Cost to Form an LLC in the Washington D.C.

The cost to start a Washington D.C. limited liability company (LLC) online is $220. This fee is paid to the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs when filing the LLC’s Articles of Organization.

Use our free Form an LLC in Washington D.C. guide to do it yourself.

Or simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five ZenBusiness ($39 + State Fees)

Three out of Five Stars LegalZoom ($149 + State Fees)


How Much Does an LLC Cost in Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. LLC Online Filing Fee: $220

The main cost of forming an LLC is the $220 fee to file your LLC's Articles of Organization online with the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Washington D.C. Biennial Report Fee: $300

Washington D.C. requires LLCs to file a biennial report with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

You can submit this form through the Washington D.C. CorpOnline website. It is due on April 1st of the year following LLC formation. Thereafter, a new report must be filed every second year by April 1st. Washington D.C. charges a $100 penalty for failure to file on time.

Registered Agent Fee

In Washington D.C. you can be your own registered agent, but using a registered agent service helps keep your company in compliance and reminds you of important filing deadlines and avoid late fees.

Registered agent fees start at $39 for the first year. We recommend using:

OR:

Read our guide to learn more about Washington D.C. Registered Agents. You can also read our full guide on the best registered agent services.

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in Washington D.C.

If you already have an LLC that is registered in another state and you’d like to expand your business into Washington D.C., you’ll need to register your LLC as a foreign LLC in Washington D.C.

The cost for registering a Washington D.C. foreign LLC is $220. You can register a foreign LLC in Washington D.C. by filing a Foreign Registration Statement (Form FN-1).

Business Permits and Licenses

Depending on your industry and geographical location, your business might need federal and local permits/licenses to legally operate in Washington D.C. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.

Learn more about local licensing with our guide to getting a Washington D.C. business license.

Other LLC Filing Costs

There are optional fees associated with LLC formation:

LLC Name Reservation:
Reserve your name for up to 60 days prior to LLC formation (with the option to renew) by filing Form NR-1 and paying the $50 filing fee.

“Doing Business As” (DBA) Name:
Register for a trade name online and pay the $55 filing fee to create a name other than your legal LLC business name.

Certificate of Fact:
You can obtain a Washington D.C. certificate of good standing by ordering through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and paying the $50 fee. A certificate of good standing is often required by banks and lending institutions.

How to Register a Washington D.C. LLC Yourself

Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.

Recommended: If you already have a business that is running as a sole proprietorship, visit our How to Change from a Sole Proprietorship to LLC page.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in Washington D.C.

Step 1: Name Your Washington D.C. LLC
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN

Step 1: Name Your Washington D.C. LLC

When you name your Washington D.C. LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in Washington D.C.
  2. Meets Washington D.C. naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Recommended: Visit our Start an LLC in Washington D.C. guide for detailed naming rules and instructions for registering a business name in Washington D.C.

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our How to Name a Business guide and free LLC Name Generator.

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

Find a Domain Now

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Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

All LLCs in Washington D.C. must appoint a registered agent. A registered agent primarily acts as your LLC’s main point of contact with the district. But most importantly, they are responsible for accepting service of process in the event your business is sued.

Your Washington D.C. registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in Washington D.C.
  • Be available during normal business hours to accept service of process
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Recommended: Get a free year of registered agent services when you hire ZenBusiness to form your LLC. $39 (plus state fees).

ZenBusiness

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

The Washington D.C. Form DLC-1 - Articles of Organization is a document that is filed with the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to form an LLC. The fee for filing the Articles of Organization is $220 online.

For detailed instructions for completing the Articles of Organization, visit our How to File the Washington D.C. Articles of Organization guide.

File the Washington D.C. Articles of Organization

OPTION 1: File Online With Washington D.C. CorpOnline

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File Form DLC-1 by Mail

Download Form


District Filing Cost: $220 ($320 for walk-in customers), payable to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

Mailing Address:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090


Office Address:
Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
1100 4th Street SW
Washington, DC 20024

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement isn't required for Washington D.C. LLCs, but it's a good practice to have one.

What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining 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.

For more information on operating agreements, read our Washington D.C. LLC operating agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

What is an EIN? An EIN or Employer Identification Number is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue System (IRS) to identify a business for tax reporting purposes. An EIN is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for your company.

Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:

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Free EIN: You can get an EIN from the IRS website (free of charge) after forming your business.

Washington D.C. LLC Cost FAQ

Do you have to pay for a Washington D.C. LLC every year?

Washington D.C. LLCs have to pay a $300 biennial report fee every other year. Visit our Washington D.C. LLC biennial report guide for more information.

Is an LLC really necessary?

An LLC provides limited liability protection. This means an LLC protects your personal assets in the event of a business loss, such as a lawsuit or unpaid debt.

We recommend any small business that carries even the smallest amount of risk or liability to form an LLC. Learn more in our Should I Start an LLC guide.

What is the cheapest way to get an LLC?

You can save money on getting an LLC by completing the formation process yourself, making your own operating agreement, being your own registered agent, and getting your own EIN.

Check out our How to Save Money Forming Your LLC guide to learn more.

Can I pay myself a salary from my LLC?

You can pay yourself a salary from your LLC, but it would be called a draw or distribution if your LLC is taxed in the default way by the IRS.

Visit our How to Pay Yourself from an LLC guide to learn more.

Is an S corp better than an LLC?

An S corporation (S corp) is an IRS tax status, not a type of business entity. An LLC can be taxed in the default way or as an S corp. For some businesses, being taxed as an S corp can make lots of sense.

Check out our LLC vs. S corp guide to find out if S corp status is right for your business.

What’s better: sole proprietorship or LLC?

A sole proprietorship is only good for businesses that carry very low risk of liability because sole proprietorships don’t offer any liability protection.

Learn more in our sole proprietorship vs. LLC guide.

More Washington D.C. Small Business Resources

Article Sources

Washington D.C. CorpOnline:
https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/Home.aspx/Landing


IRS - Employer ID Numbers:

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers


Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs:

https://dcra.dc.gov/


SBA - Apply for licenses and permits:

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/apply-licenses-and-permits