How to Register & License an LLC in Washington
Posted Friday, December 6, 2019 by Kim Sandher
This blog focuses on a new domestic LLC being set up, not a foreign one looking to do business in Washington.
STEP ONE: FILL OUT AND FILE THE CERTIFICATE OF FORMATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE
You must register your limited liability company with the Washington Secretary of State. To do so, fill out a Certificate of Formation form online on the Secretary of State website or send in a paper copy. The link to both of these options is here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/limitedpartnershipslplllp.aspx
The fee to file online is $200.00; it takes about 2 business days to process. You will need to set up an account to use this method. The Secretary of State website has a lot of helpful videos you can watch to walk you through the process. This one is specific to creating an account with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLBnyQcvQXg&feature=youtu.be.
The fee to mail in a paper copy is $180.00. It takes about 14 business days to process.
These are some questions the form will ask you: a. UBI (Unified Business Identifier) Number – this will be issued to you by the Secretary of State, but you may have gotten one from another state agency like the Department of Revenue, Department of Labor & Industries, or Employment Security Department. If you were using one for a sole proprietorship or another business entity type, do not use the same number b. Name – if you previously filed to reserve a name, you can fill out the details. If you’re using a name that might be taken, it’s a good idea to fill out a Name Reservation form before you complete the Certificate of Formation. c. Duration – the most common is “perpetual” because it does not have a set date your company will expire on d. Effective Date – this is when you want to get the company started e. Registered Agent – you must have one. This entity or individual is going to accept legal documents on behalf of your company and receive correspondence from the Secretary of State. It cannot be this company you are creating. f. Principal Office – this has to be a physical address where you are going to run your business from g. Executor Information – this is the person filling out the form, which is most likely you.
STEP TWO: FILL OUT AND FILE YOUR BUSINESS LICENSE APPLICATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
In order to be recognized as a Washington business, you must file a business license application. You must file with the Washington Secretary of State before completing this application.
To complete the application, you will need: a. UBI number b. Information about your business such as physical location, estimated gross revenue, and principal business activities, percentage of ownership, and whether you’ll be somehow affiliated with alcohol c. Employer ID Number (EIN) if you are going to have employees d. Employee information
You may file the application online here: http://www.bls.dor.wa.gov/file.aspx. This takes up to 10 business days to process.
You may also apply in person or by mail. This method takes up to 6 weeks. The processing fee is $19.00. Additional fees will depend on the type of your business. I recommend filing online over this method because you may miss forms you need to file. The forms can be found in the same link as above.
STEP THREE: MAKE SURE YOU MEET ALL OTHER FEDERAL, STATE, COUNTY, AND CITY REQUIREMENTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
As the business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure you meet all legal requirements to operate your business.
If you have employees, you’ll need to make sure you report them with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), along with other agencies such as Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), Employment Security (ESD), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Depending on the type of business, you may need permits, registration with specific government agencies, licenses, etc. that are industry specific. You may want to contact us to find out what specific requirements you have depending on your industry.
This website has information for all cities and towns in Washington compiled together in one place: http://mrsc.org/Home/Research-Tools/Washington-City-and-Town-Profiles.aspx.
It also has similar information for counties here: http://mrsc.org/Home/Research-Tools/Washington-County-Profiles.aspx.
If you have any questions about LLC formation in Washington, reach out to Attorney Kim Sandher at (206) 805-1490