A GE license stands for general excise tax license. The general excise tax is a privilege tax required on all gross income, receipts, or gross proceeds of all business activities. Hence, in many states, a general excise tax is required for all businesses. General excise tax rates differ depending on the state. According to the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, general excise tax rates for the state of Hawaii are four percent on the retail sale of goods, services, contracting, interest, rent, commissions and other activities. Lower tax rates apply for subleases and resold services. Gross income is exempt for contracting and other services that are exported out of Hawaii. Although it differs from state to state, most GE licenses can be obtained online, such as in the state of Hawaii.

How to get a GE License in Hawaii

Step 1.

Go online and print out Form BB-1, the "State of Hawaii Basic Business Application." (Or obtain it at the local Department of Taxation.) The combined application will allow for the registration of the general excise license and other state licenses and permits.

Step 2.

Fill out the two BB-1 forms. Make a copy of all records.

Step 3.

Submit the original forms to the Department of Taxation online, by fax, by mail or in person. A one-time fee of $20 is required.

Step 4.

The general excise license will arrive in three to four weeks, which shows that you have registered correctly to pay the general excise tax. It will also contain your general excise identification number. (If forms and fee are brought to the Department of Taxation in person, a GE identification number will be assigned to you right away.) The general excise tax forms booklet will be sent in the mail and arrive weeks after you receive the GE license certificate.

Step 5.

Display the GE license at your place of business. (It is required by the state of Hawaii.)


If you misplace your GE License, duplicate licenses can be obtained by calling Taxpayer Services. Duplicate licenses can be issued at no additional charge.