How to Start an LLC in Washington | 2023 Guide

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Start a LLC in Washington

How to Start an LLC in Washington: If you’re looking to launch a business in Washington, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be the right choice for you. An LLC provides personal liability protection for its owners while giving them flexibility in managing and taxing the business. This guide provides a step-by-step process for starting an LLC in Washington. From choosing a unique name to registering with the state and obtaining necessary licenses and permits, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through setting up your new business entity. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

What is a Limited Liability Company?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business entity that combines a corporation’s limited liability protection with a partnership’s tax benefits. LLCs are popular among small business owners for their flexibility and ease of formation. In Washington, an LLC must have a unique name and file Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. Depending on their business needs, LLCs may also elect to be taxed as a corporation or an S-corp. Owners of an LLC, called members, are not personally liable for the company’s debts and losses, and the company’s profits and losses are passed through to the member’s personal tax returns. This makes an LLC an attractive option for those seeking personal liability protection and simplified taxation.

To accomplish the steps in starting an LLC, you can hire an LLC Formation Services that will help you build your desired business. We reviewed some of the best LLC formation services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

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Steps on How to Start an LLC in Washington

To form an LLC for your business, you must follow the guidelines that include naming your LLC, hiring a Registered Agent, filing your Certificate of Formation, creating your LLC operating agreement, getting an employer identification number, opening a bank account and getting business licenses and permits.

Step 1: Name your LLC in Washington

After you have decided on the idea to form an LLC in Washington, deciding the name for your LLC is significant. There is a complete guide on LLC name guidelines for you to have a proper LLC business name. Here are some regulations you must follow while naming your LLC,

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Washington, if you do not wish to file your LLC right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 180 days. You must file a name reservation application in Washington Secretary of State to keep the name. 

Recommended: We recommend a professional service that can offer you unlimited name search, trademark and copyright registration at a reasonable price. We recommend using –

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You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available. Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for filing Washington DBA (doing business as). In this manner, you can choose any name you desire for your business. A DBA allows a company to operate under the name of the person or entity who owns it. If you have decided to file for a DBA, you can file it in three methods, online, by mail, and in person filing. However, before filing a DBA, you should know that you need to renew your DBA from up to Indefinite, which costs around $24.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent in Washington

Hiring a Registered Agent in Washington is a must since a Registered Agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your Washington LLC. Most states require you to designate a Registered Agent when forming your LLC. 

The qualifications of a Registered Agent vary depending on the jurisdiction. Still, generally, a Registered Agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Availability: A Registered Agent must be available during regular business hours to receive and process legal documents and official correspondence.
  • Physical Address: A Registered Agent must have a physical street address within the state where the LLC is registered. This address, known as the registered office, cannot be a P.O. Box.
  • Residency or Authorization: For individuals serving as Registered Agent, they must be residents of the Washington where the LLC was formed. A business entity acting as a Registered Agent must be authorized to do business within that state.
  • Age: A Registered Agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • Good standing: A Registered Agent should not have any legal or financial issues that impede their ability to fulfill their duties.

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. Some businesses use professional Registered Agent services to ensure compliance and proper handling of legal matters.

However, if you would like to have an easier process in filing the necessary documents, you can get Washington Registered Agent Services.

Step 3: File your Certificate of Formation in Washington

The Certificate of Formation for an LLC is an important document to start your limited liability company (LLC). Washington Certificate of Formation is a simple document that contains the business name and address as well as the name and address of the person who received lawsuits on behalf of the organization. 

Here are the guidelines and specific requirements in filing your Certificate of Formation in Washington.

1. Obtain the Necessary Forms: Visit the Washington’s business filing office website, usually the Washington Secretary of State’s office, to download the required forms or file online. 

2. Provide the Required Information: Fill in the necessary details in the form, which typically include:

  • The name of your LLC (must include an LLC designator such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Company”)
  • The purpose of your LLC (a general statement or specific business activities)
  • The address of your LLC’s principal place of business
  • The name and address of your registered agent (the person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your LLC)
  • The management structure of your LLC (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • The duration of your LLC, if not perpetual
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s organizers or members

3. Sign and File the Form: Submit the completed form in the {state} state office, either by mail, in person, or online. You may mail it at Secretary of State, Corporations Division. P.O. Box 40234.

4. Pay the Filing Fee: When you submit your Certificate of Formation, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $200. Make sure to check and include the correct payment with your submission.

5. Receive Confirmation: After your Certificate of Formation have been filed and processed, you’ll receive a confirmation from Washington, typically a stamped and approved copy of the document or a Certificate of Formation.

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Once you have successfully filed your Certificate of Formation and it has been approved, your Washington LLC is officially formed. However, remember to complete additional steps, such as creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and registering for any required licenses and permits.

Step 4: Create Your Washington Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that contains all of your company’s organizational details. Drafting an operating agreement in most states is not required. Yet, having one as an internal document is strongly advised. An operating agreement includes information like-

  • About Business
  • Members and management
  • Capital contribution
  • Profit Distribution
  • Change of membership
  • Dissolution

To understand how an operating agreement works, you should check out how to create an operating agreement in Washington.

Recommended: Get oprating agreement drafts ready on your table with a help of a professional service. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 5: Get an EIN

After documenting the operating agreement, you should get or request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Washington. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. 

The application of an EIN in Washington can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

In obtaining an EIN for your LLC, you should be aware to ensure that your LLC is eligible for an EIN. You need an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet other specific IRS criteria. Before applying, gather the required information, including your LLC’s name, mailing address, and the responsible party’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Also, you can apply for an EIN through various methods, including online, by fax, mail, or telephone (for international applicants).

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom – ($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Open a Bank Account and Prepare for Taxes

After you have filed for and received your Employer Identification Number, you should open a bank account because you will use this account for yourself, your clients, and your employees.

Your business dealings in Washington might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Most banks demand an EIN to create a business bank account for firms other than sole proprietorships. Also, having an EIN makes tax preparation easier. You can anticipate paying employment and corporate taxes with Washington LLC.

Opening a bank account is necessary for Washington business. If you are still wondering where to open an account in your Washington, you should check the Best Bank for Small Business in Washington.

Step 7: Get a Business and License Permit

You must get a business license in Washington before establishing your LLC. A business license is a legal document granted by a state government body that permits you to conduct business within the area under its jurisdiction. The price of business licenses and permits in Washington ranges from $50 – $300. If there is a requirement for a specific license or city-based permit, you must inquire with the Washington Secretary of State.

Cost to Form an LLC in Washington

Even if you have a business name and structure in mind, you should consider whether you can afford the costs of forming an LLC in Washington. Certificate of Formation costs around $200. The initial filing fee is $200 (online and $180 by mail), and the annual fee is $60. 

If you forget to pay the annual fee for your Washington LLC, you will have a penalty of $25. However, you can check the Washington LLC Cost for additional information.

Advantages of Creating Washington LLC

Even though some people decide on what to do with their businesses, some choose to put it in their own individual name, while others still choose to set it up via LLC in Washington. Important benefits will help you set up an LLC in Washington. 

  • Pass-Through Taxation: The pass-through structure will make the company not pay twice the tax. Most start-ups and entrepreneurs in Washington apply for an LLC because of this structure. Pass-through taxation refers to how income and losses from an LLC (Limited Liability Company) are passed through to its members (owners) for tax purposes rather than being taxed at the business entity level. This means the LLC does not pay federal income taxes; the members’ profits and losses are allocated based on their interests. Each member then reports their share of the LLC’s income or losses on their personal tax returns and pays taxes at their individual tax rates.
  • Ownership Flexibility: If you need sole and primary control over your company’s operations, a sole proprietorship will allow you to do so. If you apply for an LLC in Washington with flexibility, you will have default rules set by law and need an operating agreement.
  • Personal Liability Protection: Personal Liability Protection protects your business from damage, debts, or legal obligations. In personal liability protection, the company’s profits and earnings will stay as is even if your company is about to be sued. This protection of having an LLC in Washington can also be extended to the company’s properties and assets. Many start-up companies will benefit from this since most are starting to build a company. Even if liability exists, the LLC in Washington will protect its assets. 


What is an LLC, and why should I start a business in Washington as an LLC?
An LLC is a limited liability company that combines the flexibility and tax advantages of a partnership while shielding the business owners from liabilities for company debts. LLCs in Washington provide business owners with pass-through taxation benefits, legal protection for their personal assets, and minimal reporting requirements.
How do I form an LLC in Washington state?
You must register a new WA LLC with the Washington Secretary of State by filing Articles of Organization, paying a filing fee, and registering an LLC name that is distinguishable and not already in use by another business entity in Washington.
What does it cost to start an LLC in Washington?
The state filing fee to start a new Washington LLC is $180, plus a $30 expedited service fee if you choose to expedite the processing time. You will also have additional expenses to register a business domain and purchase business licenses and permits.
Is a Washington LLC operating agreement required by law?
While Washington state doesn’t require an LLC operating agreement, it’s wise to have one in place to address critical operational and management details and provide a clear understanding of ownership among members.
Can a Washington resident form an LLC without a registered agent?
No, every Washington State LLC must have a registered agent that can receive legal and administrative correspondence on behalf of your business.
Can a Washington LLC be formed for a single owner or member?
Yes, you can form an LLC in Washington state with only one registered member or owner.
Can I start an LLC in Washington as a partnership?
Yes, a Washington LLC provides pass-through tax benefits and legal anti-creditor protections to business partners and owners and is frequently used by business partnerships.
Do I need to prepare or submit a Washington State Business Plan?
No, Washington State does not require LLC applicants or startups to prepare or submit a Business Plan for a new LLC registration. However, it’s wise to have a robust business plan to monitor and track progress after LLC formation.
Does starting an LLC in Washington require a business license or permit?
Yes, your Washington LLC may need one or more licenses, permits, or certifications to comply with city, county, state, and federal laws, including a general business license.
How long does it take to start an LLC in Washington?
Processing times can vary due to data inconsistencies or backlogs, but it usually takes nine (9) to fifteen (15) business days for the Washington Secretary of State to process LLC document filings.
Can I name the registered agent as the member of the Washington LLC?
Yes, you can list your partner or yourself as the registered agent as long as you meet state requirements for basic knowledge and availability.
Can I change the registered agent for a Washington LLC after it is formed?
Yes, you can change the registered agent on record if they are no longer affiliated with your business or if you change agents.
Is there an exemption from the Washington State LLC registration fee for veterans?
No, Washington State does not have a specific fee waiver or discount for veterans.
Do I need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for my Washington LLC?
Yes, obtaining an EIN from the IRS is necessary for opening up bank accounts, obtaining business licenses, and filing state and federal tax returns.
Where can I complete my Washington LLC filing?
You can process your Washington State LLC filing through the Washington Secretary of State’s website or a registered electronic filing service provider.
How often do I have to file LLC Annual Reports with the Washington State?
All Washington State LLCs must complete annual report filings every year to maintain their good standing and business status, due by the end of their anniversary month.
Is a Limited Liability Corporation and a Limited Liability Company similar for starting up?
Yes. The lengthier LLC term stands for a Limited Liability Company that has greater flexibility in its management, whereas L.L.P denotes Limited Liability Partnership, intended for a professional practice such as physicians that operate from a partnership standpoint.
Does Washington state offer expedited services for pursuing LLC formation?
Yes. The Washington State can expedite LLC filing through their One Day or two-hour Expedited Services by paying a higher fee, quicker return times can be accomplished.
Does a Washington State LLC filing protect my intellectual property?
Forming a Washington state LLC provides some local protections by giving exclusive use of company names, early admittance to business names for future expansions, and regulating the exclusive constructions of company logos; hiring intellectual property attorneys for United States Civil Liberties defenses is highly critical.
Does a Washington State LLC Allows Different Types of Voting Rights for Members?
Overall, LLCs can use various voting types, such as withholding, reduced voting rights, decision through proportion, decision within interest units, or cumulative voting, to allow organizational management either equal or proportional distribution based on capital contributions.
Can a swimming pool installation business file as a Washington State LLC?
Yes, in reality, executive LLCs lack prejudice as to what products or services are sold. It is based merely on ownership protection from legal processes separately created to the LLC personnel sustaining custom liability.
Can a transient rental service receive LLC registration in Washington state?
Yes, a transient rental service is among firms required to register, demand payment, and meet registered regulation to offer transistory apartment tenancies locally which offer perfect retaining corporation ownership security connected with the property transfer associated with property rental associated rights relevant other related entities.
Can a Washington State LLC serve non-domestic clients?
Yes, following the conditions of employment make signatures tax boundaries stay in present conjunction, while contributions invested makes claims on added beneficiaries should be able whether citizenship to state service in those LLC businesses to overseas organizations regardless if they’re owned in developed countries.
Are there Washington State fees for LLC formation outside of official filings?
Yes, Washington State Business Licensing Regulations can collect extra fees except for issuance and practice resolutions, too needs of inspections starting corporate work where there shapes light and water boundaries concerned before issued licenses, other expressions prescribed by officials.
Can Washington State LLC form a non-exempt property real-estate business?
Yes. Land leasing outside moderate commercial property trades can be exempt by overall service and for eligibility criteria inclusive LCC formation, making property management in collaboration with alliances an abnormal and useful business exemption through limited liability assigned capacity.
Can my healthcare practice be provisioned by forming an LLC in Washington state?
Yes, and given the chance to take on diversified opportunities using web, networking channels to market healthcare services to inlocally connected patients or similar contracts provided having a notable certificate of public debt verification issued.
What is an LLC in Washington?
LLC stands for Limited Liability Company, which is a type of legal entity that provides its owners with liability protection and pass-through taxation.
How much does it cost to form an LLC in Washington state?
The filing fee to form an LLC in Washington state is $180.
Can I be the only member of an LLC in Washington state?
Yes, you can form a single-member LLC in Washington state.
Do I need a Washington state resident agent for my LLC?
Yes, every LLC in Washington state is required to have a resident agent.
Can a corporation be an owner of an LLC in Washington state?
Yes, a corporation can be an owner of an LLC in Washington state.
What is a registered agent in Washington state?
A registered agent is a person or entity designated to receive service of process and other official communications for your LLC in Washington state.
Can I be my own registered agent in Washington state for my LLC?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent for your LLC in Washington state.
What is a Washington state UBI number and do I need one for my LLC?
A UBI number is a Unique Business Identifier and is required to register your LLC with the state of Washington.
How long does it take to form an LLC in Washington?
It typically takes 3-5 business days for the Washington Secretary of State to approve your LLC filing.
What is a Washington state operating agreement for an LLC?
An operating agreement is a document that outlines the ownership structure and operating procedures for your LLC in Washington state.
Do I need an operating agreement for my LLC in Washington state?
While an operating agreement is not required for your LLC in Washington state, it is highly recommended.
How do I file for an EIN number in Washington state for my LLC?
You can file for an EIN number for your LLC in Washington state by completing an online application with the IRS.
What taxes does my LLC in Washington state have to pay?
Your LLC in Washington state may need to pay state and federal income taxes, as well as self-employment taxes.
What is the business and occupation (B&O) tax in Washington state?
The business and occupation (B&O) tax in Washington state is a tax on the gross receipts or income of a business.
What is the sales tax rate in Washington state for my LLC?
The sales tax rate in Washington state varies by location, but is typically around 9.2%.
Do I need a Washington state business license for my LLC?
Yes, you need a Washington state business license for your LLC.
How do I dissolve my LLC in Washington state?
You can dissolve your LLC in Washington state by filing Articles of Dissolution with the Secretary of State.
Can I change the name of my LLC in Washington state?
Yes, you can change the name of your LLC in Washington state by filing an amendment with the Secretary of State and paying a fee.
What is a Washington state annual report for an LLC?
A Washington state annual report is a required report filed every year that details updates to your LLC’s contact information.
What happens if I don’t file my LLC’s annual report in Washington state?
If you don’t file your LLC’s annual report in Washington state, you may face penalties and your LLC may be administratively dissolved.
Can I change the structure of my LLC in Washington state from a single-member to multi-member LLC?
Yes, you can change the structure of your LLC in Washington state from a single-member LLC to a multi-member LLC.
Do I need to file for trademark registration for my LLC in Washington state?
While not required, it is recommended to file for trademark registration for your LLC in Washington state to protect your intellectual property.
Can I convert my LLC to another business entity in Washington state, such as a corporation?
Yes, you can convert your LLC to another business entity in Washington state, such as a corporation.
How do I convert my LLC to another business entity in Washington state?
You can convert your LLC to another business entity in Washington state by filing the necessary conversion paperwork with the Secretary of State.
What is a trade name in Washington state and do I need one for my LLC?
A trade name is a name other than your official LLC name that you use for business purposes, such as marketing or branding. You may need to register a trade name with the Washington Secretary of State.
Can I convert my LLC from another state to Washington state?
Yes, you can convert your LLC from another state to Washington state by filing the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State.
What is a Washington state Secretary of State information request?
A Washington state Secretary of State information request is a form that allows businesses to request information about other businesses, such as LLCs.
Is my LLC in Washington state required to have a business bank account?
While it’s not legally required, it’s highly recommended to open a separate business bank account for your LLC in Washington state to keep your personal and business finances separate.
Can I operate multiple LLCs in Washington state?
Yes, you can operate multiple LLCs in Washington state as long as each LLC is registered separately with the Secretary of State.

Also Read

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Washington

When it comes to forming an LLC in the state of Washington, the time it takes to complete the process may depend on several factors. It is essential to outline these factors while acknowledging that each individual experience may vary. By setting realistic expectations, you can make a smoother transition from a budding idea to a legally recognized business entity.

One of the primary considerations affecting the speed of starting an LLC in Washington is the meticulousness with which you prepare your application. Take the time to research and understand the necessary information and documentation required. This includes selecting a unique name for your business that aligns with the guidelines set by the Secretary of State’s office. Ensuring there are no similar business names already registered is vital to avoid any potential legal issues down the line.

Additionally, having all the required paperwork in order before submission will significantly expedite the process. This typically involves preparing the Articles of Organization, which serves as the foundation of your LLC. Providing accurate and detailed information is essential during this step to avoid unnecessary delays. Furthermore, you must appoint a registered agent, who acts as the point of contact between your company and the state.

Another influential factor to consider is the communication between you and the Secretary of State’s office. Prompt and clear communication helps mitigate any potential back-and-forth, ensuring a quicker and smoother registration process. Staying on top of your emails and promptly responding to any requests is of utmost importance. This will demonstrate your commitment and seriousness as a business owner and enable the authorities to speedily process your application.

An often overlooked aspect that can have an impact on the timeframe for forming an LLC is the payment of fees. Most governmental processes, including establishing an LLC, come with fees associated with them. Equipping yourself with information regarding the cost and methods of payment will help you be prepared when submitting your application. Timely payment is crucial to ensuring there are no unnecessary delays and keeps the registration process on track.

It is important to note that forming an LLC requires approval from the Secretary of State’s office. While every effort is made to expedite this process, external factors such as backlog or high volume of applications might cause a slight delay. However, staying informed about any potential delays or communication from the Secretary of State’s office can help you stay on track.

In conclusion, the speed at which you can form an LLC in Washington is influenced by various factors within your control. It is crucial to approach this process not only with excitement but also with thorough preparation. By having all the necessary paperwork in order, communicating promptly and efficiently, and ensuring payment of fees, you can enhance the likelihood of a swift LLC registration.


In conclusion, starting an LLC in Washington is a strategic choice for entrepreneurs seeking a flexible, straightforward business structure with limited liability protection. By following the essential steps, including choosing a business name, filing Certificate of Formation, appointing a Registered Agent, creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and securing the necessary licenses and permits, you can successfully establish your LLC. This business structure offers numerous advantages, such as pass-through taxation and ownership flexibility, making it an attractive option for small business owners looking to grow and protect their ventures. As always, consult legal and business professionals for guidance specific to your situation and state requirements.

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