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WASHINGTON

Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?


$49 + State Fee & 1st Year FREE Registered Agent

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Simple Steps to Start Your Washington LLC

Washington State is a region located in the far northwest of the continental U.S. Over half of the state’s population lives in and around the Seattle area. The state combines centers of business and industry with beautiful landscapes and welcoming people.

If you want to start your own business in Washington, one of the best ways to do so is by forming an LLC. Washington Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Forming an LLC is fast, easy and inexpensive. LLCs offer many of the protections and advantages of large corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.

Let’s start by looking at the advantages of forming a Washington LLC.

Advantages of Forming an LLC in Washington

Washington LLCs have several benefits for business owners.

  • The preparation to start a Washington LLC is quick and easy: You can complete all the necessary forms and actions online to start your company. You can gather and prepare the information to start your business in an hour or two.
  • An LLC limits your personal liability: Any liabilities created by your Washington business (debts, obligations and other liabilities) are legally considered to be completely separate from your personal assets as the business owner or founder.
  • Washington LLCs are easy to maintain: LLCs are light on rules and regulations. There’s no need for boards of directors, complex rules and regulations or formal annual meetings.
  • LLCs are very easy to manage: General administration is fast and easy. Add and amend members and make other changes with just a little paperwork.
  • Taxes are simple: Any income you earn through your Washington LLC is reported on your personal tax return. This means you won’t run into “double taxation” issues common with larger corporations.
  • Turnaround times for forming an LLC in Washington: You will normally have the option of a “Standard” turnaround time and an “Expedited” turnaround time for forming your LLC. You can learn about those times here.
  • Fees for forming an LLC in Washington: Learn about standard filing costs here.

Washington also has another advantage: It doesn’t levy a state income tax. This can make a big difference in the amount of profits you take out of the business and report on your personal tax return.

Start Your Washington LLC in Six Steps

1. Name Your Washington LLC

  • You will need a distinctive, original name for your Washington LLC that’s not used by another business in Washington
  • To find out if another company is using your choice of business name, carry out a Washington business entity name search
  • The name should be unique and not able to be confused with the name of another Washington business
  • It must contain the words "limited liability company," the words "limited liability" and abbreviation "Co.," or the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC"
    • For example: “Seattle Residential Realtors LLC” or “Hank-Ryan and Sons, Limited Liability Company”

2. Provide the Address for Your New Washington LLC

A Washington LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), where your office is located or any physical address of your preference — even outside of Washington. It cannot be a P.O. Box.

3. Assign a Registered Agent for Your Washington LLC

Every Washington LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” That could be you, the managing director, owner or a dedicated Registered Agent service. The Registered Agent in Washington is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Washington Secretary of State.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a Registered Agent service, which is free for the first year and just $119 per year thereafter. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf. Here are a few reasons you might want to appoint Incfile as your Registered Agent service:

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state where you are forming the company. Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will need to use a Registered Agent service to provide the address.
  • You always need to have someone on hand to receive important documents for your business during business hours (typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday). Therefore, a person must always be available to sign for legal correspondence.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address are part of the public record and available through the Washington Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address are not published, this is a good reason to choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your Washington business address or move out of state, you don’t need to file additional documentation with the Secretary of State for the new address of your Registered Agent. You will need to set up a new Registered Agent service in the new state.

4. You Should Provide Names and Addresses of all Washington LLC Executors

Your Washington LLC executors are the people forming the business. Washington requires you to list the names and addresses of all executors when you register the Washington LLC. You can register these addresses as street addresses or P.O. Boxes.

5. You Need to File a Certificate of Formation With the Washington Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information together for your LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the Washington Secretary of State to create your LLC. This document is known as your Certificate of Formation, and filing it starts the process of creating your Washington LLC. You can do this online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf.

6. You Can Create a Washington LLC Operating Agreement

Washington LLCs aren’t required to have an Operating Agreement, but they are extremely useful for several reasons. Your Operating Agreement covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, the rights and duties of members and several other key areas. Learn how to create your Operating Agreement here.

If you’re interested in having your Operating Agreement created for you, Incfile will draft a general Operating Agreement within most of our online business formation packages. It can also be selected as an add-on option in our Silver package. This Operating Agreement will be a basic template that you can make changes to anytime you see fit.

You can find lots more useful information on how to form an LLC here. It answers questions like:

  • Who can form an LLC?
  • Where should you form an LLC?
  • When should you form an LLC?
  • What are the ongoing responsibilities for an LLC?

Starting Your Washington LLC: Useful Resources

Form a Washington LLC Without Breaking the Bank

Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your LLC. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps on your behalf, such as filing the Certificate of Formation. Our basic package also provides free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for help starting an LLC, our comprehensive services provide outstanding value.

Only $49 + State Fee To Launch Your Business

Clear Pricing. No Contracts. No Surprise.

What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Washington?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$200 15 Business Days 5 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: Last day of anniversary month of organization or qualification.

Filing Fee: $60

Learn more about starting a business in Washington

Additional resources, guides, and articles for better decision making.

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The Basics To Get You Started

Prepare & File Articles Of Organization
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EIN / Tax ID Number
Personalized Operating Agreement
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