Forming an LLC in Washington State

Julie C. W. Martin

Written by

Business Attorney - Seattle, WA

Contributor Level 7

Posted over 6 years ago. Applies to Washington, 13 helpful votes



Register Your LLC with The Washington Secretary of State

You can do so on-line or by mail. The cost is currently $175 + $20 for online filing. Go to Washington Secretary of State's website (link below) to file on-line or to obtain an application for mailing. In registering your LLC you will need to submit a name for review, submit your contact information; file a Certificate of Formation; and list registered agents and members. You may also file an initial annual report (you must do so within 120 days of filing your Certificate of Formation) . ***You should also consider registering your business name as a state or federal trademark.


File a Master Business Application with the Washington State Department of Licensing

You can do so on-line, by mail, or in person. The cost is currently $20. Go to Washington's Department of Licensing website (link below) for more information or to file on-line.


Obtain Relevant City Licensure

Depending on where you will conduct business you may need to also obtain additional local licensing. When filing your Master Business Application if you do not see your relevant city or county on the Master Business Application City Licensure List (link below), you should contact your County or City Clerk's Office to determine if there are licensing requirements. You can know obtain a license for the City of Seattle by filing on line (link below).


Get Your Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) and Determine Other Obligations

o You must obtain your EIN and can obtain your EIN on-line. o An LLC can elect to be treated in various ways for taxation purposes. You should consult a tax advisor to determine what will work best with your current business and future goals. o In addition to federal taxes you will need to pay relevant Washington taxes (see link below). o Depending on the type of business you may also need to obtain special licensing (see link below). o If you have employees you will need to obtain Worker's Compensation Insurance (see link below).


Draft Operating Agreement

Washington does not require an Operating Agreement, but an Operating Agreement is highly advisable if your LLC will have more than one member. An Operating Agreement can and should, among other things, dictate how your company will be run, how the members will contribute, how and when the members will receive profits, and when and how the members will part ways, if need be.


Know When to Hire an Attorney

Although in many circumstances it is straightforward and easy to form your own business entity, if you have a complicated business structure or have more than one member it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney for assistance in forming your LLC and drafting an Operating Agreement.


Stay in Compliance

Don't forget to stay in Compliance with relevant laws and requirements. RCW 25.15.135 Requires that the LLC keep certain documents in its principal place of business. In addition to timely paying your LLC's taxes, you will also need to renew your license and file an annual report each year.

Additional Resources

Follow the links below or visit the following websites for more information: **Washington Secretary of State: **Washington Department of Licensing: **County Information: **Washington Department of Revenue: **Washington Department of Labor and Industries: **RCW on Limited Liability Companies: **IRS:

Register your LLC online with Secretary of State

File your Master Business Application with Department of Licensing website

Master Business Application City Licensure List

Obtain a license for the City of Seattle by filing on line

Obtain your EIN

Washington Taxes

Special Licenses

RCW 25.15.135

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Julie C. W. Martin

Forming an LLC in Washington State

Register Your LLC with The Washington Secretary of State You can do so on-line or by mail. The cost is currently $175 + $20 for online filing. Go to Washington Secretary of State's... more

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