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How to Start an LLC in Washington State – Complete 2024 Guide

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Are you excited to start your LLC in Washington? It’s easier than you think, and I’m here to walk you through it step-by-step. Northwest Registered Agent can handle everything if you’d rather skip the details. But if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, let’s get started! Are you excited to start your LLC in Washington? It’s easier than you think, and I’m here to walk you through it step-by-step. Northwest Registered Agent can handle everything if you’d rather skip the details. But if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, let’s get started!

Step 1: Choosing a Name for Your LLC

First things first, your LLC needs a name. Washington has a couple of simple rules here:
  • In the name, include something like “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” the words “limited liability,” and the abbreviation “Co,” or the abbreviation “LLC” or “LL. “Make sure your name differs from others; just changing the spelling or adding a symbol won’t cut it. 
  • Steer clear of words like “Cooperative,” “Partnership,” “Incorporated” or “Corporation,” and some particular words like “Bank” or “Lawyer” might need extra paperwork or the abbreviations “Corp.,” “Ltd.,” or “Inc.,” or “LP,” “LP,” “LLP,” “LLP,” “LLLP,” “LLLP,” or any words or phrases prohibited by any statute of this state.
You can check your name online to see if your chosen name is available. Consider getting a website name that matches your business name. You can find good deals for your website domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: Appointing a Registered Agent in

Your LLC needs a Registered Agent in Washington. This person or company will handle all your essential paperwork. They must have a Washington address and be available during business hours. Remember that while someone in your LLC can be the Registered Agent, their address will be public. Alternatively, you can use a legal service specializing in this area, services to Complete the Formation Process. You can bypass these six steps using a third-party service such as Northwest Registered Agent or Bizee.

Step 3: Filling Out Your Washington LLC Certificate of Formation

Now, let’s make your LLC official! The next step to setting up an LLC in Washington is to submit the official formation document, also known as the Articles of Organization (or similar document). You’ll fill out the Certificate of Formation with:
  • Your LLC’s name and address.
  • Your Registered Agent’s details.
  • The purpose of your LLC.
  • How long will your LLC last (if it’s not forever)?
You can file this online for $200 or by mail for $180. Visit www.sos.wa.gov/corps or go to their office in Olympia to do it in person. You can grab your business license from the Department of Revenue. Usually, it takes about ten working days to get everything sorted, but if your business needs some extra stamps of approval from the city or state, it might take up to 3 weeks. The cost of applying depends on what kind of business you’re running and if you need any special endorsements.  Step 4: Make Your LLC Operating Agreement Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC. Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:
  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. I
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.
Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of headaches!

Step 5: Getting Your Washington EIN

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.  It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small

Step 6: Getting the Right Permits & Licenses

Depending on your business, you might need specific permits or licenses – like health permits for a restaurant. Most companies in Washington require a business license, especially if you’re selling stuff, have employees, or are making over $12,000. Check with Washington’s Business Licensing Service or use their online wizard for specific industry licenses. The cost varies depending on what you need.

New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

  • Effective from January 1, 2024
Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:
  • First Report Deadlines:
    • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
    • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.
  • Who Needs to Report:
    • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
    • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.
Exceptions to Reporting:
  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.
What Must Be Reported What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control. When Must Reporting File Reports Timing is key! Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation. Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:
  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.
Penalties for Noncompliance:
  • False Information: Providing false information or failing to report accurately is a big no-no.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. They’re not trying to trip you up; they want to help you get it right.
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.
If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.  

What to Do After You’ve Started an LLC 

Open a Separate Business Bank Account: Keeping your personal and business money apart is super important. Mixing them up can cause significant problems, like losing the protection of having an LLC. This mix-up is sometimes called “piercing the corporate veil,” it can put your stuff, like your car or house, at risk if your business runs into trouble. To open a business bank account, you’ll need:
  • Your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
  • Your Operating Agreement.
  • Your Employer Identification Number (EIN).
When picking a bank for your business, consider the fees, minimum deposits, and benefits (like earning interest) they offer. Look for features that help your business, like using a debit card to pay for things. Get a Business Credit Card A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review.   Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024. Set Up Your Finances Right: Use good habits to track your money. This means not mixing your cash with your business’s. Good record-keeping makes tax time less stressful and helps avoid problems with the rules. You should use a program like QuickBooks to track your money, inventory, payroll, and sales. Talking to professionals like accountants or business lawyers is also intelligent, especially in understanding Indiana’s tax rules. Find experts who know a lot about the area where your business is. Create a Professional Website: Having a website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both excellent options to get your site up and running. Announce Your Business with a Press Release: A press release is a fantastic way to promote your new business and attract customers. And that’s it! You’re now ready to start your LLC in Washington. Remember, if you ever feel stuck, services like Northwest Registered Agent or Bizee are just a click away and always ready to help with legal work! This will save you a ton of time as an entrepreneur so that you can focus on other things that will move the needle forward in your business.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent Pricing: What to Expect

Northwest Registered Agent keeps pricing simple. They have a clear, straightforward fee structure, which is a big plus. No hidden fees or surprises – that’s the kind of honesty we all appreciate, right? Why is Their Pricing Affordable?
  • Transparent Costs: They tell you exactly what you’re paying for so you can make informed decisions.
  • Competitive Rates: Their prices align with what you’d expect for top-notch services, ensuring you get good value.
  • One-Stop Shop: Since they offer a whole suite of services, you can bundle things together, potentially saving time and money.
  • Location: They’re headquartered in Spokane, Washington, but don’t worry – they have offices in all 50 states. So, wherever you are in the U.S., they’ve got local expertise ready for you.
  • Experience Counts: These folks have been in the game for over 20 years. That’s a lot of experience under their belt, helping businesses like yours start and grow.
Core Services
  • LLC Formation: Dreaming of starting your own LLC? They can help make that happen.
  • Registered Agent Service: The main event – they’ll be your reliable point of contact for all those essential legal documents.
  • Address Privacy: Keep your address off the public records. It’s all about your privacy.
  • Lifetime Customer Support: Got questions? They’re there for you, not just today, but for the life of your business.
  • Annual Report Reminders: Never miss a deadline with their handy reminders.
  • Online Document Dashboard: All your important documents are organized in one easy-to-access place.
Additional Services (Because There’s Always More)
  • EIN Number: They can help you get your business’s unique tax ID.
  • Annual Report Service: Let them handle your annual reporting needs.
  • Operating Agreements: Need help with the rules for running your LLC? They’ve got you covered.
  • Virtual Office Service: Get a professional business address without the office.
  • S-Corp Election: Thinking about S-Corp status? They can help with that.
  • Mail Forwarding Service: Keep your mail organized and forward it to where you need it.
  • Foreign Qualification: Expanding your business to new states? They can assist.
  • Legal Forms: Access a variety of legal forms easily.
  • Legal Services (in Indiana): If you’re in Indiana, they’ve got specific legal services just for you.
  • Incorporation Services: More than just LLCs, they can help incorporate your business, too.
So, if you’re looking to create an LLC, Northwest Registered Agent is like having a wise old friend in the industry. They ensure everything runs smoothly, keeping you focused on what you love – growing your business. 

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