1. How to File a DBA in Washington
2. Requirements for Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Washington

Updated October 29, 2020:

To add DBA to LLC Washington State, you must submit your application to the State Business Licensing Service, along with the prescribed filing fee. Obtaining a DBA, or Doing Business As, allows you to conduct business in a separate name than your own legal name. A DBA is usually obtained by sole proprietorship businesses since companies and corporations already have a separate name as part of their identity.

How to File a DBA in Washington

Secure Your Brand Name

In Washington, you don't need to register a sole proprietorship business, that is in your own name. However, to set up a business under a different name than your own legal name, you must pay a fee of $5 and register it with the State Business Licensing Service.

Before registering your business name, perform a name search with the Washington Secretary of State in order to make sure that it's not the same as or too similar to an existing business name. You should also conduct a search with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) in order to avoid violating someone else's trademark or brand name.

Complete the Application

Take a printout of your business license application. Make sure you fill out the form correctly. If required, use assistance from a professional or someone experienced. Sign the application and submit it to the state agency. Note that a filing fee of $19 must be paid for submitting this form. You can also apply online but even if you do so, it's better to keep a hard copy with you for your record.

If you need any clarification or information on the online application process, you should visit Washington State's Department of Revenue website, and sign up for an account.

Submit the Application Form

Once you have completed the application form for a business license, get it notarized and sealed by an appropriate authority.

Remember that before applying for a business license, you must have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you haven't obtained it yet, you can apply for one online through the IRS website.

Requirements for Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Washington

Company Name

Your Washington LLC name must include any of the following words or phrases:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Liability Co.
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC

Moreover, the name you choose must be clearly distinguishable from that of other businesses registered with the Washington Secretary of State.

Members and Managers

Washington LLCs must comply with the following requirements with respect to members and managers:

  • An LLC must have a minimum of one member.
  • There is no specific requirement that the members or managers must be residents of Washington.
  • There is no specific requirement regarding the age of a member or manager.
  • Washington does not require you to include the names and addresses of members and managers in the Certificate of Formation.

Certificate of Formation

To form an LLC in Washington, you must file the Certificate of Formation along with the filing fee. The certificate of Formation must include the following information:

  • Name and address of the company's principal place of business. It doesn't matter whether this address is located in or outside of Washington. The address must contain the complete street address. You can also include a PO box number, but it should not be in lieu of the street address.
  • Date of formation, whether immediately or future date (within 90 days of filing the formation documents.)
  • Duration of the LLC, whether perpetual or for a certain period of time.
  • Type of LLC, whether member-managed or manager-managed.
  • Name and address of your registered agent along with its consent.
  • Name, address, and signature of each of the executors or organizers.

Registered Agent

All LLCs in Washington must appoint a registered agent having a physical address in the state. You must include the name and physical address of the registered agent in your company's Certificate of Formation. In addition to the physical address, you can also include a mailing address. The registered agent must consent to his or her appointment by signing the Certificate of Formation.

Initial Report

Some states have additional requirements for forming an LLC. These include county-level filing, initial report filing, and publishing a newspaper notice. In Washington, you file an initial report within 120 days of filing the Certificate of Formation.

Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)

Professionals like attorneys, accountants, and physicians can form a PLLC in Washington.

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