How Much Does an LLC Cost in Washington

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

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How Much Does an LLC Cost in Washington

The minimum Washington LLC Cost is $180, which covers the processing fee for filing your LLC formation document (known as the Certificate of Formation).

Having said that, the total cost of forming a Washington LLC will depend on several factors, including your personal preferences and business needs.

In our How Much Does an LLC Cost in Washington article, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about the different costs associated with launching and maintaining an LLC.

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LLC Cost in Washington State

In the table below, you can find a summary of the main requirements of forming a Washington limited liability company (LLC) and their associated fees.

                                                                   
RequirementFee
Certificate of Formation$180-$200+
Registered Agent Fee$0-$130+
LLC Name$0-$35
State Business License Fee$50+
Operating Agreement$0+

Washington State LLC Filing Fee ($180-$200+)

In order to be legally registered, all LLCs operating in Washington are required to submit specific formation documents with the Secretary of State. For domestic entities this is the Certificate of Formation, while foreign entities must submit a Foreign Registration Statement instead.

Regardless of whether you’re filing as a domestic or foreign entity, it will cost you $180 to file these documents by mail, or $200 if you do so online through the Washington Corporations and Charities FIling System.

On top of this, all newly formed LLCs must also submit an initial report to the Corporations and Charities Division. This is free if submitted with your origination document, or $10 if submitted within 120 days of being registered.

However, if you choose to use an LLC formation service, the total cost will be a little higher as it will include a small service fee in addition to the state filing fees outlined above.

The typical cost of these LLC formation services can range significantly, but normally start from as low as $29, increasing if you decide to purchase any additional offerings.

Note: For more details on the formation process you can check out our Washington LLC Formation guide.

Washington State Registered Agent ($0+)

As part of the process of filling out either your Washington LLC Certificate of Formation or Foreign Registration Statement, you’ll be required to appoint a registered agent. This is a Washington resident or entity that you must assign to accept legal documents — as well as tax and governmental correspondence — on behalf of your LLC.

While you can act as your own registered agent at no cost, it’s often recommended to hire a professional service so you avoid any potential penalties or legal issues caused by non-compliance with state regulations. This can also be a way of ensuring that your personal information is kept off public records.

While the exact Washington registered agent fee you’ll be required to pay will depend on the specific provider you choose, you’ll typically be required to pay around $130+ per year.

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Naming Your Washington State LLC ($0-$35)

When forming your Washington LLC, you’ll be required to pick a suitable name that’s available to use.

While registering a name in itself has no cost, there are two potential costs to be aware of when naming your LLC.

Reserving Name

If you’ve already decided upon a name for your LLC but aren’t looking to form a business right now, you can safeguard it for later use by filing a Name Reservation Form with the Washington Secretary of State.

Filing this form costs $30 and will keep your name safe for a period of 120 days. After this time, you’ll need to decide whether to renew this reservation (and pay another $30 filing fee) or proceed to create your LLC.

Note: We recommend completing an Advanced Business Search on the Washington Corporations and Charities Filing System website to check if your desired name is actually available for use.

When choosing a name for your LLC, it’s important to select one that corresponds to an available domain. This is because a matching domain ensures consistency between your LLC’s name and its online presence, which helps to strengthen its brand recognition and credibility.

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Doing Business As (DBA) Name

If you want to operate your Washington business under a name other than the one it’s currently legally registered as, you’ll need to obtain a Doing Business As (DBA) name — which is also known as a Trade Name in Washington.

In order to secure a DBA name for your Oklahoma LLC, you will need to file a Trade Name Report with the Secretary of State, which costs $5.

Note: DBA names in Oklahoma have no expiration date, so you won’t ever need to pay again in order to renew one.

Washington State Business License Fee ($50+)

Along with a small minority of states, Washington requires almost all businesses based within its borders to apply for a business license in order to operate legally. Applications for this license cost $50 and can either be made online through the My DOR platform, or by mail.

This license is incredibly important, registering your LLC with the Washington State Departments of Employment Security, Labor & Industries, and Revenue all at once.

On top of this base fee of $50, certain extras called “endorsements” may need to be added as part of this business license application if you work in certain industries.

The cost of these endorsements is entirely unique to each one, as they can range from as low as $25 for lottery retailers to $5000 for a Transportation Network Company (TNC).

Note: You can find a full list of these endorsements and their respective costs on the Department of Revenue’s State Endorsement Fee Sheet.

Washington State LLC Operating Agreement ($0+)

While not mandatory, it’s good practice for Washington LLCs to have an operating agreement.

This document defines the roles and responsibilities of the members or managers in your LLC and will help prevent and solve any business disputes that may arise later on.

While you can opt to hire an online service or business attorney to draft this document for you (which typically costs at least a few hundred dollars), it’s actually quite straightforward to make a Washington LLC operating agreement yourself at no extra cost.

It’s also important to note that this doesn’t actually need to be filed with the Washington Secretary of State — it’s purely an internal document.

Additional Washington State LLC Formation Costs

On top of the more common fees outlined above, there are a number of potential additional formation costs that LLCs in Washington may encounter depending on their circumstances.

We’ve summarized some of these additional costs below:

Expedited Washington State LLC Filing

The Washington Secretary of State typically processes documents within two days if filed online, while mail submissions will take a little while longer to process.

If you want your LLC’s Certificate of Formation to be processed more quickly than this, you can pay extra for the following expedited handling services:

  • Two days: $100 (mail submissions only)
  • Same day: $150 (front-counter submissions received before 3:30 p.m. only)

These additional fees are the same regardless of whether you’re filing for a domestic or foreign LLC.

Local Business Licenses

In order to comply with the local-level regulations of your city and county, your business may be required to obtain some local business licenses. While very few municipalities impose a general licensing requirement for businesses operating within their limits, your LLC might need a specific business license if it’s involved in certain activities.

For example, LLCs based in the city of Aberdeen must obtain a general business license worth $25, while an equivalent license in the cities of Black Diamond and Algona costs $70 and $250 respectively.

This is generally reflective of the licensing situation in most Washington municipalities, with business licenses typically ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars. These local licenses can be added as endorsements on your Washington state business license application.

Note: For a more exact estimation of how much your business may need to pay, you’ll need to refer to the Washington State Department of Revenue’s City Endorsements page.

Certificate of Existence

A Certificate of Existence is a document often required to open a business bank account, or by lenders in order to check that your LLC is properly registered and legally authorized to conduct business with the state.

You can request this certificate from the Washington Secretary of State for a fee of $20 by mail or online. However, you can also pay for expedited delivery — which is an extra $20 when filing online, or an extra $50 if filing by mail.

Note: For foreign entities this document is known as a Certificate of Authorization, though it costs the same to obtain.

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Cost to Maintain an LLC in Washington State

In addition to the cost of forming an LLC in Washington, there are also several ongoing costs you’ll be responsible for paying each year.

We’ve outlined these recurring costs associated with maintaining a Washington LLC below.

Annual Report

On top of an initial report, all newly formed LLCs will be required to submit an annual report and pay a $70 Washington LLC filing fee by the end of their first year of operation. This report will keep your Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number active and your business in good standing.

The deadline for this report is the last day of the anniversary of the month in which your LLC was initially formed, and you will be able to file your Washington LLC annual report anytime within 180 days of this date.

Note: If you fail to meet this deadline, you’ll be charged an additional late fee of $25.

Registered Agent Maintenance

If you decide to take advantage of a professional registered agent in order to handle your legal documents, you’ll be required to pay an annual fee in return for their services. This fee commonly ranges between $35 and $300 depending on the provider and features you select.

While you’re not required to use a professional registered agent service, it’s highly recommended for most small LLC owners.

Taxes

In addition to the federal tax obligations your LLC owes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are a variety of state-specific Washington business taxes you need to be aware of, including:

  • Business and Occupation Tax
  • Sales tax
  • Employment taxes
  • Business privilege taxes
  • Property taxes

Additionally, there are various local taxes your LLC may need to pay depending on the municipality or county it’s based in, such as:

  • Sales and use taxes
  • Property tax

Washington State vs Other States

While it’s not the most expensive state in which to form an LLC — with an initial startup fee of at least $180 and ongoing costs of around $70 — there are certainly cheaper alternatives.

As an example, it would be much cheaper in the long run to form an LLC in Texas due to its lack of ongoing maintenance costs.

Ultimately, however, the best state to form your LLC will be one in which you plan to primarily operate your business from.

This makes it far easier to stay legally compliant on a number of levels, including taxation, licensing, and filing requirements, as you’ll only need to deal with one state’s set of rules.

LLC Cost in Washington FAQ

What are the requirements for an LLC in Washington State?

To form an LLC in Washington State, you need to file your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State, appoint a registered agent, submit an initial report, and apply for a Washington State business license. Depending on your location and industry, you will probably also need additional local and professional licenses.

How much does it cost to register a business in Washington State?

The typical Washington State LLC cost is around $250. This is enough to cover the cost of filing your LLC’s Certificate of Formation, register a trade name, and pay your initial report. However, there are certain optional costs that can increase this figure. For more information, see our article on How Much Does it Cost to Start an LLC.

How long does it take to form an LLC in Washington State?

You can expect it to typically take around one to two weeks to form an LLC in Washington State, though it’s important to note that the processing time may vary depending on factors such as the workload of the Secretary of State’s office and the accuracy of the submitted documents. For a more detailed look into the formation steps, check out our guide on How to Start an LLC in Washington.

What taxes does an LLC pay in Washington State?

LLCs in Washington State are subject to various taxes, including the state’s Business & Occupation (B&O) tax, which is based on gross receipts, and the state’s sales tax. Additionally, LLCs may be subject to federal taxes such as income tax and self-employment tax. For a deeper look into the total LLC cost, Washington business owners have to check out our How Much Does an LLC Cost in Washington guide.

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