How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Washington DC?
Legal business registration — and making sure your business remains compliant — involves some necessary expenses. Some of these costs are payable to the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some of the most common requirements and fees.
Please note that Washington DC business license and permit fees may need to be paid when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.
Initial Washington DC LLC Fees
You’ll need to file as an LLC with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and pay a filing fee when you first formally form your business. Here are the current Washington DC LLC fees and filing times:
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Washington DC?
When you form your LLC with us, Incfile will charge you this fee and forward it to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs when we file your formation paperwork.
Employer Identification Number
Every LLC in the U.S. should obtain a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. It's available at no cost from the IRS, or have Incfile obtain one for you.
When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a foreign LLC.
Washington DC Foreign LLC Registration
Foreign companies are those which are formed in another state or country. In order to transact business in the District of Columbia these entities must file a Foreign Registration Statement with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for a Foreign LLC.
The registration statement must be accompanied by a certificate of good standing or a certificate of existence from the domestic state of formation. Register your out-of-state foreign company online by filing your Foreign Registration Statement with the Washington DC DCRA. The filing fee for a Washington DC Foreign LLC is $220. The state may have additional requirements so contact the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for more information.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your Washington DC LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority or Compliance from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.
This process will likely require you to complete an application and pay a filing fee. Each state typically has its own requirements, so you’ll want to contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) for specific instructions.
If you need assistance, Incfile provides complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.
Annual Report Requirements
Most states require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. For the District of Columbia, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs requires a biennial report to be filed once every other year. When you file your biennial report, you’ll need to pay a fee of $300. Here are the Washington DC biennial report filing requirements:
Starts with year after incorporation or qualification: then each second year thereafter.
Washington DC Business License and Permit Requirements
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses, to operate your Washington DC LLC. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charges.
Permits and licenses vary based on:
The District of Columbia doesn't require you to have an LLC Operating Agreement in place.
An Operating Agreement is a document that covers the rights and duties of the business members, how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen and several other key areas. It's usually filed with your Articles of Organization at the time that you formally form your business.
This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.
If you have any unique requirements, you can make the necessary changes to accommodate them.
Other Potential Washington DC LLC Fees or Requirements
It is normal for your business to pay and meet several other fees and requirements during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees will only be payable in specific circumstances, as listed below.
Obtaining a Trade Name or DBA
If you wish to establish a Washington DC DBA or trade name, you must register your trade name with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and pay a filing fee of $55.
Changing the Registered Agent
Your LLC needs a Washington DC Registered Agent, which you must appoint when you file your Articles of Organization. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later - for a fee of $50 - by filing a change of agent form with the Washington DC DCRA.
It’s free for the first year if you form your LLC with us and $119 a year after.
Reserving a Name for Your LLC
If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve a business name for 120 days with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Simply reserve your name by filing a form with the Washington DC DCRA, and pay a filing fee of $50. First, perform a Washington DC business search and learn about business name rules to ensure you choose a name that meets state requirements.
Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC
Your business formation documents state certain facts about your Washington DC business at the time it's formed. Over time, these facts may change. If they do, you'll need to file a form for a Certificate of Amendment with the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for a filing fee of $220. You can do this yourself or have Incfile file the amendments on your behalf.
You may want to file for a Certificate of Amendment when you:
- Add, remove or change an LLC member or manager
- Alter the stated business activities of your LLC
- Change the business address of your LLC
Getting a Washington DC Certificate of Compliance
Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need a Certificate of Good Standing from the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. You can obtain one by requesting a Certificate of Good Standing from the Washington DC DCRA, and paying a fee of $50.
The fees listed above detail many of the charges a standard LLC will be required to pay in Washington DC. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your LLC will also probably need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the Washington DC Business Tax page.
FAQs About Washington LLC Fees
We will charge you this fee at cost and then pay the fee to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs on your behalf when forming your Washington DC business.
It depends on various factors, including:
- The type of business you run
- Where your business is located
- Governing bodies in your industry
- Federal, state and local regulations
Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to obtain additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your LLC needs to be compliant.