Washington Annual Report – Washington License Renewal

Washington License Renewal Instructions

The Washington state annual report system is, in a word, odd. If you’ve tried to do some research on submitting an annual report for your business in Washington state, you may have found yourself with more questions than answers. Here’s the good news: We’re here to help you cut through the fog that surrounds the WA annual renewal process. Because we are located in Washington state, we do annual renewals all the time.

How to File a Washington Annual License Report

Filing Online

1. Find your Annual Renewal Notice. This notice will be mailed to your Washington Registered Agent. If we are your registered agent, you’ll find this notice in your online account and you’ll have been alerted when we received it.

2. Go to Business Licensing Services.

3. Enter your UBI Number and password (found on your renewal notice). If you don’t know your password, you can recover it by entering your email address and UBI Number.

4. Fill out the online form and sign electronically. The form will require the following information:

  • Your exact company name
  • The state or country where you incorporated (if applicable)
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • Your company’s current principal address
  • The principal address in your home state (if applicable)
  • The nature of your business
  • Your company’s phone number and email
  • The names and addresses of your governing people (members/managers for LLCs, officers/directors for corporations)

5. Confirm the information you entered, and enter either electronic check (routing number, etc.) or credit card payment information. The filing fee is $71.

Filing by Mail (not recommended)

If for some reason you’re adverse to easy, online filings and like doing things the hard way, you can file the WA annual renewal by paper, but it’s way more annoying.

1. Call the Business Licensing Service at 1-800-451-7985. Either use the automated system to order a paper form, or ask a representative to send it. You will usually receive the form within 10 business days.

2. Fill out, sign and mail the form.

Washington Annual Renewal Due Date

The Secretary of State calls your annual report due date the expiration date. You can find this date by searching for your company in the SOS Registration Data Search. The SOS will also send a reminder, called an annual renewal notice, to your Washington registered agent. If you’d like to plan ahead—or have an unreliable agent—you can keep track of it yourself: It’s due the last day of the month in which you formed your company—your anniversary month. So if you incorporated on June 12, 2015, your license renewal will be due June 30, 2016.

Thankfully, the Washington initial report and Washington annual renewal filing processes are easier to accomplish than to understand. The following gives detailed steps.

Washington Business License Application vs. Initial Report vs. Annual Renewal

Washington has three different state agencies that require reports/license applications, which is why many filers get confused about the annual renewal process.

The Washington Department of Revenue handles Master Business Licenses.

The Washington Secretary of State handles Initial Business Reports.

Washington Business Licensing Services handles Annual Renewals (sometimes called annual reports or annual license renewals, even though you are actually not renewing a license)

Master Business License
If your company will actually do business in Washington state, you will need to apply for a Master Business License through the Department of Revenue. If your company is newly incorporated or registered in WA state, the simplest way is to apply for your business license as soon as you receive your UBI number from the Secretary of State.

Washington Initial Report
The Secretary of State oversees the initial report, not the Business Licensing Service. You submit the initial report your first year only, and then an annual renewal every year after that. Your initial report is due within the first 120 days from the date your company was formed with the Secretary of State.

If you formed your company online, you can file your initial report online as well. Just head to the initial report page on the WA SOS website, and enter your online Application ID and your UBI number. If you formed your company by mail, you’ll receive the initial report form in the mail. Fill out, sign and mail to the address provided.

Washington Annual Renewal
This is the report you’re trying to file. It’s filed with Business Licensing Services, and Washington LLCs and Washington corporations are required to file this report each year.

Washington Annual Renewal FAQ

How much does it cost?

It’s $71 to file your Washington annual report/renewal.

Who needs to file?

Domestic and foreign Washington corporations and LLCs are required to file an initial report. (Note: Foreign WA LLCs and corporations registered after January 1, 2016 are not required to file initial reports.) Domestic and Foreign LLCs and corporations must file annual renewals every year after the year the company was formed.

What happens if I file earlier or later than my anniversary month?

Your Washington registered agent will receive the renewal notice 45 days before your due date. Consider those 45 days your window in which to file—not earlier. If you file late, there’s an added penalty fee of $25 (total fee, $96). If you wait too long, Washington state could dissolve your company.

I want to file online, but my registered agent lost my renewal notice.

If your email is associated with your SOS account, you can click “forgot password” and have your password emailed to you. All you’ll need is your UBI number. You can find your UBI number in the confirmation email you received from the WA Secretary of State when you filed your formation document, or at the top right corner of your formation document itself. If you hire Washington Registered Agent LLC, you’ll have a local ally you can trust.

How long does it take to process?

You’ll receive your Washington annual renewal license within 7 business days.

Can I change my Washington registered agent on my annual renewal?

Yes, as long as you’re changing agents in the 45-day anniversary window. If not, you have to submit a Statement of Change form, but it’s free to do so. If you’re not happy with your current agent, or you’re tired of acting as your own agent, your annual renewal period is a great time to think about switching to us. And if you do, you’ll never have to file a Washington annual renewal again—we’ll take care of that for you. There’s no fee beyond Washington’s $71 fee.