How To Start A Business In Washington State – To start a Washington State LLC, you must provide a $200 Certificate of Formation to the Washington Secretary of State. You can apply online or by mail. The Certificate of Incorporation is the legal document that formally establishes your Washington Limited Company.
Follow our step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in Washington State to get started today. You can learn more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide. To learn how to form an LLC in Spanish, read our guide to Cómo crear una LLC en Washington.
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Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in forming an LLC in Washington state. Make sure you choose a name that meets Washington naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential customers.
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2. Is the name available in Washington? Make sure the name you want isn’t already taken by doing a Washington state LLC name search on the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System.
3. Is the URL available? We recommend checking if your business name exists as a web domain. Even if you don’t plan to launch a business website today, you may want to purchase the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.
Now that you have verified your name and secured the URL, you can choose a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you. We recommend using one of the following professional services:
LLC is short for Limited Liability Company. It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional company while providing many of the same benefits. For more information, read our What is an LLC guide.
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If you’re having trouble finding a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. This will not only find a unique name for your business, but also a suitable URL to match.
Once you have your business name, your next step is to get a unique logo. Get your unique logo using our free Logo Maker.
Most LLCs do not need a DBA. The LLC’s name can be your company’s brand name, and you can also accept checks and other payments under that name. However, if you want to do business under another name, you may want to enroll with a DBA.
What is a Registered Agent? A registered agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, litigation notices, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. Think of your registered agent as your business’ point of contact with the government.
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Who can become a Registered Representative? The Registered Agent must be a Washington resident or company authorized to do business in the state of Washington, such as a registered agent service. You can choose a person from within the company, including yourself.
Recommended: Northwest provides free first year registered agent service with LLC formation ($29 + State Fees) FAQ: Washington Registered Agent Nomination
Using a professional Registered Agent service is a cost-effective way to manage government records for your LLC. For most businesses, the benefits of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
To register your Washington LLC, you must provide the Washington Secretary of State with a Certificate of Formation. You can apply online or by mail.
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State Filing Cost: $180 for filing by mail or $200 online. The First Report is included free of charge with the online filing. If filed at a later date (within 120 days), it’s $10 by mail or $30 online. Expedited Services are available for an additional $50. Payable to the Secretary of State (Non-refundable)
If you are expanding your existing LLC to Washington state, you will need to form a Foreign LLC.
An LLC is referred to as a “domestic LLC” when it does business in the state in which it was formed. Normally when we refer to an LLC, we are actually referring to a local LLC. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
An operating agreement is not required to form an LLC in Washington, but it is good practice to have one.
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What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement.
What is an EIN? EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. EINs are a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to help identify businesses for tax purposes. It is essentially a Social Security number for a business.
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An EIN is sometimes called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN).
What if I already have an EIN for my sole proprietorship? The IRS requires sole proprietors to obtain a new EIN when converting to an LLC.
Where can I get an EIN? You can get an EIN from the IRS for free. Obtaining an EIN is an easy process that can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL EIN APPLICATIONS: You do not need an SSN to obtain an EIN. For more information, read our guide on How to Get an EIN as a Foreign Person.
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A social security number is not required to obtain an EIN. You can fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. You can find out more about applying as an international applicant here.
When you receive an EIN, you will be informed about the different tax classification options available. Most LLCs choose the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax liabilities by choosing S corporation (S corp) status. Read our LLC and S Corp guide to learn more.
All LLCs with employees or any LLC with more than one member must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
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Find out why we always recommend getting an EIN and how you can get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
Ask us a question, tell us how we are doing or share your experiences. Join the conversation in our Comment Section.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk if your Washington LLC is sued. In business law, this is called piercing the corporate veil.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review and find the best national bank, credit union, business loan friendly banks, banks with operations in many real locations, and more.
Washington State Llc Operating Agreement
For a closer look at business credit cards and their benefits, check out our review of the best small business credit cards.
For other important steps to protect your corporate hijab, such as properly signing legal documents and documenting company business, please read our corporate hijab article.
Business Insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your LLC. The most common types of business insurance are:
Building a website is a big step in legitimizing your business. Every business needs a website. Even if you think your business is in a very small or offline industry, if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on a large percentage of leads and revenue.
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Some may fear that building a business website is out of reach because they don’t have any website building experience. While that was a reasonable fear in 2015, web technology has seen major advances over the past few years that have made the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Using our website creation guides the process will be simple and painless and will take no more than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended: Get started today by using our recommended website builder, or check out our Best Website Builders review.
Press releases are one of the easiest and best ways to promote your business. It is also one of the most cost-effective strategies with:
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To operate your LLC in Washington, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants probably need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc. needs.
Details of business licenses and permits vary from state to state. Make sure you read it carefully. Don’t be surprised if short lessons are also necessary.
Fees for business licenses and permits will vary depending on what type of license you want to obtain.
Find out how to obtain the necessary Washington business licenses and permits for your LLC or have a professional service do it for you:
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Recommended: If you’re a first-time entrepreneur, consider doing a professional service survey of your business’ licensing needs. Read our review of the best business license services at Startup Savant.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to register on one or more of the state tax forms.
If you are making a physical sale
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