A Registered Agent in Washington provides various services, such as accepting formal documents and correspondence from the Secretary of State (WA Sec State).
Your corporation must have Washington Registered Agent services at all times. You appoint one when you first start your business. You can also replace your existing agent after formation, provided there is no period during which your business is without a Registered Agent.
The address for your Registered Agent in Washington doesn't need to be the same as your business address. In fact, you can use a Washington virtual mailbox for your business address.
Important: A virtual mailbox is not a replacement for a Registered Agent. They perform two separate functions and per state law, you are required to have a Registered Agent.
What Washington Registered Agents Do
A Registered Agent’s primary function is to accept official correspondence and documentation, including but not limited to:
- State and federal government correspondence and notices
- Service of process notices (e.g., if your corporation is sued or required to appear in court)
- Correspondence from the WA Sec State
- Tax forms and requests to complete permits, company filings and reports
Having a Registered Agent also allows you to prove to the state that your business exists.
Incfile Provides Free Washington Registered Agent Services for the First Year
Incfile provides complete Washington Registered Agent services for any corporation formed in the state. Even better, if you form your corporation through Incfile, your Registered Agent is completely free for the first year and only $119 a year after that.
Incfile is authorized to conduct business in Washington and able to legally act as your Registered Agent. Here’s what our Washington Registered Agent services include:
Appointing a Registered Agent for Your Corporation
When you're incorporating in Washington, you must appoint a Registered Agent at that time. You can change the agent at any time after that. Here’s how.
Assign a Registered Agent When You Form Your Corporation
Your business needs to have a Registered Agent as soon as it’s formed. You can do this two ways:
When you create your business, you must include your Registered Agent's information in your Articles of Incorporation.
If you form your business through us, you’ll get our Registered Agent service free for one year. We’ll use the information you provide to complete and file your Articles of Incorporation for you.
Assign a New Registered Agent After Incorporation
You can also assign someone else as your Registered Agent in Washington after you’ve incorporated. There are a couple of ways to do this.
Once you’ve chosen a new Registered Agent, you can complete the Statement of Change form available on the Secretary of State website. Once you’ve filled it out, send it to the WA Sec State so they can update your records. The change can also be filed online using the state's digital filing system.
When you use our Registered Agent service, we take care of all the forms for you. We’ll collect the pertinent information about your business, complete the form and send it to the WA Sec State on your behalf. We’ll notify you when we officially become your Registered Agent.
Search for Washington Registered Agents
In some situations, you may need to know the name of the Registered Agent that represents another WA corporation. You can find this information by using the state's advanced search.
If you can’t find the Registered Agent information there, you can request it from the Secretary of State.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Registered Agent?
If you don’t assign or provide a Registered Agent's details to the Secretary of State, you may be subject to certain ramifications, including but not limited to:
- Getting sued or served and not knowing about it. You could lose to a default judgment in your absence if your corporation is sued and you don’t respond.
- Losing your status as a corporation in the state. A Registered Agent is evidence to the state that your business exists. Without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your corporation may be dissolved.
- Falling out of good standing with the WA Sec State. The state may revoke your right to do business if you don’t respond to certain correspondence (such as a request for your annual report).
Acting as Your Own Registered Agent
You can be the Registered Agent for your Washington corporation if you have a business office in the state. There can be some drawbacks to this approach:
- The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Washington. If you’re forming a corporation outside the state, you’ll need to use an in-state Registered Agent.
- Someone must always be available during business hours at the Washington address to sign for important documents.
- The Registered Agent’s name and address are part of the public record and available through the WA Sec State website. If you prefer to keep your name and address private, you should use a Registered Agent service.
- If you change your business address or move out of state, you need to file additional documentation with the Secretary of State for the new address. This won't be necessary if you use a Registered Agent service, making a move or address change much simpler.
Other Useful Resources
FAQs About Washington Registered Agents
Yes. All business entities are required to have a Registered Agent. This is mandated by the Secretary of State. You'll find more information above.
You must assign a Registered Agent when you form your business with the Secretary of State. You can change your agent afterward by filing the correct form. If you form your business through Incfile, we’ll file all the necessary forms on your behalf. You'll find more information above.
Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above.
Yes. And if you use a company as your Registered Agent, that company must be legally able to conduct business in the state. You'll find more information above.