How to File the Washington DC LLC Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization is the document you file with the state to register your District of Columbia LLC

We will give you all the steps to successfully file your LLC Articles of Organization and officially form your limited liability company.

Recommended: For under $40, you can hire an LLC service to form your LLC and get a free year of registered agent services. Check out our best LLC services review to learn more.

Get Help Filing Your Articles of Organization:

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Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!

diagram showing the steps for how to file the L L C Articles of Organization


 

Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms

You can download and mail in your Washington D.C. Articles of Organization, or you can create an account and file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.

Get Your Washington D.C. Articles of Organization

Option 1: Create an account with Washington D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. From the user homepage, scroll down to the “Limited Liability Company” section of the “Domestic” list. Select “DLC-1 LLC/PLLC Articles of Organization Web.”

Create Account

- OR -

Option 2: Download the Articles of Organization PDF from Washington D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website. This form will need to be mailed to the Corporation Division or submitted in-person.

Download PDF


Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization

In this step, we will help you complete the Washington D.C. Certificate of Formation form. There are four main “Articles.” 

You will need to know the following information to complete each Article:

  1. Entity Name and Address
  2. Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
  3. Effective Date
  4. Organizer Information

Entity Name and Address

Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.

When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:

  • meets Washington D.C. naming guidelines. 
  • is not already in use by another business in Washington D.C.

Follow the Washington D.C. Naming Guidelines:

  • Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.).
  • Your name shall not be the same as, or deceptively similar to, the name of any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States or the District of Columbia.
  • Your name cannot contain the words “bank,” “banking,” “credit union,” “insurance,” or words of similar meaning without the prior approval of the Mayor.
  • Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the district. This includes Washington D.C. reserved names.

Check Name Availability:

Is your name available in Washington D.C.? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the Washington D.C. Business Center website.

To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in Washington D.C. guide.

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator.

Register Your Domain Name:

We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.

 

Find a Domain Now

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Registered Agent and Registered Office

A registered agent accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf. When you register your Washington D.C. LLC, you are required to list your registered agent and your registered office. 

Your registered agent can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in Washington D.C. Your registered agent must always be available at the registered office during regular business hours. 

Your registered office address cannot be a P.O. box.

To learn more about choosing a Washington D.C. registered agent, read our How to Choose a Washington D.C. Registered Agent guide.

To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.

Effective Date 

Provide the date on which you would like the Articles of Organization to take effect.

Organizer Information 

You must provide the name and address of the organizer, and they must sign the form.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. 

There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:

  • Complete the form online.
  • Submit a hard copy by mail or in-person.
File the Washington D.C. Articles of Organization

Option 1: Create an account or log into Washington D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. From the user homepage, scroll down to the “Limited Liability Company” section of the “Domestic” list. Select “DLC-1 LLC/PLLC Articles of Organization Web.” Fill out the required fields and submit.

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization to Washington D.C.’s Corporation Division or submit in-person.

Download PDF


Filing Cost: $220 (walk-in customers must pay an additional $100)

Mail to: 
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, D.C. 20090

Submit In-Person: 
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
1100 4th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

Steps After Your Washington D.C. LLC Is Officially Formed

Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization, you should take the following steps:

Create an Operating Agreement

A Washington D.C. LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.

In Washington D.C., you aren’t required to have an Operating Agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Articles of Organization.

Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC’s private business records; you do not file it with the district.
Use our free Operating Agreement Tool to draft a customized operating agreement for your LLC.

Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.

You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.

Open a Business Bank Account

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.

For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our Best Banks for Small Business review.

Get Licenses and Permits

When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits in order to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses or permits.

Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:

Brand Your Business

The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.

Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool can help you design your own unique logo for your new business idea.

Washington D.C. Business Resources