Ready to start a business in the District of Columbia? We can help you form your dream business in just minutes.
Check the availability of your new company name to get started.
In 2017, 98.2% of businesses in the District of Columbia were small businesses, many of which are limited liability companies (LLCs). If you’re ready to start your small business, you need to register with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs by submitting Articles of Organization to form your LLC. We offer a District of Columbia LLC Formation Service to help you quickly complete the registration process. Form your business with us, and you can be up and running within minutes.
Read on to learn the steps to take to file your Articles of Organization in the District of Columbia.
In Washington, D.C., the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division, manages business registrations. The business organizer can draft their own District of Columbia Articles of Organization or use DCRA’s fillable form (DLC-1). You can download the form on DCRA’s website through the DCRA Document Management System. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps to complete your Articles of Organization.
The first step in completing the Articles of Organization for a new LLC in the District of Columbia is to list your business name and address. The District’s Business Code requires an LLC’s name to include the words “limited liability company” or “limited company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “L.C.,” or “LC.” You can choose to abbreviate “Limited” as “Ltd.” and “company” as “Co.”
In addition, your name must be distinguishable from all business names on the record with DCRA. You can search registered businesses online through your CorpOnline account. Once you’ve found a unique name, you can apply to reserve it for 120 days. We can complete this step for you with our Business Name Reservation Service.
The next step in filing your Articles of Organization is to include your Registered Agent’s name and address. An LLC’s Registered Agent (RA) is an individual or entity with an address located in the District that will receive mail on behalf of the company. The RA will forward to the company any service of process, notice, or demand they receive. Our Registered Agent Service can help you locate a reliable RA for your DC LLC Articles of Organization.
Next, you’ll need to certify that your LLC has at least one member. An LLC cannot legally exist without a member who has responsibility for the company. Therefore, Line 4 of Form DLC-1 states, “The limited liability company has at least one member.” So if you’re drafting your Articles of Organization, be sure you include a similar statement.
Your LLC becomes a legal entity once DCRA processes your filing fee and records your Articles. If you want to delay your LLC’s creation, you can choose an effective date up to 90 days in the future.
A basic LLC will give the owners the flexibility of a partnership with personal liability protection. In addition, there are two other types of LLCs you might want to consider.
If your LLC will provide professional services that require a license to perform, you can start a professional LLC (PLLC). PLLCs are often used by certified public accountants, attorneys, architects, health professionals, and professional engineers. In the “Miscellaneous provisions” section of Form DLC-1, organizers of PLLCs are required to include a description of the company’s specific professional purpose.
The other type of LLC is a series LLC. The series LLC is popular for real estate investors because you can segregate the legal obligations of your properties. If you’re forming a series LLC, be sure to include language indicating a series LLC according to the Business Code.
Finally, the law requires a list of the names, residences, and business addresses of certain members or managers. You will include the name of every person that holds more than a 10% share of the company, controls the LLC’s financial or operational decisions, or can direct the day-to-day operations. You can add additional pages to Form DLC-1 if you need more space to list all the qualifying owners.
Once you have all the information to complete your District of Columbia Articles of Organization, the next step is to file with DCRA. Using your Access DC Account, you can file your Articles of Organization online on DCRA’s online portal, “CorpOnline.” DCRA also accepts formation documents by mail or in person at the Business License Center.
Typically, you can expect a processing time of 15 days. If you need your registration faster, you can receive it within three days if you file in person and pay the expedited fee.
Your business registration in the District of Columbia becomes effective once DCRA processes your filing fee. You can find the current fee schedule on the DCRA website.
Filing Articles of Organization in the District of Columbia officially forms your business with DCRA, the government agency that manages business registration. However, there are a few more steps to complete before legally operating your business.
The LLC’s Operating Agreement defines the rights and duties of the business owners as LLC members or managers. When you draft your Operating Agreement, you can include rules on how you will make decisions for the company, distribute income among the members, and amend the Agreement in the future. It’s a good idea to have a detailed Operating Agreement. If you don’t have an agreement, your LLC will have to follow the default rules in the Code of the District of Columbia.
While you can draft your Operating Agreement however you want, we provide an LLC Operating Agreement Template to help you get started.
The next step is to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The IRS issues EINs for new businesses, and you’ll use your EIN when filing taxes and reporting employee withholdings. Additionally, you’ll use your EIN to open a business bank account and apply for your business license and Home Occupancy Permit.
All multi-member LLCs need an EIN. It’s optional for a single-member LLC without employees (you can use your social security number). However, it’s a good idea to have an EIN to protect your privacy. Our Employer ID Number Service will help you quickly get your EIN.
Washington, DC is a robust, dependable city that adapts and grows in response to adversity. It’s an excellent place for your new business. When you form your District of Columbia LLC with us, you get access to our team of business experts who will guide everything from filing taxes to dissolving your business.
When you use our Worry-Free Compliance Service, we’ll keep your legal documents organized on your business dashboard. We’ll even send you reminders for important deadlines, including when to file your annual report. We are here to help you keep your business legally compliant.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
To make a change after you submit your LLC Articles of Organization in DC, you’ll have to file a Certificate of Amendment for Domestic Limited Liability Company (DLC-2). You can file your amendment with DCRA online, by mail, or in person. Let us handle the process for you with our District of Columbia LLC Amendment Filing Service.
If you need to close your business, you’ll file a Statement of Dissolution for Domestic Limited Liability Company (DLC-8) with DCRA. You can file online, by mail, or in person at the Business License Center.
If you plan to grow the business quickly and sell it for a profit, you might need a business structure that offers more flexibility. Starting a corporation might be a better fit for your company than the LLC. In that case, you’ll need to file Articles of Incorporation for a Domestic For-Profit Corporation (Form DBU-1), available on DCRA’s website.
While it’s not legally required for an LLC to have an operating agreement, it’s a good idea to have one. If you don’t discuss the rules concerning operations with your co-owners, you’ll have to resolve any disputes using the legal defaults, which may not fit your needs.
You don’t have to have an attorney file Articles of Organization for an LLC in the District of Columbia. However, only your attorney can provide individualized advice based on your specific needs and goals.