How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Washington?
Legal business registration — and keeping your business in good standing — involves some necessary expenses. Some of these costs are payable to the WA Secretary of State, while others are due to the federal government or other additional state entities. Here are some common requirements and fees.
Please note that Washington 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 LLC Fees
You’ll need to file as an LLC with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee when you first formally form your business. Here are the current Washington LLC fees and filing times:
When you form your LLC with Incfile, we charge you this fee and forward it to the Washington Secretary of State 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 you can have Incfile obtain an EIN 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 Foreign LLC Registration
Before you can move your business from another state into Washington, you must obtain a Certificate of Authority from the Office of the Secretary of State. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.
To request registration of a Washington Foreign LLC, you must complete a Foreign Entity Registration and pay a processing fee of $180 and an additional $20 if you file online. The state may have additional requirements so contact the Washington Secretary of State for more information.
Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State
If you plan to expand your Washington LLC into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.
This process will likely entail completing an application and paying a filing fee, but each state has its own requirements. 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 — including Washington — require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the Secretary of State. When you file your annual report, you’ll need to pay a fee of $60. Here are the Washington annual report filing requirements:
Here are the annual filing requirements for Washington:
Last day of anniversary month of organization or qualification.
Washington Business License and Permit Requirements
It’s your responsibility as a business owner to make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your LLC. Some of the associated fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charges.
Permits and licenses vary based on:
The state of Washington doesn't require you to have a Washington LLC Operating Agreement in place.
An Operating Agreement is a document that covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. It's usually filed alongside your Articles of Organization.
This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.
You can make changes to the template based on your unique requirements.
Other Potential Washington LLC Fees or Requirements
You may need 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.
Changing the Registered Agent
Your LLC needs an Washington Registered Agent, which must be appointed when you file your Articles of Organization. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later at no cost by filing updates online with the Washington Secretary of State Corporations and Charities Division.
Reserving a Name for Your LLC
If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve a business name for 180 days with the Washington Secretary of State by filing a form and paying a fee of $30. First, perform a Washington business search and learn about business name rules to ensure you choose a name that meets all the state requirements.
Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC
Your business formation documents state certain facts about your Washington LLC at the time of its formation. Over time, these facts may change. If they do, you'll need to file an Amended Certificate of Formation with the Washington Secretary of State for a filing fee of $30. You can do this yourself or have Incfile file it on your behalf.
You may want to file an Information Change form when you:
- Alter the stated business activities of your LLC
- Add, remove or change an LLC member or manager
- Change the business address of your LLC
Getting a Washington Certificate of Good Standing
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 or Status from the Washington Secretary of State. You can obtain one by ordering a Certificate of Existence online, and paying a fee of $20.
The fees listed above detail many of the charges a standard LLC will be required to pay in Washington. In some unusual circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.
Of course, your Washington 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 Business Tax page.