We’ve compiled the most common fees so you know exactly what to expect when starting your Washington LLC.
You have to file a Certificate of Formation to start your LLC. We can help make this process quick and easy with our Washington LLC Formation Service. Get started now for only $0 plus state fees.
The average cost to start a business in Washington depends on factors like whether you file all your paperwork at once, what kind of registered agent you use, and what licenses and permits you need. You could see the following fees when you start your LLC in Washington:
A Washington Certificate of Formation costs $200 online.
There is no fee if you file your Initial Report at the same time as your Certificate of Formation. Otherwise, it’s due within 120 days and there is a $10 filing fee.
You may choose a business name on your Certificate of Formation. If you file a Reservation of Name separately, the fee is $30.
Free: You can be your own registered agent in Washington, but you have to be available during regular business hours to accept legal notices. To avoid this inconvenience, many businesses pay a small fee to hire a registered agent.
Just make sure the registered agent you choose meets all Washington’s legal requirements. We can help you find the right registered agent for your LLC with our Washington Registered Agent Service.
A few other common necessities may add to the cost to start a business in Washington.
Washington requires you to file an Annual Report every year. The fee is $60, though it’s waived if you file your Annual Report together with your annual licensing fees.
When you’re busy running a business, it can be difficult to remember this kind of infrequent requirement. But if you don’t file Annual Reports, Washington may administratively dissolve your company. Let us help you keep up with your compliance requirements with our Worry-Free Compliance Service.
If you already have an LLC in another state but want to expand your business into Washington, you need to file a Foreign Registration Statement.
The cost to file a Foreign Registration Statement in Washington is $180.
To register the name of your out-of-state business in Washington, file a Foreign Name Registration. For LLCs, the cost of this form is $30.
To secure funding, contract with the State of Washington, or do business with other companies, you might have to present a Certificate of Existence for your LLC. The Certificate of Existence fee is $20.
Some businesses find it useful to use a name other than the one registered with the Washington Secretary of State. This name is often referred to as a “Doing Business As” name or DBA. Washington calls these trade names and allows you to register an unlimited number.
Register your trade names for $5 each when you file your Business License Application with the Business Licensing Services within the Department of Revenue.
After you form your LLC with the Secretary of State, you must apply for a business license.
You may also need other permits at the state or local level. Our partners at Avalara can give you a Business License Report that breaks down what specific licenses, permits, and registrations your business needs.
For just $0 plus state fees, we can form your Washington LLC for you in just minutes. No LegalZoom promo code required: Pay just $0 plus filing fees for fast LLC formation in Washington.
Yes. If you don’t pay fees, interest, or penalties, Washington may dissolve your LLC.
If you can’t pay your filing fees, Washington won’t file your documents, and you may lose the protection an LLC affords.
Filing fees go to the Washington Secretary of State, Corporations Division.
The $200 fee for filing a Certificate of Formation is the largest single fee you’ll pay in starting your LLC.
The Washington Secretary of State accepts cash, checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Payments made by credit card may be subject to a processing fee.
Now you know the answer to the question, What does it cost to start a business in Washington? Here are the steps you need to take to make it happen.
Naming your business can be fun, but the name must comply with Washington law. A Washington LLC’s name must:
The name also can’t contain any words or phrases that violate any state statutes.
You also want the name of your business to match your website’s domain name. If your website is too different from your LLC’s name, customers might confuse it with another company or have trouble finding your website.
So before you register your business name, run it through our Business Name Checker to see if the domain name is available.
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All Washington LLCs must have a registered agent, and the person or entity you choose has to consent in writing.
The registered agent is the point of contact for your business. This person or entity has to be available during business hours to receive notices, demands, and service of process.
You can serve as your own registered agent or have another noncommercial agent do it for you, but the registered agent must provide a physical street address in the State of Washington.
If you choose a commercial registered agent that is already registered with the Secretary of State, you don’t need to provide an address.
If you’re just starting up, it can be difficult to have someone in the office all the time. Getting served with a lawsuit in front of clients also could be embarrassing. For these reasons, it’s often best to hire a registered agent.
You need to file your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State to get authorization to legally operate your Washington LLC. You can file online (with your $200 filing fee) or by mailing it (with your $180 filing fee) to:
Washington Secretary of State
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234
The address for hand-delivered or overnight deliveries is:
Washington Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501-1226
Again, expedited paper filings cost an extra $50.
Washington does not require LLCs to have operating agreements, but it’s a good idea to draft one. Most importantly, an operating agreement makes clear that your LLC is a separate entity. This helps provide you with the limited liability you want.
Operating agreements also help avoid misunderstandings about duties and finances.
If you’re looking for ideas for a framework for your operating agreement, our Operating Agreement Template is a good place to start.
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) registers your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Also referred to as a Federal Tax ID Number, an EIN is necessary to file your taxes if you don’t want to use your social security number. Banks and insurance companies also require an EIN when you open a business bank account or apply for insurance coverage.
If contacting the IRS sounds intimidating, we can take care of the paperwork for you with our Employer ID Number Service.
Remember when we said Washington requires you to file an Annual Report and renew your business license every year? If you submit them together, the renewal licensing fee is only $10.
You also need to file a state excise tax return. The Department of Revenue will let you know if you have to file your excise tax return monthly, quarterly, or annually. Depending on how your business is classified, you will need to pay things like:
If this sounds overwhelming, here is easy-to-digest information about Washington business taxes.
Remember that you need to let the Washington Secretary of State know if you make changes to your limited liability company. This includes things like changing your business address or switching to a new registered agent. The Secretary of State’s website provides forms covering all these changes.
We know starting an LLC and running a business sound daunting, but they don’t have to be. We’re here to support you every step of the way. Our services and resources will help you avoid expensive mistakes and penalties so you can focus on what really matters – growing your business.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information 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.
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