A Washington Secretary of State business registration is required by law in order to create a limited liability company, known as an LLC. An LLC is a legal business entity that combines the simplicity of annual filings and protection of a partnership with the protection of a corporation.

Steps To Form a Washington Limited Liability Company

1. Choose a business name for the company.

It is required to include LLC in the name of the business that is chosen. In addition, the business name must be easily distinguishable from any other business names in the state of Washington.

2. Select a registered agent for the company.

This is the person or business who will be designated to accept legal or official documents in regards to the business. You can be your own registered agent for the company or hire a third-party agency.

3. Select a registration method.

The registration form can be sent electronically on the Secretary of State website or can be printed and mailed.

4. Complete the certificate of formation.

Some of the information required includes:

  • Name and address of the company
  • Date the company is planned to form
  • Ownership stake in the company
  • Name and address of the registered agent

There are requirements when sending the certificate of formation. In order to avoid delays, it should be confirmed that all requirements have been met before sending the request.

5. File the certificate of formation.

When filing the certificate of formation, fees for the filing will also need to be sent to the Secretary of State.

Registering an Out-of-State Business

There is an additional process for registering an out-of-state corporation. This is referred to as a foreign corporation, and the entity must obtain a certificate of authority from the state before they can conduct business. The process is somewhat similar to registering a new business but has additional requirements.

Steps To Form an Out-of-State Business

1. Request a certificate of existence.

The certificate of existence must be requested from the current state of business in order to show that the company is active and does not owe any backed reporting fees.

2. Locate a registered change agent.

A registered agent must be chosen for the company. A third-party can be hired, or the owner can file to be their own registered agent.

3. File the certificate of authority.

The certificate of authority can be completed and submitted online or printed and mailed to the state.

4. Receive certificate of authority and UBI Number.

The time it takes to receive the certificate of authority is generally about a week. A few extra days may be added in if the request was submitted by mail.

Become Your Own Registered Agent

It's fairly simple to become your own registered agent in the state of Washington.

1. Have the name of your business or legal entity, the name and address of the current agent, and the name and address of the new agent.

2. Have the unified business identifier, also known as the UBI Number.

3. File the Washington Secretary of State statement of change online on the Washington State website.

The statement of change can also be printed and mailed. The form can also be found on the Washington State website.

After printing and completing the form, it should be mailed to:

Secretary of State

Corporation Division

801 Capitol Way S

P.O. Box 40234

Olympia, WA 98504-0234

There are certain fees required to be sent with the form, so the Washington State website should be reviewed to ensure you send all of the correct requirements. If possible, the form should be completed online to have the process completed more quickly. When submitting online, the agent should be updated by the next business day. If sending by mail, it can take between three and four weeks.

Filing an Initial Report

After the company begins business, an initial report must be filed. The report is due within 120 days of filing the certificate of formation and should be submitted to the Washington Secretary of State. The initial report can be included when submitting the certificate of formation. If the company already has the certificate of formation, the initial report can be mailed along with the $10 fee.

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