Step 1) Pick a Name for your Washington Corporation

Choose a Business NameFor statutory requirements when naming your Washington Corporation, you must use any of the following names or abbreviations: ‘Corporation’, ‘Incorporated’, ‘Company’, or ‘Limited’; or ‘Corp.’, ‘Inc.’, ‘Co.’, or ‘Ltd.’.

Further, the name should also be distinguishable enough from any existing business entity name registered with the Washington Secretary of State. To ensure that the name you chose is valid, you can check using the Washington business name search tool.

Should the name be valid, you can file for a Name Reservation for 180 days to the Secretary of State, paying the $30 filing fee.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCA Washington business becomes a legally binding Corporation when it has filed an Articles of Incorporation to the Washington Secretary of State. The following information must be indicated on the form:

The Articles of Incorporation can be filed through postal mail with a $180 filing fee or through online filing with a $200 filing fee.


Step 3) Hire a Washington Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Washington Registered Agent is a necessity for incorporation in the state. This then should be a requirement that you should complete.

A Washington Registered Agent can be a professional who lives in Washington or a business entity that is listed to do business in Washington. A physical street address should be provided by the Registered Agent upon designation. Further, the Registered Agent should also accept to receive service of process in behalf of the Corporation.

Being your own Registered Agent yourself is highly discouraged. For hiring the services of a Registered Agent, you can have one at $160/year. However, if you’re incorporating with IncFile, you can get Registered Agent services with no charge at all.


Step 4) Maintain a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsA Corporate Records Book is not mandatory when submitting state requirements, but it is a business best practice to have one. It helps organize corporate documents, so that can easily be accessed when needed.

A Corporate Records Book can store your incorporation documents, business licenses and permits, tax reports, financial reports, and other valuable paperwork.

The local office and school supply chain in your area should be selling one of these Corporate Records Book, but you can also order through Amazon for an easier way.


Step 5) Elect the Initial Directors of your Washington Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsIt is the responsibility of the incorporator to elect the initial directors of the Washing Corporation. These initial directors are set to serve the Corporation’s board until such time that the first yearly meeting of the shareholders is scheduled.

The incorporator must then draft an Incorporator’s Statement complete with each of the names and addresses of the directors. The incorporator should then sign the document and keep a copy of it in the Corporate Records Book.


Step 6) Set an Initial Meeting with the Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsOnce the board of directors is organized, a meeting should then be immediately scheduled to discuss a number of agenda:

The minutes of the meeting should be immediately prepared thereafter, to be signed by all of the directors.


Step 7) Take Care of your Washington Business Tax and License Obligations

Business LicensesA Washington Corporation should always take care of its business tax and license obligations. Failure to do so would result to a number of penalties that could eventually lead to the closure of the Corporation itself. To start with the completion of these obligations, follow these steps:


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountWhen you start a business, it is a best practice to separate your personal finances from your business dealings.

This ensures that you not only have an easier time at managing and monitoring your business finances, but when tax season is near, you will have a more efficient time at completing tax reports.

Recommended Resource: For a list of the best banking accounts for business, this resource roundup is a good reference.


To-Do After Starting a

Washington Corporation

Now that you have accomplished the eight steps above, you are a legal Washington Corporation. The next few steps below are additions that can help in the success of your business.

1) Draft a Funding-Ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanTo ensure that you can clearly set a direct path to put your business in order and to achieve goals, a solid business plan should be created. This plan is also the very same tool that will help you get the required capital funding to jumpstart your Washington Corporation.

Contrary to most misconceptions that only business experts can write a solid business plan, the business owner is more than qualified to make one and this will prove very advantageous.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteWhen you have a business regardless of its size or nature of operations, you also need a business website to go with it.

A brick-and-mortar store is for customers to go through your products or services, but a business website is dedicated for online customers and marketing purposes. With Bluehost and its one-click WordPress feature, you can easily begin a business website even without technical expertise.

Resource for Getting Started: This guide will show you how to set up a professional-looking business website.


3) Make Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsCorporate bylaws are the very essence of the internal operations of a business to maintain order and transparency within the organization. Although these bylaws are not mandatory, having one in place within your Washington Corporation provides a number of benefits and advantages.

The rules and responsibilities of each of the people involved in the Corporation are also outlined in the corporate bylaws. This document is also one way of showing that you are operating a legitimate Corporation.

Please note that this guide is intended for informational purposes, and it should not be taken as a legal advice or document. For questions on the legalities involved in forming a Washington Corporation, refer to the expert advice of your business lawyer. Also, please make sure to take care of Annual Reports while your business is operating. You can complete this requirement here.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom