Why Create a Washington DC LLC?
Within the District of Columbia, business owners can take advantage of various incentives, provided your LLC meets the specific criteria. For example, Washington DC offers new businesses the opportunity to apply for funding provided by the Washington Area Community Investment Fund. The Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) is a nonprofit community loan fund based in Washington, DC providing access to capital and expertise to entrepreneurs and community organizations.
For entrepreneurs wanting to start a business in Washington DC, creating a Washington DC limited liability company (LLC) is generally the fastest and easiest way. With more simplified rules and regulations, an LLC is an ideal business entity for startups and small to medium-sized businesses, granting you the advantages and protections that larger District of Columbia corporations benefit from.
Benefits of starting a Washington DC LLC:
Protect your personal assets from your business liability and debts
Create, manage, regulate, administer and stay in compliance easily
Easily file your taxes and discover potential advantages for tax treatment
Low cost to file ($220)
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
In this detailed guide, you’ll find information on naming your LLC, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, Washington DC business taxes and much more. We also cover your registration needs, filing your Washington DC LLC and how you'll correspond with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
How to Form an LLC in Washington DC Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Complete a Washington DC LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
Step 2 - Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Organization with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Create an Operating Agreement
Complete a Washington DC LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
To start the process, you’ll need a name for your LLC that’s original and stands out, but one that’s not used by any other business or corporation in the District of Columbia. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using Incfile’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas. You'll also need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Washington DC Business Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Washington DC. To find out whether another company in the District of Columbia is already using your desired business name, use our tool to do a business name search. You can also carry out an entity name search via the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs online resources.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Regardless of whether your business is in an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence) or any other physical location, every Washington DC LLC must have a designated street address. It can be located outside the District of Columbia, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
Assign a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Every LLC in Washington DC is required to have a Registered Agent.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in your business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your Washington DC Registered Agent is a person, they must have a physical street address in the District of Columbia and must be present during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your business. In the District of Columbia, you appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Organization and formally create your Washington DC LLC.
All of Incfile’s packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also log in to our dashboard and easily view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Organization with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Once you've gathered all the information for your Washington DC LLC, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
To file your Articles of Organization with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, you can either use the District of Columbia's online business portal to file online, or mail your forms to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The Washington DC LLC filing fee is $220.
File by Mail
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090
You only need to file your Articles of Organization once, but most states - Washington DC included - require all LLCs to file an annual (or other periodic) report. Washington DC requires a biennial report to be filed every other year. The filing fee for this is $300. Incfile can either remind you to do it, or we can do it for you.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Washington DC?
Starts with year after incorporation or qualification; then each second year thereafter.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You’ll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or you can have Incfile obtain one for you as part of the Washington DC LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
An LLC Operating Agreement is a kind of "instruction manual" that explains how you'll run your business, and details key components of your business. For example, how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Although some states require that a company have this document in place, the District of Columbia does not mandate that you are required to have an LLC Operating Agreement. At Incfile, we think it’s still a good idea to have one regardless.
Other Washington DC LLC Types
Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs) are different from professional corporations in that they typically have licensing requirements applicable to certain fields, such as law and medicine. In order to form a PLLC, you may need a state license to practice.
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to the District of Columbia—or vice versa—you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about Washington DC Foreign LLC registration.
Helpful Resources from the District of Columbia
More Information in This Guide
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the District of Columbia business registry and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, DBA names, reserving a Washington DC LLC name and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents. Also includes the rules they’re required to follow.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the district and federal governments. Includes details of district taxes such as sales and income, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment.