Last updated May 30, 2020
How much does it cost to form an LLC in the District of Columbia?
Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in the District of Columbia.
District of Columbia LLC Costs:
District of Columbia LLC formation: $220 (one-time)
District of Columbia LLC biennial report: $300 (every 2 years)
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Costs of setting up a Washington DC LLC
Forming an LLC in Washington DC costs $220, but that’s just the filing fee for the Articles of Organization. What about the other costs to form a Washington DC LLC?
Besides the $220 filing fee, there are a few other costs to consider before forming an LLC in Washington DC.
Things like whether or not you want to hire a Registered Agent, the Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit, your Basic Business License, and your LLC’s Biennial Report.
Note: For instructions on how to form an LLC in Washington DC, please use the links above in the menu (top and center of this page).
The table below shows all the fees for forming an LLC in Washington DC. Further below in the article, you’ll find more detailed explanations of each cost.
Washington DC LLC Costs:
|Registered Agent||$0 or $125 per year|
|Articles of Organization||$220|
|Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit||$72.60|
|Basic Business License||$200 - $500 (every 2 years)|
|Biennial Report||$300 (every 2 years)|
|Taxes||Varies (paid each year)|
Washington DC LLC Name ($0)
There is no cost associated with naming your DC LLC. You are not required to file a Name Reservation or anything like that.
You’ll simply just enter your desired LLC name on the Articles of Organization. Once the DCRA approves your filing, your Washington DC LLC name goes into existence.
Washington DC Registered Agent ($0 or $125/year)
Although some filers choose to hire a Registered Agent, you are not required to hire one when forming an LLC in the District.
So there are no costs associated if you (or someone you know) will be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
On the other hand, if you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, that will cost you about $125 per year.
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a good idea if you want to keep your address off of public records.
Washington DC LLC Articles of Organization ($220)
Forming an LLC in DC requires filing an Articles of Organization.
This can be filed online and the cost is $220 (one-time filing fee).
We recommend filing this online since it’s much easier (and has a faster approval time) than filing your Articles of Organization by mail.
Note: The cost for forming a Washington DC LLC online and by mail are the same; they are both $220.
Once your LLC is approved, the DCRA will send you a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization as well as a Certificate of Organization with the official DC seal. If you filed your LLC online, you’ll be able to download these documents from within your CorpOnline account.
Tax Registration ($0)
Once your Washington DC LLC is approved, you must register it for taxes with the Office of Tax & Revenue (OTR). This is known as filing the FR-500.
There is no cost associated with this tax registration.
Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit ($72.60)
Every Washington DC LLC needs to get either a Certificate of Occupancy or a Home Occupation Permit.
A Certificate of Occupancy is used for a commercial building and a Home Occupation Permit is used for a residential building.
If you’re renting office space you can most likely use the Certificate of Occupancy that’s already in place for the building, but if you’re developing a new commercial space or you already own a commercial building, then you’ll need to apply for your own Certificate of Occupancy.
The cost for a Certificate of Occupancy starts at $72.60, however, it may be more depending on the square footage of the building.
If you’re going to run from your business from home, you will need a Home Occupation Permit. The cost for a Home Occupation Permit is $72.60.
Both the Certificate of Occupancy and Home Occupation Permit are one-time fees. Meaning, you don’t need to renew them.
You only need to get a new Certificate of Occupancy if you purchase or move to a new building. And you only need to get a new Home Occupation Permit if you move or change the purpose of your business.
Basic Business License ($200 – $500 every 2 years)
Every Washington DC LLC also needs to get a Basic Business License (BBL).
Before you can apply for a Basic Business License:
- your LLC needs to be approved
- your LLC needs an EIN Number from the IRS
- your LLC needs to register for taxes
- your LLC needs a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit
The reason that the fees for the Basic Business License vary is they depend upon your LLC’s endorsement category. Think of an endorsement category as the type of business activities your LLC will partake in.
The Basic Business License fee is good for 2 years. Alternatively, you can choose to pay double and your Basic Business License will be good for 4 years.
Some Basic Business License endorsement categories cost as little as $150 every 2 years and some can be as high as $500 every 2 years. Again, it all depends on the endorsement category that is applicable to your Washington DC LLC.
Washington DC LLC Operating Agreement ($0)
Most websites charge $50 – $200 for an LLC Operating Agreement.
However, we offer free Operating Agreement templates – for Member-Managed LLCs and Manager-Managed LLCs – that you can download. Click on the “Operating Agreement” link at the top of this page.
Washington DC LLC EIN Number ($0)
Note: An EIN Number is also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Federal Tax ID Number (FEIN). They all mean the same thing.
While there are many websites that charge a service fee to obtain an EIN for your LLC, it’s actually free ($0) to get an EIN from the IRS.
We have step-by-step instructions on how to get an EIN for your DC LLC. The link is at the top of this page.
Washington DC LLC Biennial Report ($300 every 2 years)
All LLCs in Washington DC need to file a Biennial Report, which is due every 2 years. The fee for a Biennial Report is $300.
The LLC Biennial Report must be filed in order to keep your LLC in good standing within the District.
If you don’t file your LLC Biennial Report, you will be charged a $100 penalty. If you continue to ignore the Biennial Report filing requirement, the DCRA will shut down your LLC.
Washington DC LLC Taxes (varies)
There are many different types of taxes that we as business owners must pay. Federal income tax, DC taxes, payroll tax (if we have employees), sales and use tax, and more.
How much you’ll pay in taxes can be determined by working with a qualified accountant in the District.
The amount you’ll pay your accountant will vary, but most accountants will cost between $400 to $900 per year.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
You can certainly hire an attorney to form an LLC in Washington DC, but this is not a requirement.
Hiring an attorney to form a Washington DC LLC will usually cost somewhere between $500 to $2,500 (depending on the attorney). That will be in addition to the $220 LLC filing fee.
On the other hand, if you’d like to follow our free Washington DC LLC lessons, you can form your LLC yourself.
There is no cost associated with following our DC LLC course (again, links are at the top of this page).
Should I hire an LLC filing service?
Using an LLC filing service will usually cost somewhere between $50 to $400, depending on the company.
Washington DC LLC Filing Cost
The total DC LLC filing costs (the cost to create the LLC) are $220.
Washington DC LLC Recurring Costs
The recurring costs for a Washington DC LLC are $500 – 800, due every 2 years.
This breaks down as follows:
- $300 for the LLC Biennial Report
- $200 – $500 for the Basic Business License Renewal
- $72.60 (one-time fee) for a Certificate of Occupancy or a Home Occupation Permit
- $125 (per year) if you hire a Registered Agent in Washington DC
And of course there’s taxes, which include the amount you pay in taxes and how much you pay your accountant for their services. This will vary quite a lot and we’re not able to provide an estimate. You’ll need to speak to a few accountants regarding your business.