How to Form a Company in Washington


If you’re thinking of starting a business in Washington, you’ll need to form a corporation. The process is fairly straightforward and doesn’t cost much money. However, it does take time to complete all the necessary steps. Here’s how:

Step 1: Determine what type of company you wish to form.

The first step in forming a new company is to determine what type of organization you wish to create. The most common forms are sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs).

  • Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure. Generally speaking, you can be your own boss as well as make all financial decisions for the company. However, you will be personally liable for any debts or other obligations that your business incurs; this means that if your company goes bankrupt due to bad debt or legal action taken by another party against it, there’s a good chance that personal assets such as real estate and car titles may be seized by creditors (and possibly sold off) in order to pay off the debts owed.[2]
  • Partnership: In contrast with a sole proprietorship where one person owns all assets and liabilities associated with their enterprise on their own behalf without having any partners involved whatsoever (no shared ownership), a partnership allows two or more individuals who otherwise wouldn’t qualify under securities laws since they don’t meet minimum capital requirements set forth therein; instead they combine resources including time and money into forming an “entity” which has its own identity separate from those who created it.[3]

Step 2: Choose a name for your business.

The name of your business is one of the first things people will see when they hear about it. It should be easy to remember and spell, since you’ll be using it a lot.

  • Choose a name that is not already in use by a company or other entity in Washington state. You can check the Business Search Database at the Department of Licensing’s website to make sure your desired name isn’t taken.
  • Select a name that doesn’t sound too similar to other names, so people don’t confuse them (e.g., “Camping” vs “Campgrounds”). If two companies have names that are similar enough so they’d be easily confused by customers, both companies may have trouble doing business (this has happened to me).
  • Avoid offensive or confusing words like “The”, which could cause problems with trademarks later on (i.e., if someone else wants to use “The” as part of their brand).

Step 3: File your Articles of Incorporation with the Washington Secretary of State.

File your Articles of Incorporation with the Washington Secretary of State.

The filing fee is $100, and you can pay it online using a credit card or eCheck. After you do this, be sure to submit your articles of incorporation along with notarized signatures from all incorporators. You’ll also need an application for a corporation identification number (CID) and a statement of authority to transact business in Washington (SATB).

Step 4: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

Getting your EIN is easy. You can apply for one online, or by phone at 855-464-1551. It’s also available through the mail by sending a completed Form SS-4 to your local IRS service center. The process will take about five days, and you’ll receive your EIN in the mail within that time frame.

Once you have an EIN, you must use it on all tax returns and other documents related to business filings with IRS from here on out.

Step 5: Consider whether you will need to obtain additional licenses or permits to conduct business in Washington.

If you plan to sell goods or services in Washington, you will need to obtain a sales tax license.

In addition to the state business license, some counties and cities require that businesses obtain a business license from them. If your company will be conducting business in these jurisdictions, check with them for additional requirements.

You also may need to get a state-issued certificate of authority if it does not qualify as an excluded or exempt entity under RCW 19.04.015(2).

Step 6: Open bank accounts for your business.

If you’re going to be running a business, it’s helpful to have separate bank accounts for your business. This can help you keep track of expenses and make sure that any income is deposited in the right account.

You will need to open a business checking account and a business savings account at least, but you may also need other types of accounts as well—a credit card and/or merchant account (if you plan on accepting payment via credit card).


Once you’ve decided to form a corporation in Washington and have gathered the necessary documentation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. This form can be found on their website or downloaded from this page.

Once you’ve filed the Articles with the secretary of state, they will send you an acknowledgment letter confirming that they received your filing and entered it into their database. After that, it’s up to you (and your growing business) how far things go!

Forming a corporation in Washington requires filing paperwork with the state and obtaining an EIN from the federal government.

To form a corporation in Washington, you’ll need to file the paperwork with the state and obtain an EIN from the federal government. A corporation is a business structure that gives its owners limited liability protection while allowing them to retain their personal assets if the company is sued or goes bankrupt.

Corporations have lives of their own; they’re legal entities recognized by law. They can be dissolved voluntarily or involuntarily, which means they’re subject to ongoing compliance requirements (filing tax returns and keeping books), but they don’t have to go out of business at any specific time unless something drastic happens (such as dissolution). It’s possible for corporations to exist indefinitely—they don’t expire like some other types of companies do (including LLCs).

Corporations pay taxes on income earned during their existence: both federal income tax and state corporate income tax (if applicable). They must also file annual reports with their state governmental agencies.


Hopefully, you’re a little more confident about what it takes to form a corporation in Washington. Remember that the process doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful—it just takes some time and attention. With the steps we outlined above, starting your own business has never been easier!

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