Washington Business Entity Search: Everything You Need to Know
A Washington State business search is the first step toward forming your Washington LLC.3 min read
Washington LLC Name Search
A Washington State business search is the first step toward forming your Washington LLC. A business search ensures that the name you desire for your business is available for use.
Name Requirements when Forming a Washington LLC
You will need to follow these naming requirements when forming your LLC in Washington:
- You must use ‘LLC' or ‘L.L.C.' at the end of your business's name
- You cannot use ‘Corporation', ‘Corp.', ‘Incorporated', or ‘Inc.' in your name, as LLCs in Washington are not corporations
- The name of your LLC must be distinct from all other businesses that are registered in the State of Washington
- Altering grammar or changing designations will not make your LLC name distinct enough to be registered in Washington
Washington SOS Business Entity Search Steps
Once you understand Washington LLC naming requirements, you can use the Washington Secretary of State business entity search to see if your desired name is available.
First, you should visit the Washington Corporations Search page. Next, locate the ‘Organization Name' box, enter the desired name of your LLC, and then click ‘Search'.
Always make sure you've selected the default option of ‘Name Starts With'. You do not need to worry about capitalization, and you can also leave out identifiers.
After submitting your search term, you can browse the results in Washington state. If you see a message that states ‘Your search didn't return any results', you are free you use your desired name. You can also use your preferred LLC name if the results you find are not similar to your LLC name.
If you find an existing LLC that is very similar to the name of LLC, you will need to choose a new and distinguishable name.
During your search, you will be provided with a list of business names in the state. Any information that has been recorded in the Public Access System will be viewable. If you're not sure about the uniqueness of your LLC name, you should not file your papers with the State of Washington. The $180 fee filing fee required in Washington is non-refundable.
Unless the Washington Secretary of State has approved your LLC, you should not request a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN). You should also refrain from purchasing a domain name or business items such as a letterhead or business cards until your LLC is approved.
Washington Secretary of State Contact Info
For assistance checking the availability of your LLC name, or to get answers you your questions about forming an LLC in Washington, you can contact the Secretary of state Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, by calling 360-725-0377.
Unified Business Identifier (UBI) Search Steps
If you wish to search for only your business entity, you can perform a unified business identifier (UBI) search. When you perform a UBI search, you will need to enter your identifier number in the right field and then click ‘Search'.
If you have submitted your identifier correctly, you will be presented with the name of the business. Then, you will be able to review information about the business contained in the Public Access System. This includes governing members, the business's registered agent, and the expiration date of the business.
Advanced Search Steps
An advanced search is available for people seeking the narrowest search results possible.
Some of the parameters available in the advanced search include:
- Name of the business
- The type of business
- Whether the business is active
- Information about the governing members
- Name of the registered agent
- Business address
To perform an advanced search, you will first need to enter every piece of information you want searched and then click ‘Search'. After submitting this information, you will receive a list of businesses that match your terms. You can then select one of these businesses to review its information.
Certain documents, including a Certificate of Existence, can be purchased if you desire further information.
Washington Business Resource
When you start a business in Washington, you are required to register for taxes that are applicable to your business. The Business and Occupation Tax, Retail Sales Tax, Use Tax, and Unemployment Insurance Tax are all taxes that may apply to your business in Washington.
Depending on the services and products offered by your business, you may also be required to pay the following taxes:
- Convention and trade center tax
- Rental car tax
- Tobacco products tax
- Public utilities tax
If you need help performing a Washington State business name search, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.