpose of your corporation, how many shares you are authorized to issue, and other important contact information.
Finally, you can submit your Articles of Incorporation along with the necessary filing fees and other formation documents. If accepted, the state will formally incorporate your business, and you can prepare your corporate bylaws and obtain an employer identification number, or EIN.
Why use a registered agent service
Many people who are just starting out in the business world think that becoming their own registered agent is best. While it is possible to be your own registered agent in Hawaii (and it can save some money in the short-term), most business owners end up switching to a commercial registered agent company for these reasons:
Having to be available at a specific physical address throughout the week during normal business hours can be a hassle — especially for business owners who are just getting their company off the ground. You may need to travel for work or even work from home. When will you have time to be present at your registered office address?
Fortunately, a registered agent service can take on this responsibility for you. You’ll be able to move and travel freely, and they’ll be at the appointed registered office address to accept any important documents your business receives from the state or otherwise.
Having your business address be the same as your home address is not advisable in most cases. That’s because your business address will need to be listed on public record. Anyone will be able to find it.
Disassociating your business address from your home address is wise. It will protect your privacy. It will also ensure that any business-related dealings or legal issues stay separate from your personal life.
If your business were ever to be served lawsuit papers, for example, more than likely, police officers would appear at the registered office address you have on file to deliver them in person. It goes without saying that you wouldn’t want this to happen at your home. Likewise, you may not even want it to happen at your storefront or actual brick and mortar operation.
Ultimately, removing your public record address from your home or storefront address can save you a lot of stress and headaches.
Organization and time
Commercial registered agent companies can give you more time to focus on the operation of your business. After all, owning and operating your own company is a big job, and you need to be present for what matters.
If you choose to be your own registered agent, then not only do you need to focus on the inner workings of your company and helping your customer base grow, but you also need to handle all of your own business paperwork.
This can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out with a new small business. Allow a registered agent company to handle your document organization and business filings. They can even alert you when you have Annual Report due dates coming up and carry out other duties on your behalf.
Hawaii registered agent costs
There are no state fees if you plan to be your LLC’s own registered agent. Additionally, there are no state fees for hiring another individual to be your registered agent; however, many business owners will pay a friend or relative to carry out this service on their business’s behalf.
There is an annual fee if you decide to hire a commercial registered agent company in Hawaii. This is not a state fee but an annual fee you must pay directly to the registered agent company.
Typically, Hawaii businesses will pay between $50 to $300 every year for registered agent services. This may include an online account where you can receive important legal documents accepted on your business’s behalf by the registered agent company. Other companies may simply forward your mail.
Ultimately, the cost of this service will be based on multiple factors. A registered agent service that offers extra business filing services, reminders for Annual Report due dates, same-day services, and other “extras” to meet your business needs will naturally cost more per year.
How to change your Hawaii registered agent
There may come a time when you want to change who is listed as your LLC’s registered agent. Fortunately, this is not difficult. Here’s how to change your registered agent in Hawaii:
Obtain the paperwork. You’ll need to go to the website for the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and get a Statement of Change of Registered Agent by Entity form.
Submit the form. In some states, you need to file important business paperwork with the state in person. But in Hawaii, you can file your Statement of Change form online, or you can send it by mail. Of course, you can also deliver it in person if you choose.
Pay the filing fee. To file this paperwork, you’ll need to pay a fee of $25. This can usually be made by credit card.
There is one other way to change your Hawaii registered agent: in your Annual Report. This is a good way to change your registered agent if you are close to the filing date anyway. You’d be submitting your Annual Report regardless of the change, so doing it this way means less paperwork on your part.
List of forms
The following links and forms concerning registered agents in Hawaii may help you as you incorporate your corporation or LLC.
What is a registered agent in the state of Hawaii?
A registered agent is a commercial registered agent business or an individual resident of Hawaii that agrees to be present during normal business hours at an in-state physical address in order to accept important business correspondence on behalf of an incorporated company.
How do I change my registered agent in Hawaii?
You may choose to change your Hawaii registered agent at any time. You can do this by filing a document called the “Statement of Change of Registered Agent by Entity” form. The document must be filed with the Hawaii Business Registration Division.
How long is a Certificate of Good Standing valid in Hawaii?
There are no set expiration dates for Certificates of Good Standing in Hawaii.