Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Washington.
Washington LLC Costs:
Washington LLC state filing fee: $200
Washington LLC annual report fee: $60
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How much does an LLC cost in Washington state?
Forming an LLC in Washington state costs $200, but that’s just the filing fee for the Certificate of Formation. What about the other costs to form a Washington LLC?
Besides the filing fee, there are a few other costs to consider before forming an LLC in Washington State. Things like whether or not you’ll hire a Registered Agent, your LLC’s Annual Report fee, and your Business License Application fee.
First, we’ll include an overview of the LLC fees in Washington State. Then below you can find an explanation on each section. For even more details and step-by-step instructions, you’ll find links below to our various Washington LLC lessons.
Washington State LLC Costs:
(see below table for explanation and details)
|Registered Agent||$0 or $125 (per year)|
|Certificate of Formation||$200 (one-time)|
|Annual Report||$60 (per year)|
|State Business License Application||$90 (one-time)|
|City Business License||Varies (renewed each year)|
|Specialty Business License||Varies (renewed each year)|
|Trade Name (DBA)||$5 (if applicable)|
|Taxes||Varies (paid each year)|
Washington LLC Name ($0)
There is no cost associated with naming your Washington 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 Certificate of Formation. Once the state approves your filing, your LLC name goes into existence.
Washington 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 Washington.
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 hire a Commercial Registered Agent, the cost will be $125 per year.
Washington LLC Certificate of Formation ($200)
While you can file your Certificate of Formation by mail for $180, the state prefers (and we recommend) the online filing, which costs $200.
The online filing is easier, has a faster approval time, and it includes the required Initial Report at no additional cost.
On the other hand, if you were to file by mail, the Initial Report would need to be filed separately and costs an extra $30.
Forming your LLC by mail takes 7-10 business days for approval, while forming your LLC online takes 2-3 business days for approval.
This is the reason we mention $200 and not $180.
Washington LLC Operating Agreement ($0)
Other sites do sell Operating Agreements for $50 to $200. However, you can usually find an Operating Agreement template to download for free. We have them available on our website.
Washington LLC EIN Number ($0)
Note: An EIN Number is also known as an Employer Identification Number or a Federal Tax ID Number.
Other websites sell this as a service, however, there is no actual cost associated with getting an EIN for your LLC.
This is provided free from the IRS.
You can obtain an EIN after your Washington LLC is approved.
Washington LLC Annual Report ($60/year)
All Washington LLCs must file an Annual Report. It is due each year during your LLC’s anniversary month (the month your LLC was approved).
The fee each year is $60.
Washington LLC Business License Application ($90)
All Washington LLCs must apply for a State Business License for they begin conducting business.
The term “state business license” is a little confusing though, because in addition to being an actual business license, it’s also a “bulk registration” application that will register your LLC for taxes as well as a number of other things.
Your LLC will get a State Business License in addition to a City Business License (depending on the city) and a Speciality Business License (depending on the industry).
If you have employees, the business license application will also register your Washington LLC with the Department of Labor & Industries and the Employment Security Department.
Additionally – (and this is optional) – if your LLC wants to do business under a name different than its true and legal name, you can register for a Trade Name (aka DBA) for your LLC via the Business License Application.
The State Business License (“bulk registration”) costs $90. This is a one-time fee and the State Business License lasts forever. However, the City Business License and Specialty Business License (if applicable) have an initial fee, but you are also required to renew these licenses each year.
City Business License, aka “City Endorsement” (varies)
A City Business License is required for most LLCs in Washington.
Depending on the city where your LLC exists (or is operating), your City Business License may be “wrapped into” the State Business License Application. If not, you may need to go through FileLocal (if your LLC is located in the Puget Sound region).
Either way, there is an initial fee for the City Business License as well as an annual renewal fee.
Some cities don’t charge anything (you just have to register), while some cities are $5 or $10. And others can be as high as $100 to $150. The average City Business License fee (and annual renewal) is about $40 to $50.
Specialty Business License, aka “Specialty Endorsement” (varies)
If the industry your LLC works in poses a risk to the public or customers, your LLC may need to get a Specialty Business License. Said another way, businesses that are more regulated or have safety concerns have extra licensing requirements.
Depending on the industry, you may be able to get your Specialty Business License during the Business License Application or you may have to apply for it manually outside of the Business License Application.
Trade Name ($5)
A Trade Name (aka DBA/”doing business as”) is not required for an LLC in Washington. You can just do business under your LLC’s registered name.
However, if you’d like to do business under a different name, you can register a Trade Name during the Business License Application. The cost for each Trade Name in Washington is just $5.
Washington LLC Taxes (varies)
There are many different types of taxes that we as business owners must pay. Federal income tax, business & occupation (B&O) tax, sales tax, payroll tax (if we have employees), sales and use tax, property tax (if the LLC owns property), and more.
How much you’ll pay in taxes can only be determined by working with a qualified accountant in your area.
The amount you’ll pay your accountant will also vary, but most accountants for a new business starting out will cost between a few hundred dollars per year to about $1,000 or $1,200 on the more expensive end.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
While you certainly can hire an attorney to form an LLC, this is not a requirement.
Hiring an attorney to form an LLC could cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500, depending on who you hire.
On the other hand, if you’d like to follow our free LLC lessons, you can form an LLC in Washington yourself. There is no cost associated with following our course. You can find the lessons at the top of this page.
Should I hire an LLC filing service?
While you can also hire an LLC filing service to form an LLC in Washington, this is not a requirement either.
Hiring an LLC filing service can cost anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars.
Summary of Washington LLC Fees
The “base cost” to form an LLC in Washington State is $200. Then the Business License Application will cost $90 plus your City Endorsement, which for most will average out to about $50. So the average base cost is $340 to form a Washington LLC.
The required ongoing costs for a Washington LLC will be $60 per year for the Annual Report plus the cost of the City Endorsement renewal. Again, let’s use $50 per year as an average. So in that case, required annual LLC costs will be about $110 per year.
If you hire a Commercial Registered Agent, that’ll cost about $125 per year.
If your Washington LLC requires a Specialty Endorsement, that’ll likely cost a couple hundred dollars per year (most businesses won’t need this though).
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 widely and we’re not able to provide an estimate. You’ll need to speak to a few accountants regarding the specifics of your business.
Washington State Legislature: RCW 25.15.106
Washington State Legislature: RCW 23.95.255
Washington State Legislature: RCW 23.95.260
Washington State Legislature: WAC 434-112-075
Washington Corporations Division: Annual Reports
Washington Department of Revenue: Business Licensing and renewals FAQs
Washington Department of Revenue: Get or renew your business license
Washington Corporations Division: Fee Schedule and Expedited Service
Washington Corporations Division: Certificate of Formation and instructions
Washington Corporations Division: Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Online and Paper Registrations