General Excise Tax (GET) Information
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
I am licensed to do business in Hawaii and want to prepare my General Excise Tax (GET) Returns. Is there a list of forms and instructions?
Yes, please see the General Excise and Use Tax Forms.
I would like to start a business in Hawaii. What do I need to do?
What is the fee for a GET license?
A one-time $20 fee.
How can I apply for a GET license?
Complete the Form BB-1, State of Hawaii Basic Business Application, BB-1 Packet, and pay a one-time $20 registration fee. Additional fees may apply depending on which tax licenses you need. Register online through the DOTAX website at hitax.hawaii.gov or the HBE website hbe.ehawaii.gov.
Where do I mail the application for the GET license to?
Mail the completed application to:
Hawaii Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 1425
Honolulu, HI 96806-1425
Can I apply for a GET license online?
Hawaii Tax Online – hitax.hawaii.gov
Hawaii Business Express – hbe.ehawaii.gov
Where else can I obtain a GET license?
You may apply in-person at the Business Action Center, which is located at 335 Merchant Street, Suite 201. Office hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays (except State holidays); telephone number is (808) 586-2545.
Is there a fee to request a duplicate license?
No. The registration fee for a GET license is a onetime fee of $20.
Can I re-activate a GET license that has already been closed?
No. Once a GET license has been closed, you will need to apply for a new GET license to continue doing business in the State of Hawaii.
How long after submitting a BB-1 application by mail, walk-in or online can I expect to receive my GET license?
If you file Form BB-1 online at Hawaii Tax Online, hitax.hawaii.gov, you will receive your HI Tax ID in approximately 5-7 days.
If you file Form BB-1 online at Hawaii Business Express, hbe.ehawaii.gov, you will receive your HI Tax ID in approximately 2-3 weeks.
If you file Form BB-1 by mail or drop-off, you will receive your HI Tax ID in approximately 4-6 weeks.
To apply in person, bring two copies of your completed application and the $20 registration fee to any DOTAX district office or DCCA Business Action Center (BAC). You will receive your Hawaii Tax ID immediately.
What are the due dates for filing periodic GET returns?
The due date for filing periodic returns (Monthly, Quarterly and Semi-annually) is the 20th day of the month following the close of the tax period. For example: Monthly filer, filing for the month of January, the due date is February 20th, Quarterly filer, filing for the period ending March, the due date is April 20th and a Semi-annual filer, filing for the period ending June, the due date is July 20th.
What is the due date for filing an annual GET return?
The due date is the 20th day of the fourth month following the close of the taxable year. For calendar year filers, the due date is April 20th of the following year.
What is Hawaii's sales tax rate?
Hawaii does not have a sales tax; instead, we have the GET, which is assessed on all business activities. The tax rate is 0.15% for Insurance Commission, 0.5% for Wholesaling, Manufacturing, Producing, Wholesale Services, and Use Tax on Imports For Resale, and 4% for all others. To learn more about the differences between the GET and sales tax, please see Tax Facts 37-1, General Excise Tax (GET).
The Legislature also authorized county governments to adopt a county surcharge on state GET at the 4% rate. The county surcharge does not apply to activities at the 0.5% and 0.15% rate. The following counties have adopted a county surcharge
- City and County of Honolulu: 0.5% effective January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2030.
- County of Kauai: 0.5% effective January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2030.
- County of Hawaii: 0.25% effective from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, and 0.5% January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2030.
- The County of Maui has not adopted a county surcharge.
Are we allowed to pass on the business tax to the customer?
Yes, a seller may choose to visibly pass on the GE and any applicable county surcharge t its customers, but is not required to do so. The tax is on the business and not on the customer. If the business passes on its GE tax, the maximum pass-on rates, which include the county surcharge if applicable, are as follows:
- City and County of Honolulu: 4.7120% (effective January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2030)
- County of Hawaii: 4.4386% (effective January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019) and 4.7120% (effective January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2030)
- County of Kauai: 4.7120% (effective January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2030)
- County of Maui: 4.1666% (no county surcharge)
What is the formula for calculating penalty?
The penalty for failure to file a return on time is calculated at 5% per month, or part of a month, on the unpaid tax up to a maximum of 25%.
What is the formula for calculating Interest?
Interest is calculated at 2/3 of 1% per month or part of a month, on unpaid taxes and penalties beginning with the first calendar day after the date prescribed for payment, whether or not the first calendar day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.
Why doesn't my billing notice show the total amount paid (CST payment/charges not shown on bill)?
The payment is first applied to the CST (Oahu County Surcharge Tax), including any penalties and interest. The remainder of the payment is then applied to the GET. In most cases because there is no balance due for CST, the current billing notices were set up to only reflect balance due amounts, which is usually only the GET. DOTAX is currently working on adjusting these notices to reflect the full payment and details of how the full payment was applied.
I am doing work for a web platform (Uber, Lyft, Bite Squad, Door Dash, Rover, Instacart, Delivery Drivers, Grub Hub, etc.) and the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations made a determination that I am an employee for the purposes of Unemployment Insurance. Am I exempt from Hawaii general excise tax (GET)? Should I amend my tax returns?
For the purpose of GET only, until a final determination that the drivers are employees has been made (i.e., all avenues of appeal have been exhausted), DOTAX is treating you as an Independent Contractor (1099) since the platforms are not paying tax. Thus, you are subject to GET at the wholesale rate of 0.5%. Please continue to pay GET until a final determination on this issue has been made.
For more questions and answers such as the ones listed below, please see Tax Facts 37-1, General Excise Tax (GET).
Is the GET a sales tax?
What are the GET rates for businesses?
Are businesses required to charge GET?
Can businesses charge customers GET?
How much can businesses charge their customers?
Can businesses charge more than the maximum rates?
Do businesses have to tell their customers if they plan to visibly pass on GET?
If a wholesaler sells an item to a retailer who then sells that same item to me, isn’t that double taxation?
Can businesses charge GET to tax-exempt organizations such as nonprofits, government agencies, and credit unions?
Are nonresidents exempt from paying the GET on goods purchased in Hawaii?
- Tax Facts 37-1, General Excise Tax (GET)
- Other Tax Facts on General Excise/Use Tax
- An Introduction to the General Excise Tax (PDF) 20 pages, 136 KB, March 2020
- County Surcharge on General Excise and Use Tax
- Excel Workbook of the General Excise Tax Exemptions/Deductions by Activity Code as of May 10, 2021 (XLSX)
- Please also search our website for Tax Information Releases, Attorney General Opinions, Letter Rulings and other resources related to the General Excise Tax.
Page Last Updated: September 14, 2022