Washington LLC

How to Start an LLC in Washington

How to Form a Washington LLC as a Tax-Free Holding Company

Starting a Washington LLC is a fast and simple process. To form an LLC in Washington, you have two choices: hire a business formation service like us, or do it yourself.

If you hire us to form your LLC, you’ll be done in minutes, as soon as you complete our signup form. If you form the Washington LLC yourself, you’ll need to follow the steps below:

4 Steps to Forming a Washington LLC:

  1. Complete the LLC Certificate of Formation
  2. Meet all Washington Address Requirements
  3. Obtain a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) Number
  4. Acquire a Washington Master Business License

Before forming your new Washington LLC, please also review:

1. Complete the LLC Certificate of Formation:

A Washington Certificate of Formation is the document you file with the secretary of state to form your Washington LLC. The act of you approving the statements on Certificate of Formation is technically called adopting a Washington LLC Certificate of Formation. The Washington Secretary of State provides a PDF formatted Certificate of Formation you can use, or you can file online on the secretary of state’s website. It’s easier to use the WA Online Wizard to form your LLC right on the Washington LLC Agency database, or you can do this the old-fashioned way by downloading their PDF from their website, typing into it on your computer, printing it out, and mailing it to them. You’ll find links to both below. No matter which way you choose to file, you’ll need to include the following:

  • Name of Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    Washington requires all LLCs to have a unique name. If you adopt the Certificate of Formation online, you’ll automatically be able to search for an available business name. If you use the paper filing, you’ll need to do a business name search first to find a name available to your Washington LLC.
  • Address of Principal Place of Business
    This address is not the same as a mailing address; it’s the address where the business will be operating. For added privacy, if you hire Washington Registered Agent, LLC, we allow you to use our address in this space to keep your address off public documents to help avoid junk mail and solicitors.
  • Effective Date of Formation
    You can choose the date when you want your LLC to be formed, if later than the date on which the filing is processed by the Washington Secretary of State.
  • Tenure
    If your LLC will only be active for a set amount of time, you can indicate the day it will become inactive. Most LLCs, however, exist perpetually.
  • LLC Management Structure
    Choose whether the LLC will be managed by the members (the owners) or by a manager.
  • Washington Registered Agent
    A Washington LLC’s registered agent must be an individual or company located in Washington and can reliably accept official mail and service of process should the LLC be sued.
  • Executor Information
    Name, address, and signature of the executor (person authorized to complete the filing on the LLC’s behalf).

2. Meet All Washington Address Requirements:

Business Address Services for a Washington LLC

As you work through the process of completing the LLC Certificate of Formation, you’ll notice something called a “Washington Registered Agent,” which is what we do for a living. You can be your own agent and list your home address on your LLC’s public paperwork, but many people don’t want their home address OR their names on these kinds of permanent records.

Our Washington LLC clients list us as the registered agent, registered office address, and for the principal, mailing, and member and manager addresses to keep their home address off of permanent public records. If you want to be your own registered agent, you simply sign and elect to be your own when you file online or by paper. If you hire a registered agent service like us, we provide the signed consent forms and instructions in your online account.

3. Obtain a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) Number:

Once you’ve completed and submitted the filing, you’ll need to wait until you’ve received the LLC Certificate of Formation back from the Washington Secretary of State. The certificate will contain a United Business Identifier (UBI) number, which is the number you will use to register with the Department of Revenue in order to receive a Master Business License. The Washington UBI number will also be used to file annual reports and file other forms with the state.

4. Acquire the Master Business License:

Use the UBI number you received from the Secretary of State to obtain the Washington Master Business License. Register for the business license with the Department of Revenue online or via a paper application. When the application has been received and filed by the Department of Revenue, they will mail you your Washington LLC Master Business License 7 to 10 days later.

These guys have been my registered agents for over 7 years and they are awesome. Super responsive, helpful and engaged. I’ve never had an issue. They are easy to communicate with. Their client portal is super intuitive to use and all documents are uploaded promptly and you are alerted to ensure you are updated in real time. Thank you guys for being so great!

Christopher L, Google Review

Washington LLC Requirements:

  • The LLC must be registered with the Washington Secretary of State Corporations Division. The name must include”Limited Liability Company,” or “Limited Liability Co.,” or the abbreviation “LLC” or “L.L.C.” You can do a name search to find a legally distinct name for your LLC.
  • Washington LLCs are NOT required to be registered with the Department of Revenue or have a Washington Master Business License to maintain their good standing with the Secretary of State. Most Washington LLCs are Washington State holding companies and do not have business licenses, but if you’re going to operate a business here in WA, you’ll need to get registered with both departments.
  • You must have a Washington Registered Agent. You can sign up for our registered agent service for $65 a year.
  • You must maintain a Washington Registered Office address.
  • LLCs have to file initial reports within 120 days. The Washington initial report costs $10. We include filing as part of our Washington LLC formation package. You will have to disclose at least one member or manager on this report; however, you can list another Washington LLC as the member or manager to keep your personal name off of the Corporations Division database.
  • You will have an LLC annual report due each year on the anniversary of your initial filing of the Washington LLC. The Washington LLC annual report costs $71 to file.

Benefits of a Washington LLC:

Washington LLCs are nice because you don’t have the formalities of annual minutes, directors, and officers that a Washington corporation does. You also can use two Washington LLCs managing each other to keep your personal name off of business name search results. Corporations cannot use other entities as the officers or directors.

If you are a sole proprietor, it only makes sense to have an LLC. You are already paying the same B & O tax as you would with an LLC, but without any personal liability protection. If you would like help converting your current DBA to an LLC, we can help you accomplish this while keeping all your information the same with Labor and Industries.

Benefits of starting an LLC

Washington LLC Protections

Washington LLCs are governed by chapter 25.15 RCW.

  • RCW 25.15.040 eliminates the personal liability of the members and/or managers of the LLC, except regarding intentional misconduct or knowing violation of a law. The state statute also:
    • Indemnifies the members and/or managers from judgments, settlements, penalties and fines of the LLC, providing they acted within the law.
    • Indemnifies the members or managers from the LLC itself.
  • RCW 25.15.235 specifically prohibits members from taking abnormal distributions when they know the LLC cannot meet the LLC’s financial responsibilities because of the distribution. This is called a fraudulent transfer of assets.
  • RCW 25.15.060 specifically says that failure to hold corporate formalities such as meetings is not sufficient means to pierce the corporate veil. It does say that the corporate veil can be pierced, but veils get pierced by swapping money around where you shouldn’t, intermingling accounts, and conducting illegal activities and fraudulent transfers. This section protects the common business owner and should ease the fears of the formalities of having an LLC.
  • We have no personal income tax in WA. So by default an LLC is taxed at a personal level with the IRS. If your WA LLC makes money, that income comes down to you, and you pay the IRS for the net profits of your WA LLC. There’s no double taxation, and a WA LLC is extremely simple from a tax standpoint.

Washington State Taxes for an LLC:

  • Washington LLCs have the first roughly $40,000 of income tax free. It then gradually fades into the full gross income tax.
  • Washington has a gross income tax. Most people fall under the “service and other activity” classification of 1.5% (.015) of your gross income. Manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing get a lower rate of .5% ( .005).
  • There is no personal income tax in Washington State.
  • Unless you are providing a professional service, you must collect Washington sales tax on all your sales and repay it to the WA Department of Revenue.
  • Check out full details on Washington Business Taxes to make sure you’re aware of your LLC’s requirements.

Where to File a Washington State LLC Yourself:

File by paper or online (after creating an account with the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System.)

What to Expect if You Hire Us to Form Your LLC:

When you decide to partner with Washington Registered Agent to form your LLC, you are gaining decades of localized experience and expertise in Washington business filings. Successfully starting and maintaining a new LLC is challenging. But when you hire us, you save yourself time and money by letting professionals who successfully file new Washington businesses every day guide you through launching your new Washington business.

Included with our LLC FormationFee
Washington Registered Agent Service$65
Washington Certificate of Formation$200 state filing fee
Preparing and submitting state filing$100
Secure, online document storage*no additional cost*
Internal document templates*no additional cost*
Business Address for Privacy*no additional cost*
Initial report preparation and submission*no additional cost*
Business DomainFREE for 1 full year
Online Business Presence
(website + email + phone number)
FREE for 90 days

Our process has been developed for years to make it as streamlined and simple as possible. When you hire us to form your Washington LLC, we’ll collect all the info we need right from the start so we can get to work and submit the filing within the same business day. Not only do we save you the time of researching and filing the forms, we also save you the time and fees associated with creating an operating agreement and membership certificates, and filing your mandatory initial report.

Here’s what happens:

  1. You submit your order for an LLC formation and Washington Registered Agent service.
  2. You complete your order form with your LLC details
  3. We accurately format and submit your LLC formation application
  4. You select and activate your business’s domain, phone number, and email addresses.
  5. You customize your business website to perfect your brand’s image and message.
  6. We receive your approval documents and Washington Certificate of Formation
  7. We create your LLC’s internal documents including an operating agreement, initial resolutions, membership certificate templates
  8. We instantly upload your state & internal documents, including an operating agreement, to your secure account through our website
  9. We notify you right away of all your new documents available in your account.
  10. Your documents are in your account for good, meaning they will never expire or archive. You can view, download, or print them anytime and anyplace you have wifi.
  11. We’ll then file your required initial report with the Washington Secretary of State on your behalf. No additional action needed from you. We collect the info need at the time of your initial order and completely cover the cost for you.
  12. We upload your processed Initial Report document as soon as it’s approved by the state.
  13. From there, we will continue to receive and process documents for your company and handle any additional filings you hire us to do, including but not limited to: EIN application, a DBA name, or your Annual Report.

Choosing Washington Registered Agent to start your Washington business combines local expertise, more value for your money and more options for your business, all in one Washington location. On top of our registered agent and filing services, we’re proud to also include the following with our LLC formation:

  • Your own business website domain and professional, corresponding email addresses
  • Your own open-source website, one that you control on an platform that doesn’t sell your data
  • Your choice of WA area code to use as your professional business line, easily accessible through your own device through our iOS or Android app

We are the most established, and most professional local registered agent service in Washington State. Our fees are significantly lower than giant national corporations, or localized business attorneys, while our services are more tailored to the needs of (budget-savvy) businesses in Washington State.

Next Steps for Your Washington LLC

Once your Washington LLC is formed, you’ll likely have additional responsibilities to ensure your company is fully legal and ready to do business. Here are some of the most common next steps:

  • Apply for an EIN. After your business is formed with a confirmed business name and state date, go ahead and obtain an EIN. You’ll need an EIN from the IRS to handle financial aspects like filing taxes and opening a business bank account. You can apply for your EIN directly from the IRS, or hire us to file for your EIN for you.
  • File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report. As of January 1, 2024 LLCs must file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report. LLCs started prior to 2024 may file their BOI report anytime in 2024. LLCs formed in 2024 have 90 days to file, and LLCs created in or after 2025 have 30 days. Regardless of filing date, all BOI reports must be filed online through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The BOI reports are mandated through the Corporate Transparency Act in an effort to fight money laundering and other financial crimes by requiring company and ownership details about companies doing business in the US. The reports are not public information and are free to file. Here are the details businesses should expect to report:

Beneficial Owner
Company Applicant
DefinitionThe company itself; an entity registered to do business in the USAny person who directly or indirectly exercises substantial control over the business, owns 25% or more of the company, and/or receives substantial economic benefitThe person who formed the company (and if different, the person who directed it be formed).
Required InformationCompany name/DBAs
US street address
Tax ID number
Formation jurisdiction
Full legal name
Date of birth
Residential address
Copy of accepted ID
Full legal name
Date of birth
Residential address
Copy of accepted ID

Our professionals are on hand to help reduce filing stress and keep you compliant with our BOI report filing service, only $9.