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Start a Washington LLC for FREE*

Register your LLC in Washington for free with a Rocket Legal+ membership

Start an LLC in Washington
Register your Washington LLC with Rocket Legal+ and Start Up Confidently

Start Up Confidently with a new LLC in Washington

Get fast, personalized support to start your Washington LLC

FREE* with Rocket Legal+

Get your first business registration FREE* as a Rocket Legal+ member and stay compliant with HALF OFF services *See details

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We'll take care of your Washington LLC filing so you can focus on your business

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Washington LLC FAQs

  • How much can businesses save with Rocket Legal+?

    Businesses can save up to $2,500 per year with a Rocket Legal+™ membership. This calculation is based on total savings on an initial business registration and registered agent, trademark, and business tax filing services for Rocket Legal+ members (a total cost of $924.97) compared to Rocket Legal members (a total cost of $1,949.96). This is in addition to savings on the average cost of 5 hours for document preparation by a non-Rocket Lawyer network attorney at the average attorney hourly rate in the U.S. of $300 (an estimated cost of $1,500 when purchased without any form of Rocket Lawyer membership) compared to unlimited use of customizable business documents for both Rocket Legal+ and Rocket Legal members at no extra cost.

  • What is an LLC?

    LLCs are a type of business entity that have the key benefit of providing liability protection to its owners (referred to as members). This means the members’ personal assets are generally safeguarded against the company’s debts or legal disputes, except in cases where they may be personally liable under other laws. 

    In the state of Washington, an LLC is defined as “a limited liability company having one or more members or transferees that is formed under [Chapter 25.15]” (RCW 25.15.006(7)). That means an LLC in Washington is a company created within the state or a company that becomes subject to Washington’s state regulations surrounding LLCs (RCW Chapter 25.15). 

    LLCs are popular among business owners because they offer flexibility and simplicity in managing their operations. Owners have the option to decide whether the company will be managed by its members or by appointed managers. Additionally, compared to corporations, LLCs typically have fewer legal compliance requirements and a more straightforward operational structure. However, LLCs cannot be used for certain business purposes, such as banking or insurance.

    Finally, LLCs allow business owners to pay taxes for business income as part of their individual taxes, although LLC owners may elect to pay their business taxes as a separate entity, similar to how a corporation is taxed. This can give business owners more flexibility to choose the tax classification that is right for them as they grow and evolve their business.

  • Will starting an LLC protect my personal assets?

    LLCs can protect your personal assets against business debts and lawsuits in many cases, as long as you take careful steps to separate your business and personal affairs and maintain compliance.

    Here are some common ways to separate your affairs and stay compliant:

    • Take care to maintain separate bank accounts.
    • Keep your personal and business assets separate.
    • Keep records of your business matters.
    • Formally document business decisions.
    • Conduct business under your business name.
    • Uphold LLC compliance requirements in Washington, including:
      • Filing an Annual Report, also known as "Statement of Information," or "SOI." This needs to be done by the last day of the LLC's anniversary month.

    If you don't maintain your compliance obligations or fail to properly separate your business and personal matters, then you may be opening yourself up to personal liability for business activities or responsibilities.

  • Why should I register for a Washington LLC?

    You may want to register for an LLC in Washington when:

    • You own or want to start a business in Washington, or want to expand an existing business into Washington, and want to stay legally compliant. 
    • You own or want to start a business, and want more flexibility on how you will manage the business or pay taxes than a corporation would provide.
    • You want to protect your personal assets from potential liability resulting from business you conduct in the state of Washington. 
    • You own or want to start a business, and want to register in Washington to open accounts, lease or buy property, secure funding, or hire employees.
  • How do I start an LLC in Washington?

    There are a few steps required to start your LLC in Washington, including:

    • Find a unique name for your LLC. Washington has a few requirements on business names, including a requirement to be unique. You can search the state of Washington's database of business entities in the state to ensure your business' name is unique. Rocket Lawyer can also help you identify a unique name when you register your business.
    • Provide a Washington address that will be used as your official LLC address. The address that you list may either be your home, an office, or another physical location, but it cannot be a PO box.
    • Appoint a registered agent. A registered agent is the person or company that serves as the contact point between the state and the LLC. The registered agent also receives official correspondence from other businesses. In many cases, you can act as your own registered agent if you have a business address in Washington, but you may consider using a registered agent service if you are not located in Washington or would like an extra layer of privacy. Rocket Lawyer can act as your registered agent or specify your registered agent when you register your LLC.
    • File your Certificate of Formation with the state of Washington to register your LLC. Once you have a business name and registered agent identified, you can register your business as a Washington LLC with the Washington Secretary of State by filing your Certificate of Formation. Rocket Lawyer can assist you in filing your LLC's Certificate of Formation with the Washington Secretary of State.
    • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The EIN is crucial for tax filing, payroll management, employee payments, and opening a business bank account. Rocket Lawyer can assist you with securing your LLC's EIN in order to do these vital business tasks.
    • Create your LLC Operating Agreement (Optional). In Washington, it is optional to have an LLC Operating Agreement, which helps govern the ownership structure, member rights and responsibilities, and decision-making process of your LLC, among other things.
  • What is a Certificate of Formation?

    To start an LLC in Washington, you must file a document called a Certificate of Formation with the state of Washington. In other states, this document may be called a "Certificate of Organization," "Certificate of Filing," or "Articles of Organization."

    In Washington, you will need the following information to file your Certificate of Formation:

    • The name of the LLC.
    • The LLC's mailing address.
    • The name and address of the LLC's registered agent.
    • The LLC's period of duration.
    • Effective date of filing.
  • How much does it cost to start an LLC in Washington?

    In Washington, there are a few fees that you may be charged when you choose to start your LLC. They include the following:

    State fee: $200

    Rocket Lawyer filing fee: $0 $99.99

    • First filing FREE for RocketLegal+ members.
    • Get additional filings HALF OFF with RocketLegal+.

    Processing time: 7-10 business days

    Note: The above state fees and processing times are provided as a summary and may encompass various fees mandated by your state or local authorities. If you have questions, speak to a Rocket Lawyer representative to understand the costs and processing times that apply to your specific filing.

  • How much are LLC taxes in Washington?

    Taxes for your LLC will depend on how you file and how much your LLC earns.

    The default method for LLC taxes is called "pass-through taxes." This means that the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to the individual members, who report them on their personal tax returns. The share of profits or losses each member receives and reports on their taxes is determined by the terms in the LLC's operating agreement. With pass-through taxes, the LLC itself does not file its own tax returns, and the owners only pay taxes on the business once. (Note: The term "pass-through taxes" is an informal term. Single-member LLCs are treated as a "disregarded entity" and taxed as a sole proprietorship, and LLCs with multiple members are treated as a partnership.)

    With pass-through taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes are not withheld from the members' paychecks, so they are responsible for paying these as "self-employment taxes" instead. In addition to Social Security and Medicare taxes, LLC members will need to pay taxes as a percent of their share of profits every quarter as estimated taxes. LLC members can also deduct business expenses and losses from their personal tax returns, which can significantly reduce the amount of profits reported to the IRS.

    Alternatively, if the LLC members prefer not to utilize pass-through taxes, they have the option to elect for the LLC to be taxed as a corporation instead. This may be preferred when the corporate tax rate is lower. To elect a different tax classification, you need to file the necessary forms with the IRS.

    If you do not want to tackle your LLC's taxes alone, our Rocket Tax services can help you by gathering some information about your business and then matching you with the right tax professional.

  • What are the rules for naming an LLC in Washington?

    The state of Washington requires that the names of all LLCs in the state:

    • Must contain the words "limited liability company," the words "limited liability" and abbreviation "Co.," or the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC."
    • May not contain any of the following words or phrases:

    "cooperative," "partnership," "corporation," "incorporated," or the

    abbreviations "Corp.," "Ltd.," or "Inc.," or "LP," "L.P.," "LLP,"

    "L.L.P.," "LLLP," "L.L.L.P," or any words or phrases prohibited by any statute of this state.

    • Are not too similar to existing LLCs in the state.

    Rocket Lawyer can help you determine whether your business' name is eligible for registration in Washington and may be able to help you reserve the name before you file your LLC.

  • I live outside of Washington. In which state do I file my LLC?

    Any LLC that does business in Washington must register with the State of Washington. LLCs based in Washington are called "domestic LLCs," and out-of-state LLCs are called "foreign LLCs." If your LLC was organized and operates outside of Washington, establishing a foreign LLC within Washington will allow for you to conduct business there.

    Foreign LLCs and domestic LLCs may have different filing and compliance requirements -- Rocket Lawyer can help you navigate foreign LLC registration, regardless of where you live.

  • I live in Washington. Do I need to file my LLC in any other state?

    If you are planning to conduct business in another state, you may need to register an LLC in that state. Rocket Lawyer can help you determine which states you should register in. 

    Other states may have their own rules for taxing foreign LLCs that originate in Washington or domestic LLCs that also operate in Washington. Talk to an attorney to understand the tax requirements for the state(s) in which you plan to operate.

    Alabama Louisiana Ohio
    Alaska Maine Oklahoma
    Arizona Maryland Oregon
    Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
    California Michigan Rhode Island
    Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
    Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
    Delaware Missouri Tennessee
    Florida Montana Texas
    Georgia Nebraska Utah
    Hawaii Nevada Vermont
    Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
    Illinois New Jersey Washington D.C.
    Indiana New Mexico Washington
    Iowa New York West Virginia
    Kansas North Carolina Wisconsin
    Kentucky North Dakota Wyoming
  • Can I make a single-member LLC in Washington?

    Yes, LLCs with only one owner can still register their business in Washington. In this case, the LLC would be referred to as a single-member LLC (SMLLC), whereas if there is more than one owner, the LLC may be called a multi-member LLC. 

    The main difference between single-member and multi-member LLCs lies in ownership structure and management. With a single-member LLC, you have full control over the business. In contrast, a multi-member LLC has multiple owners, each with a specific percentage of ownership as defined in the operating agreement. This means that in a multi-member LLC, owners share profits, losses, and tax responsibilities based on their ownership percentage.

    However, many aspects of LLCs remain the same whether they are single-member or multi-member. Both types of LLCs default to pass-through taxation (though separate filing is an option), and owners can choose to manage the LLC themselves ("member managed") or hire designated managers to handle day-to-day operations ("manager managed").

  • What is the benefit of having a Trade Name vs. an LLC in Washington?

    An LLC is a structure establishing your business as an entity that can legally conduct business in the state(s) within which it is filed. Alternatively, a "Trade Name" filing is a legal mechanism to specify another name under which you plan to do business. Trade Names may also be called a "Fictitious Business Name" (or "FBN"), "Assumed Business Name" (or "ABN"), or "Doing Business As" (or "DBA") and are commonly confused with sole proprietorships. While Trade Names can help you specify a name for a business, they do not establish a legal business entity and also do not provide business owners with liability protection. In Washington, filing a Trade Name, or Fictitious Business Name, is required if your business is planning to operate under a different name than the one that is filed with your Certificate of Formation.

    If you have an existing company and would like to conduct business under a new or additional name, a Trade Name will allow you to conduct business with the new name through your existing LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, or Nonprofit. If you're not sure if you should form an LLC or file a Trade Name, a Rocket Lawyer representative can help you understand the differences and take the next step.

  • What do I do after registering an LLC in Washington?

    After organizing an LLC in Washington, the state requires you to:

    • Establish a Registered Agent and Office: Washington LLCs must maintain a Registered Agent within the state. We can help with our Registered Agent Services.
    • File an Initial Report: Washington requires that this report be filed within 120 days of your LLC being organized.

    Although not required, you may also want to:

    • Hold a meeting: A first meeting with members of an LLC is not required by law, but it is highly suggested in order to get organized. Also, unlike corporations, LLCs are also not required to maintain Meeting Minutes, but these documents are also recommended as they provide records for important decisions made.
    • Create an Operating Agreement: While creating an Operating Agreement is not mandatory, it's highly advisable. We can help you create your Washington LLC Operating Agreement online.
  • How do I maintain my LLC in Washington?

    An LLC is one of the easiest businesses to maintain. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when looking to maintain your Washington LLC:

    • Washington requires LLCs to submit an Annual Report every year. They are due by the last day of the anniversary month of the LLC's organization.
  • How do I keep my records for my LLC?

    Every LLC in Washington is required to keep the following records in their principal place of business:

    • A current list of the full names and last known addresses of each member and manager.
    • A copy of the certificate of formation and any amendments.
    • A copy of the company agreement and all amendments.
    • Unless specified in the certificate of formation, you'll need keep a written statement containing the following:
      • The amount of cash and a description and statement of the agreed property or services each member has contributed or has agreed to contribute.
      • The circumstances under which members will make future contributions.
      • A member's right to receive distributions to a member, including a return of the full or part of the member's contribution.
      • Copies of the company's federal, state and local tax returns and reports for the last three years.
      • Copies of any financial statements for the three most recent years.

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