Cost to Form an LLC in Washington

The cost to start a Washington limited liability company (LLC) online is $200. This fee is paid to the Washington Secretary of State when filing the LLC’s Certificate of Formation.

Use our free Form an LLC in Washington 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?

Washington LLC Online Filing Fee: $200

The main cost of forming an LLC is the $200 fee to file your LLC's Certificate of Formation online with the Washington Secretary of State.

Washington Annual Report Fee: $60

Washington requires LLCs to file an annual report and franchise tax with the Secretary of State.

You can submit this form through the Washington Secretary of State website. It is due annually by the end of the month in which the LLC was formed. Washington charges a $25 penalty for failure to file on time.

Registered Agent Fee

In Washington 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 Registered Agents. You can also read our full guide on the best registered agent services.

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in Washington

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

The cost for registering a Washington foreign LLC is $200 online or $180 by mail. You can register a foreign LLC in Washington by filing a Foreign Registration Statement. This can also be done by mail.

Business Permits and Licenses

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

Learn more about state and local licensing with our guide to getting a Washington business license.

Other LLC Filing Costs

There are optional fees associated with LLC formation:

Initial Report:
All LLCs must file an initial report. If you register your LLC online, the initial report is included at no extra cost. If you register your LLC by mail, you can either file the initial report by mail for $10 or online for $30.

LLC Name Reservation:
Reserve your name for up to 180 days prior to LLC formation by filing a name reservation form and paying the $30 filing fee.

Foreign LLC Name Registration:
Foreign LLCs can register names by filing a foreign name registration and paying the $30 filing fee.

“Doing Business As” (DBA) Name:
File a Business License Application and pay the $24 filing fee to register a trade name other than your legal LLC business name. This can also be done by mail.

Certified Document Copies:
Obtain certified copies of your Washington business documents by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying $20.

Certificate of Existence:
Also known as a Washington certificate of good standing, you can obtain this document by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying the $20 fee. A certificate of existence is often required by banks and lending institutions.

How to Register a Washington 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

Step 1: Name Your Washington LLC
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3: File the Certificate of Formation
Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement
Step 5: Get an EIN

Step 1: Name Your Washington LLC

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

  1. Is available for use in the state of Washington
  2. Meets Washington naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

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

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

Your Washington registered agent must:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Have a physical address in Washington
  • Be available during normal business hours to accept service of process

In Washington, your registered agent must consent to appointment by signing the Certificate of Formation.

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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 Certificate of Formation

The Washington Certificate of Formation is a document that is filed with the Washington Secretary of State to form an LLC. The fee for filing a Certificate of Formation is $200 online.

For detailed instructions for completing the Certificate of Formation, visit our How to File the Washington Certificate of Formation guide.

File a Washington Certificate of Formation

OPTION 1: File Online With the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System

File Online

- OR -

OPTION 2: File the Certificate of Formation by Mail

Washington Certificate of Formation


State Filing Cost: $200 online and $180 by mail, payable to the Secretary of State

Mailing Address:
Secretary of State
Corporations Division
P.O. Box 40234

Office Address:
Secretary of State
Corporations Division
801 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement, known in Washington as a limited liability company agreement, isn’t required for Washington 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 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 LLC Cost FAQ

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

Yes, Washington LLCs have to pay a $60 annual report fee every year. Visit our Washington LLC Annual 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 Small Business Resources

Article Sources

Washington Department of Revenue:
https://dor.wa.gov/


IRS - Employer ID Numbers:

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


Washington Secretary of State:

https://www.sos.wa.gov/


Small Business Administration - Apply for licenses and permits:

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


Chamber of Commerce - Washington Chamber of Commerce List:

http://www.officialusa.com/stateguides/chambers/Washington.html