What Is A Washington Registered Agent?
A Washington registered agent is an individual or business entity that acts as the point of contact for your business for:
- All communication with the State of Washington, such as the Washington Annual Report and certificate of good standing
- Receives all service of process for the business in any lawsuit
Every formal business in Washington 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.
For help forming your LLC, use our Washington LLC guide.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Washington?
Yes, any owner or employee of a business can be its registered agent in Washington as long as they are over the age of 18, and have a street address in Washington.
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 Washington Registered Agent Service
Many businesses choose to use a registered agent service when they form an LLC, here are some of the major reasons why:
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.
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 Washington Corporation Search.
If you value your privacy, a registered agent service will use their own address in place of yours.
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.
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.
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.
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 Registered Agent Service
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 Service
(for those who already have an LLC)
LLC Formation + 1yr Free Registered Agent Service
$39 + State Fees
(Registered Agent: $119 after 1st year)
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Washington?
In Washington, you will be required to elect your registered agent when you complete your LLC’s Certificate of Formation. The Certificate of Formation is the main LLC formation document in Washington.
Electing a Registered Agent Online
You can form your LLC online on the Washington Secretary of State website ($200 filing fee required). You’ll gain access to all the resources you need to appoint a registered agent and form your LLC online.
Electing a Registered Agent by Mail
To form your LLC by mail, download the Certificate of Formation form ($180 filing fee required), fill out the required fields, and submit a physical copy to the Washington Secretary of State. Your registered agent’s name and contact information will be requested in Section 5.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Washington?
To change your Washington registered agent, simply fill out a Statement of Change/Designation of Registered Agent form and submit it to the Washington Secretary of State. There is no filing fee.
This can be done online, by mail, or in person.
Mail or In Person:
Washington Office of the Secretary of State
Corporations and Charities Division
801 Capitol Way S.
Olympia, WA 98504-0234
Consent to Appointment
Your new registered agent also will need to consent to their appointment. They can do this by signing the change form.
Registered Agent FAQ
Do I need a registered agent in Washington?
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 “service of process” mean?
Service of process means receiving legal documents, such as a summons. A summons is an order to appear before a judge due to a pending lawsuit.
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
To become a registered agent in Washington as an individual or business entity, you must:
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have a street address in Washington.
- 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 will send you official correspondence for annual reports, service of process, and other compliance information for the business you represent.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is a company that agrees to receive service of process for an LLC, corporation, or nonprofit.