How to Form an LLC in Washington


The LLC is one of the most popular business structures in the United States. It offers you a lot of flexibility and protection, but there’s also some paperwork involved with forming an LLC in Washington. Here’s what you can expect when setting up your own limited liability company:

Establish the purpose of your LLC.

The purpose of your LLC will determine whether it is a single-member or multi-member LLC. A single-member LLC is formed by one person, while a multi-member LLC is formed by at least two people.

Single Member: If you are forming an LLC for personal purposes (i.e., you want to own assets), or if your business consists only of yourself, you may choose to form a single member LLC in Washington state. This simply means that there will be no other owners besides yourself and any property owned by the company will be in your name only. Some examples include:

  • An artist who wants to sell their art but doesn’t want to register as an individual business
  • A musician who plays live shows without having any employees or contractors

Choose a name for your business.

First, choose a name for your business.

  • Try to avoid names that are too long or too short. You can only use up to 40 characters for the name of your LLC, so keep it short and sweet. A good rule of thumb is that the name should be easy to spell and pronounce for people who haven’t heard of the company before.
  • Avoid similar-sounding names as those already registered with Washington State’s Department of Revenue (DOR). This is especially important if there are trademark issues related to your prospective business name (for example: Apple Inc.). The DOR will not allow another business with similar sounding names in its database unless there is an approved trade name list provided by an attorney licensed in Washington State or another state/jurisdiction where such names are allowed by law (e.g., California).
  • Make sure that any potential trademarks don’t conflict with anything else out there—especially if you plan on doing any marketing online or offline!

File the articles of organization.

Whether you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or corporation, you must file the articles of organization with the Secretary of State in Washington. You must use their online filing system to do so. The filing fee is $65 for an LLC with up to 50 members, and $75 if there are 51-100 members. The process to file can take 10 minutes or several hours depending on how long it takes for them to verify your information. It’s best to start this process at least one week before making any major purchases related to starting your business; otherwise, it could delay those purchases until after you’ve filed.

Once you’ve filed your articles of organization with the Secretary of State, you’ll receive an email confirmation within 24 hours showing that they’ve accepted it—but don’t stop there! Within 90 days from when you formed your LLC (which means two months from today), send another copy back into the office via mail or drop off in person so they can permanently record this document with their records and officially make sure everything went according…

Appoint a registered agent.

To form an LLC in Washington, you must appoint a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business that you appoint to receive legal and tax documents on your behalf. Registered agents may be located anywhere in the United States, but they must be U.S. citizens or business entities organized in Washington or another state (such as Delaware).

Registered agents are required by federal law to accept service of process if someone sues you—so it’s important that the company be able to respond quickly and clearly when they receive any legal papers necessary for your business operation.

Create an operating agreement.

An operating agreement is a business contract that details the relationship between the members of your LLC. It’s essential because it helps to avoid disputes that could damage your company, such as if you and a fellow member disagree about something important or one partner wants to leave the company.

An operating agreement should include:

  • A definition of what an LLC is and how it works; this will help make sure you understand what you’re signing up for (and may even apply in other states).
  • The name and contact info for each member who has agreed to be part of the LLC; this helps so that everyone knows who they are working with—and can reach them if necessary—in case there’s any confusion down the road when things change between members or new ones join.
  • How much money each member invested into starting their company; this helps prevent any potential disputes over who owns what percentage once profits start rolling in later on down the line (since there won’t be any doubt about whether someone deserves more than another person based solely on financial investments made early on).

Get an employer identification number.

If you’re an entrepreneur and want to form an LLC in Washington, you’ll need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). An EIN is a nine-digit number that identifies your business and is used when you file annual tax returns. You can get one online through the IRS website or by calling 1-800-829-4933.

When should I apply for an EIN?

You should apply for an EIN when:

  • You start a business as a sole proprietor or partner who will have employees at some point in the future;
  • You’re incorporating your business;
  • Your legal structure changes from being taxed as a sole proprietor to being taxed as another type of entity like a corporation, partnership, etc.; or
  • You need to report income that isn’t taxable because it’s not connected with the active conduct of your trade or business

Apply for business licenses and permits.

It’s important to note that all businesses in Washington are required to have a business license, even if they don’t need other permits or filings. The types of licenses and permits you’ll need depend on the type of business you want to run (if any). For example, if you want to operate as a sole proprietor and work out of your home office, then you only need one license: the Home Occupation Business License. If instead your business is more substantial—say it hires employees outside the family circle—then it may require additional licenses or registrations with different agencies.

The state requires general business licenses for corporations, LLCs, partnerships and sole proprietorships (S-corporations), but counties also require their own permits for each type of company. You’ll also likely need permission from your city before starting any sort of commercial enterprise within its limits; these municipal approvals fall under different categories depending on what type of company you’re planning on starting (e.g., manufacturing businesses will be required to get approval from both their county health department as well as their city council).

Open a business bank account.

If you’re thinking of forming an LLC in Washington, it’s important to open an account at a bank or credit union. Having a business checking account will help you keep track of your finances and make it easier for clients to pay you. You’ll also need a savings account or certificates of deposit (CDs) to cover unexpected expenses.

There are many types of accounts available; consult with financial professionals who can help make sure that the right type is chosen for your situation.

Forming an LLC in Washington can be done in just a few easy steps.

  • Forming an LLC in Washington can be done in just a few easy steps. The first step is to establish the purpose of your LLC, and once you’ve done that, it’s time to choose a name for your business. Next comes filing the articles of organization with the state Secretary of State. You can find more information about this process on our page about forming an LLC in Washington (see link below).
  • Once those administrative tasks are taken care of, it’s time for some actual business planning: appointing a registered agent, creating an operating agreement and applying for an employer identification number (EIN). These three steps will help ensure that everything is set up correctly so that your company has every opportunity to succeed when they get out into the world!


Congratulations! You’ve successfully formed an LLC in Washington. We hope that this guide has been helpful and informative, but if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help answer any questions you might have as well as provide additional resources when needed.

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