Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
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.
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.”
- 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.
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:
- Entity Name and Address
- Registered Agent Name and Registered Office Address
- Effective Date
- 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.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
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.
Provide the date on which you would like the Articles of Organization to take effect.
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.
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.
- OR -
Option 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization to Washington D.C.’s Corporation Division or submit in-person.
Filing Cost: $220 (walk-in customers must pay an additional $100)
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
PO Box 92300
Washington, D.C. 20090
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
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:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- District: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with Washington D.C.'s Registration and Licensing Services webpage.
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.