Washington LLC Costs
Entrepreneurs and small businesses often benefit when they form a limited liability company in Washington State. An LLC is a business structure that provides business owners with liability protection, special taxes, unique incentives, and a flexible management structure. Some think that LLC formation in Washington is expensive and overly complicated. But, it is a straightforward, easily affordable process for many businesses.
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Costs to start an LLC in Washington
LLC Certificate of Formation ($200 online)
- You must file a Certificate of Formation with the Washington Secretary of State.
- The LLC cost to file a Washington Certificate of Formation is $200, or $180 if you file by mail or in person.
- Washington offers expedited LLC services for mail-in filings for an additional $50.
Washington annual report fee ($60)
- You must file an annual report with the Washington Secretary of State.
- You can file the LLC’s annual report online using the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System.
- Or, you can complete the annual report form and submit it by mail or in person.
- The annual fee in Washington State is $60 and is due at the end of the LLC’s anniversary month every year.
- The penalty is $50 if you fail to file an annual report fee. And you may face involuntary dissolution.
Washington registered agent fee (varies between $50 to $300)
- In Washington, you must appoint a registered agent if you form an LLC.
- By appointing a registered agent, you are letting the Washington SOS know someone is available during business hours to accept tax notices, subpoenas, and other services.
- In Washington, anyone who meets the state requirements can act as a registered agent, including yourself.
- The overall cost of appointing a registered agent will depend on the appointed agent, the needs of your LLC, and the state filing fees.
Fees to form a foreign LLC in Washington ($200 online)
- In Washington, you must register an LLC as a foreign LLC if you have an existing one in a different state and wish to expand.
- You can use the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System to register your foreign LLC online.
- Or, you can complete the Foreign Registration Statement and submit it by mail.
- The cost to register a foreign LLC is $200 online and $180 if you file by mail.
LLC name reservation fee ($30)
- Washington State does not mandate that you reserve an LLC name before the formation process.
- But, by reserving an LLC name, you are ensuring no one else can reserve and register the same company name.
- An LLC name in Washington must be unique and completely distinguishable from any other business name in the state.
- You can reserve a Washington LLC name for up to 180 days before formation.
- You can use the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System to reserve your LLC name online.
- Or, you can complete the Name Reservation form and submit it by mail to the SOS.
- The filing cost to reserve a Washington LLC name is $30.
DBA filing fees in Washington ($24)
- The acronym DBA stands for the business term ‘doing business as.’ A DBA, or an assumed name, is any name an individual or business uses to operate that is not the legal name.
- In Washington, an LLC must register a DBA if they use a business name that is not the LLC’s legal name.
- A Washington DBA name must be unique and available for use.
- You can register a Washington State DBA online using the Department of Revenue website.
- Or, you can complete the DBA registration form and submit it by mail.
- The LLC filing fee for a DBA in Washington is $24.
Cost of certified document copies ($20)
- You will use the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System to order your Washington LLC certified document copies.
- The cost of Washington LLC certified document copies is $20.
Washington Certificate of Existence ($20)
- Banks will require a copy of your LLC’s Washington Certificate of Existence before allowing you to open a business bank account.
- You will use the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System to request a Certificate of Existence.
- The fee for a Washington Certificate of Existence is $20.
LLC name reservation fee ($30)
- If you find that your foreign LLC name is already taken in Washington, you will need to register a new company name.
- You will complete the Foreign Name Registration form and submit it to the SOS Corporations and Charities Division.
Washington initial report ($30 online)
- You must file an initial report along with your first annual report. You only file it the first year.
- You can use the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System to file your initial report.
- Or, you can complete the initial report form and submit it to the Washington SOS.
Steps to start an LLC in Washington
Choose a business name
When deciding on an LLC name in Washington, you will want to consider a few things.
- Your LLC name in Washington must be unique and available.
- LLC names in Washington must meet all state naming requirements.
- It is always a good idea to check web domain availability to keep branding and marketing easy.
You will use the Advanced Business Search to conduct a name search for availability.
LLC name reservation fee
Washington state does not require the reservation of an LLC name before formation.
You can reserve a Washington LLC name online or by mail. The reservation is good for up to 180 days before formation.
The cost to reserve a company name in Washington is $30. An LLC name is good for up to 180 days. Washington State does not require you to reserve an LLC name.
Appoint a Washington registered agent
You must appoint a registered agent when you form an LLC in Washington. New York is the only state with that exemption.
The price for a Washington registered agent or service varies between $50 and $100 a year. The cost depends on the state and your LLC needs.
A registered agent in Washington is an individual or business entity that receives tax forms, legal documents, subpoenas, civil notices, service of process, and other official government correspondence on behalf of a sole proprietorship, corporation, or LLC.
The registered agent you choose must be a Washington resident or a registered agent service authorized to conduct business in the state.
- Starter Plan – $39 a year plus State Fees
- Pro Plan – $149 a year plus State Fees
- Premium Plan – $249 a year plus State Fees
ZenBusiness has a stand-alone registered agent service for Washington LLCs. The price is $99 per year.
- Total Out The Door Washington LLC Formation Service Package – $55 a month and includes:
- Washington State Fee
- Filing Service Fee
- Registered Agent
- Tax ID
- Annual Plan – $225 plus State Fees a year
- Economy – $79 plus $153 WA filing fees
- Standard – $329 plus $153 state filing fees
- Express Gold – $349 plus $255 state filing fees
File Washington Certificate of Formation
You will file the Washington Certificate of Formation with the Washington Secretary of State.
You can file the Certificate of Formation online using the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System.
Or, you can complete the Certificate of Formation form and submit it to the Washington SOS.
The LLC cost to file Certificate of Formation in Washington State is $200 if you file online and $180 when filing by mail or in person.
Washington only offers expedited LLC services for registrations filed by mail. The additional fee is $50.
Washington Secretary of State
PO Box 40234
Washington Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way S
Olympia, WA 98501
The Washington Certificate of Formation form will ask for specific information.
- UBI Number
- LLC name
- LLC duration
- Registered agent information
The fee in Washington State for filing the LLC Certificate of Formation is $200 if you file online, and $180 if you file by mail or in person.
Get a Washington LLC EIN
An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, can also be referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Federal Tax ID Number (FTIN).
An EIN is a 9-digit number that the federal government issues to LLCs for no additional cost. The EIN acts as a Social Security Number for companies for income tax purposes.
In Washington, you must apply for an EIN when converting a sole proprietorship into an LLC.
Applying for an EIN is a simple process online through the IRS website.
Business banking for a Washington State LLC
Banking professionals recommend opening a business bank account separate from your personal one. It will protect personal assets and credit scores.
In Washington, financial institutions will require you to submit a copy of the LLC’s Certificate of Formation, operating agreement, and EIN before allowing you to do business banking.
Business banking accounts are generally free, and do not have additional charges or fees.
Business attorney fees in Washington
Business attorneys in Washington keep LLC formation on a simple track. Also, by retaining an attorney, you have someone available to handle future business-related issues.
In Washington, business attorneys typically offer free consultations for first-time clients.
Professional services such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer offer LLC formation packages that include comprehensive legal services.
On average, a business lawyer in Washington State will cost $300 per hour.
LLC taxes in Washington
- LLCs are considered pass-through entities in Washington. As an LLC owner, you will file your personal taxes rather than the LLC’s tax returns.
- The Washington state tax rate is 6.50%, and the max local and county rate is 4.00%.
- Washington does have a $600 annual franchise tax.
- If you sell physical products in Washington, you must register for a seller’s permit.
- When you hire LLC employees in Washington, you must register for Unemployment Insurance Tax with the Washington State Department of Revenue.
- The state of Washington imposes the Business and Occupation Tax. You will use the Department of Revenue website for the taxation table.
- By hiring a tax expert, you help ensure that you do not miss important deadlines, accrue late fees, or face possible dissolution.
Business licenses and permits in Washington
The overall cost for Washington business licenses and permits will vary depending on where the company is located and the type of business.
You will use the Washington State Department of Licensing website to obtain the license and permits you will need for your business.
A business licence in Washington State varies between $50 to $400. The total cost of permits and licences will depend on where your LLC is, and the type of LLC.
Local government agencies in Washington will have different license processes and rules. You will want to contact the office to inquire about the process, price, and office hours.
You will find some Washington LLC formation documents requiring a notarization from a notary public.
If you cannot locate a notary, most government agencies have one in the office.
According to Washington law, a notary public can only charge a max of $25 per signature.
Employer obligations in Washington
- You have specific employer obligations when hiring employees in Washington.
- According to federal law, employers must verify that all employees are eligible to work in the US using Form I-9 from the USCIS Website.
- You must enroll in worker’s compensation insurance.
- You must report all new hires to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Economic Services Administration.
- You will find the complete list of Washington State employer obligations using the Washington State Department of Revenue website.
Benefits of a Washington LLC
- You keep business banking simple when you form an LLC in Washington State. It protects future liability. And, banks will require that you open separate personal and business banking accounts.
- LLCs and corporations have different compliance requirements. Incorporations must answer to shareholders and stock owners when they make business decisions.
- All LLCs in Washington are considered pass-through entities. Owners file personal tax returns rather than the LLC’s tax returns.
- You reduce the chances of double-taxation when you form an LLC. C-corporations are double-taxed while LLCs are not.
- Washington has state-specific incentives that are available to LLCs. The Washington Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and Washington Opportunity Zone (OZ) Program are available to LLCs in the state.
How long does it take to register an LLC in Washington State?
The Washington Secretary of State will take 7 to 10 days to process online LLC registration. And 10 to 12 business days for those filed by mail.
The Washington SOS offers expedited LLC services for registrations filed by mail for an additional $50 (3-day).
How do I dissolve my Washington LLC?
Can I take money out of my LLC in Washington?
As a rule, single-member LLC owners are not paid a wage or yearly salary. Instead, they pay themselves from their Washington State LLC. The business practice is called an owner’s draw.
In Washington, writing a check from an LLC banking account is legal to transfer money to your personal bank account.
Do I need a business operating agreement for my LLC in Washington State?
The state of Washington does not require a company to submit an operating agreement to the state. But, when you have one on file, you reduce the risk of future misunderstandings.
Most financial institutions will require you to submit a business operating agreement before allowing you to conduct business banking.
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