LLC Cost in Washington

Washington LLCs are relatively inexpensive — especially when you consider that an LLC can protect your personal assets and help grow your business. That’s why forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. 

The cost to form an LLC in Washington starts at $180. This covers the primary cost of officially registering your LLC with the state.

Read our LLC Cost in Washington guide below to learn more about LLC costs and other fees associated with all Washington businesses.

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You can form an LLC yourself and save a little money or use a professional service and save a lot of time. 

Four point six out of five stars. Northwest ($29 plus state fees)

How Much Is an LLC in Washington?

Washington LLC Filing Fee: $180+

To form an LLC in Washington, you'll need to file the Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. The Washington Secretary of State charges $200 to file this form online and $180 to file by mail. 

An initial report also needs to be filed within 120 days of your LLC’s formation. If it’s not filed with the Certificate of Formation, the fee for this report is $10 by mail and $30 online. If you include your initial report with your Certificate of Formation, there is no fee. 

You can complete this process yourself with our How to Start an LLC guide or use an LLC formation service.

Registered Agent Fee

Every Washington LLC must appoint a registered agent. Your Washington registered agent must be a resident of Washington and must be available to receive service of process during normal business hours at a designated street address.

You will need to state whether your registered agent is  “commercial” or “non-commercial”. The written consent section of the Certificate of Formation will need to be signed either way in order to be accepted.

You can be your own registered agent in Washington, or you can use a registered agent service for a minimal cost.

Recommended: Get free registered agent services for one year when you form an LLC with Northwest ($29 plus state fees).

Washington Annual Report Fee: $60

Washington requires LLCs to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year. The cost to file this form is $60.

Cost to Form a Foreign LLC in Washington: $180+

LLCs registered in another state that want to expand into the state of Washington must register as a foreign LLC in Washington.

The cost for registering a Washington foreign LLC is between $180 by mail and $200 online.  You can register a foreign LLC in Washington by filing a Foreign Registration Statement.

Business Licenses and Permits

Your business might need federal, state, and local permits/licenses to legally operate in Washington, depending on your industry and geographical location. This is true whether you form an LLC or any other type of business structure.

Learn more about state and local licensing in our Washington business license guide.

Other Washington Business Filing Fees

There are fees associated with other, optional business filings in Washington.

LLC Name Reservation

You can reserve a business name for your LLC for up to 180 days by filing a Name Reservation form and paying a $30 fee. 

‘Doing Business As’ (DBA) Name

When an LLC is registered with the state, the LLC’s name is also officially registered. Some business owners choose to also file for a DBA name, known as a trade name in Washington.

You can register a trade name with the Washington Department of Revenue by filing a Business License Application and paying the $19 filing fee. There is an additional $5 fee levied for every name you register, bringing the total cost to at least $24.

Learn more in our Washington DBA guide.

Certified Document Copies 

You can get certified copies of your Washington LLC business documents by ordering through the Secretary of State and paying $20.

Certificate of Existence

Also known as a Washington Certificate of Good Standing, you can obtain this document by ordering it through the Secretary of State and paying the $20 fee. 

A Certificate of Existence is often required by banks and lenders.

Recommended: Learn more about LLC formation services in our Best LLC Services review.

How to Start an LLC in Washington

Forming an LLC yourself is easy; just follow the five steps below.

Five Basic Steps to Start an LLC in Washington

Step 1: Name Your Washington LLC

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Step 3: File a Certificate of Formation

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Step 5: Get an EIN 

Step 1: Name Your Washington LLC

When you name your Washington LLC, you’ll need to choose a name that:

  1. Is available for use in the state of Washington
  2. Meets Washington naming requirements
  3. Is available as a web domain

Check web domain (URL) availability with GoDaddy:

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Not sure what to name your business? Check out our free LLC name generator.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

Washington LLCs are required to appoint a registered agent to receive service of process.

Business owners can hire a registered agent service or appoint any Washington resident that is 18 years or older and is available during normal business hours at a specified address to receive service of process.

Recommended: Northwest offers one full year of registered agent services with their $29 (plus state fees) LLC formation package.

Step 3: File the Washington Certificate of Formation

To form an LLC in Washington, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. This can be done online through the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System or by mail.

For a closer look at the filing process, check out our Washington Certificate of Formation guide.

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are not required for Washington LLCs, but it’s a good practice to have one.

An operating agreement outlines the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC, ensuring that all members are on the same page and reducing the risk of conflict down the line.

Learn more in our Washington LLC Operating Agreement guide.

Step 5: Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to identify businesses for tax purposes. Think of an EIN as a Social Security number for your LLC.

To learn how to get an EIN for free, visit our How to Get an EIN Number guide.

LLC Cost in Washington FAQ

What is the cheapest way to start an LLC in Washington?

The cheapest way to start an LLC in Washington is to handle the registration process individually. In order to do this, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Name your LLC
  2. Choose a registered agent: This can be a registered agent service or an individual.
  3. File the Washington Certificate of Formation: The filing fee for this starts at $180 and can be filed online or by mail.
  4. Create an LLC operating agreement: This is usually not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended.
  5. Get an EIN: This is basically your business’s Social Security number (SSN).

How much does an LLC cost per year in Washington?

There is a $60 annual report fee that needs to be paid in order to maintain your LLC in the state of Washington.

For a more in-depth analysis, see our How Much Does an LLC Cost? article. 

How much does an LLC license cost in Washington?

An LLC is not a business license, but a business entity. Forming an LLC in Washington costs between $180 and $200. There is an additional $60 annual report fee that will need to be paid in order to maintain your LLC. 

You may be required to pay additional fees if you choose to pay for a  registered agent service, an LLC formation service, or an LLC attorney.

See our How to Start an LLC in Washington for more information on registering your business as an LLC.

Do LLCs pay taxes in Washington?

Yes, LLCs are a “pass-through” tax entity. This means that the LLCs profits are “passed through” directly to its owner(s), who then pay income taxes independently. 

This is advantageous compared to a corporation’s tax structure because it means that LLC members are not taxed twice. 

Having said that, readers should keep in mind that LLCs are very flexible when it comes to how they can be taxed, and — depending on the specifics — they can choose to be taxed as a pass-through entity, a C corp, and an S corp. 

For more information, see our How Is an LLC Taxed guide. 

What are the tax benefits of an LLC?

The tax benefits of an LLC will depend on how you choose to be taxed, as well as on whether you are operating as a single or multi-member LLC. 

Generally speaking, LLCs can choose to be taxed in several different ways, including:

  • As a sole proprietorship or general partnership
  • As a C corporation
  • As an S corporation

See our Single-Member LLC Taxes guide for a detailed overview of the tax benefits of having an LLC as a small business. 

Do I need to open a business bank account for my LLC?

Even though you do not necessarily “need” to open a bank account for your LLC, this is generally highly recommended for several reasons. 

For one, having a separate bank account can allow you to maintain your LLC’s corporate veil — meaning that you will not risk losing your limited personal liability under the law. A business bank account also offers financial benefits, including the ability to build business credit more quickly and access to larger business loans. 

Interested in opening a business bank account? See our review of the best banks for startups in 2024.