How to Get a Hawaii DBA Name

Although filing for a DBA is similar nationwide, there are specific rules to follow when getting a Hawaii DBA. Read on to learn more.
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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated February 29, 2024
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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When you set up a Hawaii business, you may not have realized that the name you chose wouldn’t be the name you’d want to use going forward. If so, you can create a Hawaii DBA — a fictitious name — that you can use throughout the state of Hawaii.

Find out how to apply for a Hawaii trade name and what having one might mean for the nature of the business you set up in this article.

DBA in Hawaii: Key Takeaways

  • You’re not legally required to file for a DBA in Hawaii, though doing so offers multiple benefits.

  • The trade name you choose must be unique, meaning no other business in Hawaii should be using it.

  • You can file for your Hawaii DBA by mail, email, fax, or online.

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What Is a DBA?

DBA stands for “doing business as,” which essentially acts as a fictitious business name for your company. You may use a DBA, also called a “trade name” in Hawaii, for branding purposes or to create a more official-sounding name if you’re running a sole proprietorship or general partnership.

Business owners must know that a DBA isn’t the same as a business structure. For instance, a limited liability company (LLC) is a business structure because it affects how you arrange your company, the liability protection you receive, and your tax status. With a DBA, you’re simply electing to use an alternative name for the business. 

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How to File a DBA in Hawaii

If the legal name you’ve chosen for your company isn’t right for your branding requirements, you need to file for a DBA. The following is the step-by-step guide for DBA registration, which you can complete at any point during your business ownership.

Just as you would when starting a new business, you need to confirm that your intended DBA name isn’t in use anywhere else in Hawaii. Thankfully, the state provides a business name database, located on the Hawaii Business Express website. Simply enter your desired name and run the search — the database returns results if that name already exists. 

The state also recommends that you run a search via the Hawaii Department of Taxation website to see if your desired trade name has ever been used before.

Free Hawaii Business Name Search

Enter your desired Hawaii company name to see if it is available with our free business name search.

A trade name isn’t the same thing as a trademark. You can file for a trademark for further name protection in other territories.

2. File Your DBA With the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Some states require business owners to complete a fictitious business statement, often submitted to the county clerk’s office, as part of their DBA filing. You don’t need to complete this step in Hawaii.

Instead, to officially file for your Hawaii DBA, you must complete the Application for Registration of Trade Name form. The form asks for basic information about your business and the trade name under which you wish to operate.

It costs $25 to file this form, with an additional filing fee of $20 being due if you want to expedite the process and get your new trade name in a matter of days.

Filing by Mail

If you wish to file by mail, you need to send your completed form with payment to the following address:

P.O. Box 40,


HI 96810

Or, you can send it directly to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs:

335 Merchant Street,

Room 201,


HI 96813

Note that any physical form you send needs to be completed in black ink; otherwise, it’s likely the form will be returned to you.[1]

Filing Online

Alternatively, you can file for your trade name online using the Hawaii Business Express website. This expedites the process a little, making it the more efficient way to handle your DBA filing.

Filing via Email

If you choose to submit your DBA paperwork by email, you must send it to [email protected], along with your credit card information. You must accompany your filing with either a completed version of the Business Registration Division Credit Card Transaction form or all of the credit card information required by that form.[2]

Filing by Fax

Sending your application via fax also requires completing and submitting the Business Registration Division Credit Card Transaction form. Send the document to (808) 586-2733.

3. Follow Up

Unfortunately, your new trade name comes with an expiration date. Specifically, entrepreneurs have ownership of their assumed names for five years before they have to refile the Application for Registration of Trade Name form.[3] Failure to do so means you no longer have an official claim on your trade name.

Unlike other states, Hawaii doesn’t legally require any business to file for a trade name. You can simply start operating under one without informing the state. So, you can allow your claim on your trade name to expire and continue to use it, assuming you’re happy to lose the legal protection from official filing.[4]

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Hawaii DBA Name Restrictions

Though a Hawaii DBA isn’t a business structure, you’ll follow many of the same naming convention rules when choosing your DBA name as you did when setting up your business.

These rules include the following:

  • Your trade name shouldn’t infringe on the name or trademark used by any other business in Hawaii.

  • The name can’t imply that your company is part of any governmental organization, such as the Internal Revenue Service.

  • You can’t use a trade name to claim your company has a different structure than its legal one. For instance, an LLC can’t use the word “Incorporated” in its trade name.

DBA Hawaii Tax Considerations

Your “doing business as” name does not affect your business structure. For instance, a sole proprietorship will remain a sole proprietorship, even if it chooses a DBA name that makes it sound more like an official business.

This also means your DBA name does not affect your taxes in Hawaii or your federal tax status. For instance, you don’t need to apply for any form of new tax ID, with that application only coming into play if you change the business entity.

Why Should You Get a DBA?

Now that you know how to get a DBA, there’s one more question to answer: why might a trade name be right for your business?


Let’s assume you’re a sole proprietor currently operating your business under your own name. Having a trade name adds a layer of authenticity to your company. That makes opening a business bank account easier, as most banks require an official-sounding business name. It also makes you appear more professional in clients' eyes.


Similarly, those running companies under their own names may have privacy concerns as it’s easier for people to track them. Having a trade name creates more privacy because your clients won’t necessarily know the full details of the company's owner.


Some business names simply aren’t suitable for branding purposes, especially when you consider the suffixes (such as “limited liability company”) you must add to them. With a trade name, you can pick a moniker that works better from a branding perspective.

Register Your Hawaii DBA in Minutes
  • Gain Privacy: Hide your personal name and details when marketing your business.

  • Improve Branding: Choose a DBA that easily informs your audience about what you have to offer.

  • Expand Services: Operate multiple businesses without creating separate entities for each one.

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What’s the difference between an LLC and a DBA?

The difference is that an LLC is a business entity, whereas a DBA is simply an alternative business name. The latter does not impact how you structure your company or the tax implications you face.

How much does getting a DBA cost?

It costs $50 to register a Hawaii DBA. You can pay an additional fee of $20 if you wish to expedite your filing.

Do I need a DBA for my Hawaii business?

No business is required to have a DBA in Hawaii. You can operate without one by simply using your official business name.

Hawaii also doesn’t enforce trade name applications for businesses, meaning you can use one without completing a trade name application. The state applies “common law ownership rights” to your trade name as soon as you start using it in the public domain.[4]

What’s the difference between a trade name, assumed name, and a DBA name?

There is no difference. All three are synonyms, with each state having its own preference. In Hawaii, a DBA is called a “trade name.”

How long does a DBA last?

Your official claim to your Hawaii trade name lasts for five years, after which you must resubmit your application forms. However, you can continue using the name after these five years due to the state’s common law ownership rights.

Is there a limit to the number of DBA names I can have?

There isn’t a limit to the number of trade names you can have in Hawaii.

Is a DBA the same as a trademark?

No, it’s not. While a DBA filing protects your trade name usage in the state, it doesn’t afford the same protections as a trademark, especially outside the state of Hawaii.

Does a DBA affect my business’s tax status?

Your DBA does not impact the business entity you’ve created, so it doesn’t change your company’s tax status.


  1. Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. “Trade Name, Trademark, or Service Mark.” Accessed November 7, 2023.

  2. Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs – Business Registration Division. “Credit Card Transaction Form.” Accessed November 7, 2023.

  3. “Application for Registration of Trade Name.” Accessed November 7, 2023.

  4. Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. “What are the Rules for Determining if a Proposed Business Name is Substantially Identical to an Already Registered Name?”Accessed November 7, 2023.

Originally published on February 29, 2024, and last edited on February 29, 2024.
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