All About Washington Registered Agents for LLCs

Your LLC must assign a Washington Registered Agent. This is a formally recognized person or business who can receive business correspondence and other documents from the Washington Secretary of State. Assigning a Registered Agent is a legal requirement.

Your LLC must have a Registered Agent at all times. You can appoint a Registered Agent when you first start your business. You can also replace your existing Registered Agent at a later date, provided there is a smooth transition between the old and new Registered Agent service.

What the Washington Secretary of State Says About Registered Agents

Here’s some important information from the Washington Secretary of State on Registered Agent services.

“All Corporations, LLCs, and Limited Partnerships doing business in Washington must have a Registered Agent with a physical Washington State address. The Registered Agent may be an individual or a business. The Registered Agent receives annual reports, notices, and service of process on behalf of the organization they represent. The Registered Agent must provide a physical address at which the agent is available for service of process. The agent may provide a P.O. Box address in addition to a physical address for receiving notice.”

WA Registered Agents: The Rules You Need to Follow

There are certain rules that you must follow when you’re appointing a Washington Registered Agent service for your business. They are:

  • If the Registered Agent is a person, they must reside in Washington.
  • If the Registered Agent is a business, they must be able to conduct business in Washington.
  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Washington, not a P.O. Box.
  • The Registered Agent must be available in person during normal business hours to sign for any correspondence.

Note that the Registered Agent address does not need to be the same as your Washington LLC business address.

The Incfile Registered Agent Service for Washington LLCs

If you have an LLC that’s incorporated in Washington and you need a Registered Agent, we can help. Incfile provides a complete Registered Agent service for any Washington business—and we’ll even act as your Registered Agent free for your first year (normally a $119 annual cost).

We are authorized to conduct business in Washington and can legally act as your Registered Agent. Here’s what you need to know about Incfile’s WA Registered Agent service:

  • The Registered Agent will always be available to accept documents and letters on your behalf.
  • We automatically notify you whenever we receive correspondence for your business from the Washington Secretary of State or anyone else.
  • We scan your correspondence and upload it to a dashboard, so you can review it when convenient.
  • We forward all correspondence to an address you choose.

How to Appoint a Washington Registered Agent for Your LLC

You can appoint a Registered Agent when you first incorporate your Washington LLC or at any point after that. Here’s how to go about it.

Appoint a Registered Agent Service When You Create Your Washington LLC

Your business needs to have a Registered Agent Service as soon as it’s formed. You can achieve this through one of the following methods.

File Certificate of Formation with the Washington Secretary of State

You will need to include details of your Registered Agent in your Articles of Organization. This is the form that you file with the Secretary of State to formally create your business.

Incorporate Through Incfile and Get a Free Washington Registered Agent

When you incorporate through us, we complete and file your Certificate of Formation based on the information you’ve provided. Additionally, we give you a free Registered Agent service for the first year, and we’ll include details of your Registered Agent in the form that we file.

Assign a Different Washington Registered Agent Service After Incorporation

You can also change your Registered Agent service after you’ve formed your LLC. There are a couple of ways to achieve this.

Choose a Registered Agent Service and File Form “Statement of Change/Designation of Agent” with the Washington Secretary of State

Once you’ve chosen a new Washington Registered Agent, you can complete form “Statement of Change/Designation of Agent” that’s available on the WA Secretary of State website. Once you’ve filled it out, send it to the Secretary of State so they can update your records.

Sign up for Incfile’s Washington Registered Agent Service and We’ll File the Change on Your Behalf

When you choose to use our WA Registered Agent service, we take care of all the form filling and filing for you. We’ll collect important information about your business, complete form “Statement of Change/Designation of Agent” on your behalf and send it to the Washington Secretary of State. We’ll let you know once we officially become your Registered Agent.

WA Registered Agent Search

In some situations, you might want to know the name of the Registered Agent that represents another Washington LLC. If you do, you can search the business database of the Secretary of State, which will often provide details of a specific business’s Registered Agent

If the Registered Agent isn’t available from the searchable business registry, contact the Washington Secretary of State requesting the information.

What Happens if You Don’t Have a Washington Registered Agent

What happens if you choose not to assign or provide details of a Registered Agent to the Washington Secretary of State? There are several possible ramifications, including:

  • Getting served or sued and not finding out about it: If your LLC is sued and you don’t know about it, you could lose to a default judgment in your absence.
  • Falling out of good standing with the Washington Secretary of State: If you don’t respond to certain correspondence (like the request for your annual report), certain areas may revoke your right to do business.
  • Losing your status as a Washington LLC: A Registered Agent “proves” to local government that your business exists. without it, you could lose your business entity protections and your LLC may be dissolved.

Acting as Your Own Registered Agent for Your LLC

If you have an address in Washington, you can choose to be the Registered Agent for your LLC. We don’t recommend this approach as there can be some drawbacks:

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Washington. If you’re forming an LLC outside WA, you will need to use an in-state Registered Agent.
  • You always need to have someone on hand during business hours at the Washington address to sign for important documents.
  • 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 prefer your name and address aren’t published, you should choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your Washington business address or move out of the area, you would need to file additional documentation with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for the new address if you act as your own Registered Agent. This would not be the case if you use a Registered Agent service, making a move or address change much simpler.

FAQs About Washington Registered Agents

Do I Need to Appoint a Washington Registered Agent?

Yes. All LLCs are required to have a Registered Agent. This is mandated by the Washington Secretary of State.

When Can I Assign a Washington Registered Agent Service?

You can either do it when you incorporate your Washington business through paperwork filed with the Secretary of State or afterward by filing the correct form. If you form your business through Incfile, we will file all necessary forms on your behalf.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent in Washington?

Yes, but we don’t recommend it for the reasons listed above. If you still want to be your own Registered Agent, you need to fill in the correct forms and pay a fee to the Washington Secretary of State.

Does My WA Registered Agent Need to Have an Address in Washington?

Yes. Additionally, if they are a business providing Registered Agent services, they must be legally able to conduct business in your state.

Useful Resources for Washington Registered Agent Services

You might find these resources helpful:

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