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Washington Fees and Requirements

How to Start an LLC

What is an LLC?

An LLC is established in Washington when you file for one with the Secretary of State. Once your application is approved, Washington will recognize your business entity as legally separate from you. However, a primary advantage for LLC owners includes that you will no longer be held personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the company.

What are the articles of organization?

Articles of organization are part of a formal legal document used to establish a limited liability company (LLC) at the state level. A limited liability company (LLC) is a business organization type in the United States whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company's debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the features of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship. If you own a business and several assets, you may want to consider forming an LLC. Each state has different laws on forming an LLC. However, submitting the Articles of Organization is crucial in establishing an LLC in all states. This includes Illinois.

Start an LLC in Washington

How much does it cost to establish an LLC in Washington?

An important legal document needed when forming your LLC in Washington is the Certificate of Formation, also referred to as the Articles of Organization. To obtain a certificate of formation, it costs $200 to file online and $180 if you file it in person or via mail.

The processing time varies depending on what method of filing you choose. If you file for a Certificate of Formation online, the processing generally takes two days. Paper filings and in-person requests can be processed within the same day, depending on how many other applications are ahead of you.

If you are a foreign LLC, the filing fee is the same. Still, you must file the Foreign Limited Liability Company Registration formand obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from the primary state your LLC operates in. This can cost additional fees.

Washington requires you to also file an initial report due within 120 days of company formation. The state fee is $10 for mail filings and $30 if you file online.

What is the cost for a registered agent?

When you file for the Certificate of Formation, Washington requires you to appoint a designated person or registered agent to handle your business’s legal documents, notify you of any lawsuit summons, and perform government correspondence. Remember that the registered agent must have a Washington physical street address. If you choose to appoint a professional registered agent service, the cost will vary depending on their charges. The cost for most registered agent services is about $50-$100 per year in Washington. Some professional registered agent services can cost more than $100. However, if you choose to appoint yourself or a business colleague, there is no separate fee from Washington’s Secretary of State.

What is the cost for an trade name registration?

An assumed name or trade name is not necessarily required but should be considered in the following cases:

  • Your LLC has established a separate brand
  • You would rather use a different name to conduct business transactions rather than the legal business name

The cost for a trade name registration is $5. You can register for multiple DBAs for your Washington LLC, but you will be charged $5 for each.

What is the cost to reserve an LLC name?

In Washington, one of the requirements when establishing your LLC, is to select a unique name that is not already registered with the Secretary of State. You can submit an Application to Reserve a Nameto ensure your desired name is available when you file your LLC. The cost is $30. This reserves the name for 180 days. Before you file the form and pay the $30 fee, ensure your desired business name is unique from any registered businesses by searching the Washington Business database. Also, ensure that your name contains the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or abbreviations.

How much does it cost to obtain certified documents?

For new business owners, you may need proof that your LLC exists and is in good standing to conduct business in Washington. The cost for certified documents from the Washington Secretary of State is $20 each.

How much do business permits and licenses cost?

Depending on your LLC’s industry and location, the business permits and licenses you need to acquire will vary. The costs start at $90. You can check the Business Licensing Wizard to check for what registrations, licenses, and permits you need to apply for.

Washington requires all businesses that meet any of the following criteria to apply for a general business license:

  • You will be hiring employees in the next 90 days
  • You are operating under a name other than your LLC legal name
  • The gross income for your LLC is at least $12,000
  • You are required to pay taxes or fees to the Washington Department of Revenue

For any new LLCs, the business license application is $90 with any additional city or county fees. You may also need to apply for endorsements with your local government and fees are typically less than $100.

How much does the Washington annual report cost?

All LLCs in Washington must file an annual report with the Secretary of State. The annual filing fee is $60. The annual report is due the first day of the month that the LLC registration initially occurred.

What taxes do I need to pay?

If you are in retail, you must file for a sales tax license.

Rates can vary depending on your business location. The sales tax license application costs $19. To see other business and occupation taxes you may be subject to, follow this link to check.

In summary….

The basic cost for establishing an LLC in Washington is $180/200, and the annual report is $60. The cost to maintain and establish your LLC will increase depending on what additional services, permits, or licenses you require.