Washington D.C. Registered Agent

District of Columbia registered agent is required by law for every formal business in the District of Columbia. A registered agent receives all official paperwork from the District of Columbia, they also receive any service of process a business may be served in a lawsuit.

In our Washington DC Registered Agent guide, we'll go over everything related to what a registered agent is, what they do, and how to pick one.

Recommended: To explore your options, check out our Best Registered Agent Services review.


What Is A Registered Agent?

A Washington DC registered agent is an individual or business entity that acts as the point of contact for your business for: 

  • All communication with the Washington DC, such as the Washington DC Annual Franchise Tax and certificate of good standing 
  • Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit

Every formal business in Washington DC eg LLC, corporation, etc is required by law to have a registered agent. 

For more information on the role of registered agents, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In D.C.?

Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Washington D.C.,as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Washington D.C>.

You could also choose to elect a member of your LLC, or even a friend you trust, as long as the person meets these requirements too.

Though many businesses prefer to use a professional registered agent service.

Why Businesses Use a DC Registered Agent Service

Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service in Washington D.C., here are some of the major reasons why:

Compliance

A registered agent service maintains a compliance calendar and will remind you when annual reports or other filings are due, and help you file them. 

This helps you to avoid fines and keeps your company in good standing, which is important to maintain your limited liability protection.

Legal complications, fees, or any other issues can arise if you do not respond quickly to service of process. A registered agent will scan your documents, share them with you online, and notify you when they are available.

Privacy

If you work from home, or even a private office, and act as your own registered agent, your address will be published publicly on the District of Columbia Business Entity Search.

If you value your privacy, a registered agent service will use their own address in place of yours.

Discretion

Receiving service of process for a lawsuit at your business can be a sensitive situation to have happen in front of your employees and clients. 

To avoid having this issue a registered agent will receive any service of process and other documents at their office, and discreetly deliver them to you online.

Flexibility

If you are your own registered agent, you must be available at all normal business hours, every working day of the year. 

Registered agent services run physical offices and have staff to cover those hours, so they can be available at those times

Hiring a registered agent service allows you to be more flexible in the hours and locations you work. So, take a vacation, work from home or the office, or travel the world, knowing they’re around to take your paperwork.

Online Storage

A good registered agent service will scan your documents as soon as they are received, storing a digital copy of all your business documents and any service of process available on a convenient dashboard.

Typically, if you’ve used an LLC formation service, you will also use them as a registered agent. This means that a copy of your formation documents will also be available online.

Having all of this information, available as PDFs, is very helpful when you need to do things for your business, such as opening a business bank account, applying for a business credit card, applying for small business loans, and many more things that require a copy of your documents.

National Coverage

If you plan on expanding your business into other states like if you’re hiring an out-of-state employee or opening a new sales office, a registered agent is necessary for your foreign LLC or other entity.

Most registered agent services operate in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Just pay a little extra for the new state you operate in, and they will deliver all those documents to the same online dashboard.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

The cost of hiring a registered agent service is typically around $50 to $300 per year. This is a small cost when you consider how much time it will save you — it’s well worth the price.

Best Washington D.C. Registered Agent Service

ZenBusiness Registered Agent

ZenBusiness provides the most comprehensive registered agent service for the price, fulfilling all state requirements. They also offer Worry Free Compliance, alerting you of important compliance events, covering your annual filing, and providing expert support.

ZenBusiness's online document management system and regular compliance alerts make working with them worry-free. They'll scan and upload all your essential legal documents into a personalized online dashboard that you can access at any time.

ZenBusiness stands apart in its excellent customer service and their representatives are known for being highly knowledgeable about LLC formation and maintenance.

Registered Agent Standard



$99 Annual

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LLC Formation + 1yr Included Registered Agent Service



$39 + State Fees
(Registered Agent: $119 after 1st year)

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If you want to explore all your options, check out this article on the 7 Best Registered Agent Services written by our friends at Startup Savant.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Dc?

In the District of Columbia, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Articles of Organization. The Articles of Organization is the main LLC formation document in District of Columbia.

Electing a Registered Agent Online

You can form your LLC online at the DC.gov Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs website ($220 filing fee required). Your registered agent’s name and contact information will be requested when you file your LLC’s Articles of Organization under the registered agent section online:

An image of the online LLC filing form for the District of Columbia

Electing a Registered Agent by Mail

To form your LLC by mail, download the Articles of Organization ($220 filing fee required) form, fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. You’ll be asked to provide your registered Agent’s information in the third section of page 2:

An image of the manual LLC filing form for the District of Columbia

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In DC?

To change your Washington D.C. registered agent, simply fill out a Statement of Change of Registered Office or Registered Agent form (Form RA-3) and submit it to the Washington D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs along with the $50 filing fee ($40 for nonprofits) paid by check.

This can be done online or by mail.

Online

Mail:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090


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For more information read our how to change registered agents in Washington D.C. guide.

Registered Agent FAQ

Do I need a registered agent in Washington D.C.?

Every U.S. state, with the exception of New York, requires all corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to have a registered agent. A registered agent may be called different names in different states, such as a resident agent, a statutory agent, or an agent for service of process.

What does a registered agent do?

Registered agents help keep your business compliant by maintaining up-to-date paperwork. They also are in charge of accepting official correspondence on behalf of your business, such as paperwork from the state and federal government, tax forms, and legal notices.

Does registered agent mean owner?

No. A business owner can be a registered agent, but a registered agent is not necessarily a business owner.

How to Become a Registered Agent in Washington D.C.

To become a registered agent in Washington D.C. as an individual or business entity, you must: 

  1. Be over the age of 18.
  2. Have a street address in Washington D.C.
  3. Have the business you’re representing list your name and address on their formation or change of registered agent documents.

After this, the State of Washington D.C. will send you official correspondence for annual reports, service of process, and other compliance information for the business you represent.

Washington D.C. Business Resources

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