State officials announced Friday that the government has collected $1.6 million in penalties from 312 out-of-state companies that did not register to do business in Connecticut.

Secretary of State Denise Merrill said when companies don't register it makes "it difficult to provide accountability for Connecticut consumers."

Most of the fines were small — under $2,000 — but a division of John Hancock that sells life insurance paid more than $38,000. The fines were collected in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Two charities with Starwood Hotels and Resorts had to pay $9,000 each. The company received a $9.5 million state-subsidized loan and up to $80 million in tax credits and exemptions for locating in Stamford five years ago, and then a second package of a $5 million subsidized loan and $20 million in tax credits in 2014.

"Here in Connecticut, we strive for fair competition in the marketplace so that all businesses in the state have a chance to make a profit in this economic climate," Merrill said in a press release.