1717 N Street NW, Suite 1, Washington, DC, 20036 | (202) 403-0599
by Washington DC Registered Agent LLC

HOW TO INCORPORATE IN WASHINGTON DC

Start a Corporation in Washington DC

When most people think of our nation’s capital, they envision politicians and lawyers—but at the heart of DC is business. DC is a thriving center for business growth and innovation, a great community for entrepreneurs and new business owners.

Interested in starting a DC corporation? Incorporating your new business in the District of Columbia will likely involve the following steps:

  • File Washington DC Articles of Organization
  • Write an operating agreement
  • Obtain an EIN and register for local taxes
  • Apply for required permits
  • Apply for a district business license
  • Open a business bank account

You don’t have to navigate DC incorporation on your own. Ask any business legend, and they’ll tell you that the secret to business success isn’t being an expert at everything—it’s in hiring the experts you need. At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, our expertise is in business formation. We incorporate DC businesses daily, and we offer a total incorporation package for as low as $369.


 

What are DC Articles of Incorporation?

Incorporating in Washington DC begins with submitting Washington DC Articles of Incorporation to the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The approval of this document forms and registers your business in the District of Columbia.


 

What do I include in DC Articles of Incorporation?

Your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation requires basic information to form your business, such as your corporation’s name, contact information and number of shares.

  • Corporation Name
    Your Washington DC corporation’s name must include one of the following words or abbreviations: Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.), Company (Co.), or Limited (Ltd.). Words like “bank,” “insurance,” or “credit union” require approval from the Mayor. Check your name’s available with the DC Business Center’s Quick Search.
  • Authorized Shares
    When you form your Washington DC corporation, you also authorize (create) shares of stock. Some or all of these shares can be distributed later on at your organizational meeting. You must authorize at least one share. In your Articles, you’re only required to list the number of shares you’re authorizing.
  • Registered Agent
    Your Washington DC registered agent accepts service of process and official notices on behalf of your DC corporation. A registered agent must either be an individual DC resident or a business registered in the district. In your Articles, you must include the name of your agent and the street address in DC where the agent is regularly available during standard business hours.
  • Miscellaneous Provisions
    In this optional section, you can add any provisions that aren’t inconsistent with the law. For example, if you want to have series or classes of shares (such as common or preferred shares), you could include these designations, along with the rights or limitations for each share type.
  • Incorporators
    Incorporators sign and deliver your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation to the DCRA. Incorporators are required to include their names and addresses. Your incorporator doesn’t have to be a director, officer, or anyone with ownership interest in your corporation. We’ll be your incorporators if you sign up for our incorporation package.

 


 

Submitting DC Articles of Incorporation

Filing Fees

The minimum filing fee is $220. Your filing fee could be more, however, if you authorize an especially large number of shares or if your shares have a particularly high value.

The number of shares you authorize (whether or not they’re issued) is your corporation’s authorized capital. If the value of your authorized capital is $100,000 or more, the filing fee for your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation increases as indicated below:

• $100,000-$500,000 of authorized capital: $550
• $500,001-$1,000,000 of authorized capital: $1100
• $1,000,001+ of authorized capital: $1650

Additionally, expedited options (which vary based on filing type) can increase your fee total as well. You can file your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation online, by mail, or in person.

Online Filings

Use the DCRA’s CorpOnline portal to file online. To create an account, you’ll need to provide your name, address, and email, as well as a username and password. Online filings are payable by Visa or MasterCard.

Optional Expedited Fees:

  • 3 days: + $50
  • 1 day: + $100

 

By Mail

Download a paper Washington DC Articles of Incorporation form from the DCRA for both mailed and in-person filings. Mailed filings are payable by check or money order. Expedited filing is not typically available.

In-Person

Your filing is automatically considered expedited and is processed the same day when you file in person. In-person filings are payable by cash, check, money order, Visa or MasterCard.

Required Expedited Fees:

  • 1 day: + $100

 


 

Why Us?

At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we form DC businesses, assist businesses with maintaining compliance, and provide registered agent service—and that’s all we do. So, it’s essential for us to be the best. We’ve developed a comprehensive incorporation package that provides you a fully functional corporation at a great price.

  • A Year of Registered Agent Service
    Our expert registered agent service is ready and available so you’re free to run your business.
  • Immediate Access to Secure Digital Client Account
    Find your scanned documents and access free, helpful resources, such as business forms pre-filled with your corporation’s information.
  • Same-Day Document Scans for All Service of Process
    We ensure you receive important documents fast.
  • Biennial Report Reminders and Compliance Notifications
    Our compliance tools help you never forget a filing requirement.
  • Expert Customer Service Support
    Contact our friendly, knowledgeable staff for assistance.
  • Use of Our Commercial Address on Business Filings
    Avoid spam and solicitors by listing our address on public documents like your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation.
  • Custom Documents
    We provide your Washington DC corporation with bylaws, initial resolutions and more!
Service Standard 15 Days Expedited 3 Days Expedited 1 Day
District of Columbia Filing Fees $220 $270 $320
Our Formative Service Fee $100 $100 $100
1 Year Registered Agent Service $49 $49 $49
Total $369 $419 $469

While our incorporation package is comprehensive, we understand some DC corporations want extras, like corporate books and seals. We offer these as well—for a full list of additional services, check out our order form.


 

FAQ for Washington DC Corporations

Incorporating in our nation’s capital involves quite a few requirements. Common questions about registered agents, licenses, reports and more are answered below.

Why do I need a registered agent?

Washington DC requires corporations to appoint a registered agent in their Articles of Incorporation and to continuously maintain a registered agent in the district. Having a registered agent is not just a legal requirement, however—it has great advantage as well.

Privacy: When you hire a commercial registered agent like Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, you can list our address on public documents like your Articles of Incorporation. This helps you avoid all the junk mail and hassle that come with a publicly-listed address.

Availability: You don’t have to worry about missing a court summons when you head out to a meeting or take a vacation. Our job is to be available and ensure you never miss an important notice.

Affordability: For just $49 a year, we can service your Washington DC corporation!

What is an organizational meeting?

An organizational meeting is typically the first official meeting held by your corporation. It’s the first opportunity you have to complete the organization of your business. At this meeting, you can appoint officers, issue shares of stock, and adopt bylaws.

At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we help you prepare for your organizational meeting by providing custom bylaws for your Washington DC corporation.

Do I need federal tax ID for my DC corporation?

Yes. Corporations are required to obtain a federal tax ID (called an Employer Identification Number or EIN). EINs are also needed to get a Washington DC business license.

How does my corporation obtain an EIN?

To get an EIN, you can complete apply online on the IRS website at no cost. If you’d prefer us to apply for you, you can add Tax ID service to our formation package for $50.

How do I register for local taxes?

Register with DC’s Office of Tax and Revenue by using their online portal, MyTax DC. If you have employees, you’ll also need to contact the Department of Employment Services.

Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?

If your business operates from a location within Washington DC, you’ll need either a Certificate of Occupancy or a Home Occupation Permit (if you operate out of your home). If you lease a commercial space, you may be covered by your landlord’s Certificate of Occupancy.

Do I need a Washington DC business license?

Before engaging in any business within the District of Columbia, your corporation must obtain a business license.

What is DC’s Personal Property Tax?

In addition to traditional corporate taxes, if your corporation owns or holds personal property in the District of Columbia, you must file a Personal Property Tax return.

Are there exemptions to the Personal Property Tax?

Filing is required, but you are exempt from paying the tax if your personal property value is less than $225,000. Nonprofits, as well as some technology companies and supermarkets are also exempt. Business that already pay certain other taxes, such as the DC Gross Receipts Tax, are exempt as well.

What is considered personal property?

Personal property includes items such as books, furniture, machinery, equipment, supplies, computers, trailers, and unregistered vehicles. You’ll report the current value of this property using the depreciation guidelines in the tax form instructions.

When is the Personal Property Tax due?

July 31st each year.

Why do I need to submit a Washington DC biennial report?

This report updates the District of Columbia on your corporation’s current ownership and contact information, including your principal office and registered agent. This helps ensure that the district maintains a reliable channel of communication with your corporation.

When is the Washington DC biennial report due?

The reports are always due on April 1st. Your first report is due the year after registering your business in DC. Afterwards, your reports are due every two years.

How can I submit my biennial report?

To file online, you can use CorpOnline. For mail or in-person filings, download a Two-Year Report Form from the DCRA.

How much does it cost to file a biennial report?

The filing fee is $300. Expedited filings are $100 for 1-day processing and $50 for 3-day processing. In-person filings are automatically assessed the same-day $100 expedited fee.

What happens if my biennial report is late?

Corporations in default lose their good standing. Late filings also incur a $100 late fee.


 

Why hire Washington DC Registered Agent LLC?

Take the first step toward making your business vision reality. Hire us at Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, and we’ll create and submit your Washington DC Articles of Organization, give you custom documents, provide you with a year of expert registered agent service and more.


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