Washington LLC Form, Filing and Permit Requirements
If you want to form an LLC in Washington, there are certain forms, requirements and legalities you need to get in place. Below you will find a rundown of what you’ll need to do, together with details on each form required for your Washington LLC. You can get further information on the Washington Business Licensing Service website.
Some of these forms you only need to submit once, while others must be filed on a regular basis. You will need to set reminders in your calendar to file forms regularly if you're filing yourself. At Incfile, we provide an optional, paid renewal service that can take care of renewals for you when you instruct us to do so.
Washington Certificate of Formation
The Certificate of Formation is the formal document filed with the Washington Secretary of State to create your LLC. It states certain information about your business. Once the document is filed with the Secretary of State, it legally creates your business as an LLC in Washington. Here’s what’s typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your registered agent
- Names of any business executors at the time of filing
Here at Incfile, we automatically create and file your Certificate of Formation on your behalf when you start your business with us. You only need to file your certificate once. There is a fee levied by the Secretary of State of Washington to cover your filing.
In Washington certain professions can form “Professional LLCs.” These are companies providing defined professional services, and they typically need to be specially licensed. In Washington, businesses engaged in the following activities are considered professional service organizations and must be properly licensed and regulated:
- Certified public accountants
Business Licenses for Your Washington LLC
Depending on the type of Washington business you’re running, you will need to obtain various business licenses and permits. These are not required to form your LLC, but it’s important to know which permits and licenses are required for your business to operate in compliance in your jurisdiction.
Incfile provides a complete Business License Research Package that will tell you all of the licenses and permits necessary for your new professional LLC.
A Business Permit or License From Your City
Various cities in Washington have slightly different rules and fees for permits and licenses. Check with your local Washington city administration to see what their rules are. You will need a separate permit or license for each city your Washington LLC operates in. You can find details of local business licenses from your Secretary of State.
Additional Business Permits and Licenses
Depending on the type of business you are running, you may need to get additional permits and licenses from the city, county or state. You can get an idea of the types of permits and licenses you might need from the State of Washington website. The federal government may also require you to get certain licenses or permits, and the SBA has a comprehensive list of Washington license permits. The frequency of how often you need to file permits varies depending on the permit type.
Federal Licenses and Permits
Depending on the type of Washington business you are running, you may need to get licenses and permits from the federal government and various national agencies. You can find a complete list on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
Incfile Business License Research Package
You will need to pay licensing and permit fees on a regular basis depending on the type of business you are operating and where you are located. These vary from city to city and industry to industry, so if you don’t want to do the legwork yourself, we provide a complete Business License Research Package that will tell you all of the licenses and permits necessary for your new LLC. It includes:
- A comprehensive package of all the licenses, permits and tax registrations required for your business
- The application forms to file with the appropriate licensing authorities
- Your customized Business License Research Package will be emailed to you within two days of your company being filed by the state
Remember that operating your business without the required licenses can expose you to risks and fines from state and local governments.
Washington Tax Registration
You will need to file for various types of tax registration including sales and use tax, re-employment tax and other types of tax. You can find full details on the Washington Department of Revenue website and in the next section.
Operating Agreement for Your Washington LLC
Setting up an LLC is easy, but actively managing one can be more complex. An Operating Agreement defines how your business works and ensures all the founders, owners, members or managers have a common understanding. An Operating Agreement normally covers:
- Legal standing: Declares the legal standing of your LLC being formed in Washington, including dates, formation details and other important legal information.
- LLC ownership: States how ownership of the business is split between members. This influences how the business is run, voting rights and several other areas.
- Ownership percentages: Defines the amount each member has invested and the percentage of ownership of each Washington LLC member.
- LLC management type: States whether your LLC will be managed by managers (people the owners appoint) or its members (owners).
- Management relationships: Declares the relationship between the members and the managers of your Washington LLC, including the roles, rights and responsibilities of each.
- Voting powers and decision authority: States how high-level decisions will be presented, discussed and acted on, including the voting rights of each LLC member.
- LLC rules: Defines the rules, procedures and policies to follow for adding, removing, amending and making other changes to members and managers. This includes moving ownership between members.
- Profit and loss allocation: How profits or losses will be split and allocated among Washington LLC members.
You are not required by Washington state or federal law to have an Operating Agreement for your LLC, but we recommend one for several reasons. An Operating Agreement:
- Strengthens your legal standing as an LLC and adds credibility to your organization
- Clearly states how your business will operate, so there’s no confusion or ambiguity
- Reduces misunderstandings and disagreements between LLC members, which is important for a harmonious business
- Allows you to create your own rules for your LLC, rather than being subject to the default Washington state rules for an LLC
- Reduces the need for every member of an LLC to approve and sign off on every decision
Your Operating Agreement only needs to be created once, but it will need to be updated if significant changes are necessary.
Annual Report for your Washington LLC
You must file an Annual Report with the Washington Secretary of State on an annual basis. If you do not file your annual report each year, you will be charged a late fee and your LLC may be dissolved. Here at Incfile, we can file your Annual Report on your behalf.
As you can see, there are several forms and permits you need to conduct business, both initially and on an annual basis.
Certificate of Good Standing for Your Washington LLC
You may need a “Certificate of Good Standing” for certain business-related services like opening a bank account. You can order one from us and we will also send you courtesy emails when your compliance due date nears.
Ready to Start Your Washington LLC?
Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your Washington LLC. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps, such as filing a Certificate of Formation on your behalf. Our basic package also provides a free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for help starting an LLC, our comprehensive services provide outstanding value.