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

HOW TO FORM AN LLC IN WASHINGTON DC

Washington DC is a city that loves its paperwork. Starting an LLC in the District of Columbia requires forms, licenses, permits and registrations. While this may be nothing out of the ordinary for DC’s many lawyers and politicians, it can be overwhelming for new business owners.

Although the details differ depending on your business activities, many Washington DC LLCs begin their formation with the following steps:

  1. File Washington DC Articles of Organization
  2. Write an operating agreement
  3. Obtain an EIN and register for local taxes
  4. Apply for required permits
  5. Apply for a district business license
  6. Open a business bank account

Start your Washington DC LLC with confidence. At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we’ve developed a comprehensive formation package that provides you with everything you need to start your business—from registered agent service to custom documents—for as low as $369, including district filing fees.


 

What are Washington DC Articles of Organization?

The first step for all new DC LLCs is filing Articles of Organization. Your Washington DC Articles of Organization are submitted to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to legally form and register your LLC in the District of Columbia.

This document is also called a “Certificate of Organization” in some places, including in the Washington DC Code.


 

What do I include in the Articles of Organization?

The Washington DC Articles of Organization request basic information about your LLC, such as your company’s name and address. The specific information requested in the Articles is explained below:

  • Name of Your LLC

    Your DC LLC’s name must include one of the following: Limited Liability Company, Limited Company, L.L.C., L.C., LLC or LC. The exception is for professional LLCs, which require the words “Professional Limited Liability Company,” “P.L.L.C.” or “PLLC.”

    Names containing “bank,” “banking,” “credit union,” “insurance,” or other similar words need approval by the Mayor. To see if your name is available, you can search for existing corporate registrations using DC Business Center’s Quick Search.

  • Initial Principal Office

    This is your DC LLC’s main business office. You’ll need to include a street address (no PO Boxes).

  • Registered Agent

    Your Washington DC registered agent accepts service of process and official notifications on behalf of your LLC. A registered agent can be an individual resident of DC (such as yourself) or a registered business (like us). Your registered agent must be regularly and reliably available at a street address in DC.

  • Initial Membership Date

    This is the date on which initial members began their membership. Your DC LLC is required to have at least one member upon formation. You can also include the names and addresses of initial members. However, the Articles are a public document, so if privacy is a concern, note this information is optional.

  • Effective Date

    Your effective date is the date your DC LLC begins its existence. If you don’t include a date in this section, your LLC will be created upon your filing’s approval. If you’d like to delay your LLC’s start, you can choose a future effective date up to 90 days in the future.

  • Miscellaneous Provisions

    This section is optional. If you’d like to include other provisions in your Articles, such as a business purpose, you can include that in this section.

  • Organizer

    Your LLC’s organizer signs and files your Washington DC Articles of Organization. Organizers must include their name and address. Your organizer doesn’t have to be a member, manager, or anyone with ownership interest in your company. If you hire us, we’ll be your organizer.

 


 

How do I submit DC Articles of Organization?

There are three options for submitting your Washington DC Articles of Organization: online, by mail, or in person.

Submit Articles by Mail

For both mail and in-person filings, download a paper Washington DC Articles of Organization form from the DCRA. Mailed filings are payable by check or money order. Submit materials and payment to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090
Phone: (202) 442-4400

Filing Fees:

  • Standard (average of 3-4 weeks): $220

 

Submit Articles In-Person

If you file in person, your filing is automatically considered expedited and is processed the same day. In-person filings are payable by cash, check, money order, Visa or MasterCard. To file in-person, bring application and fee to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
Business License Center
1100 4th Street, SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Filing Fees:

  • Expedited 1-day: + $100 ($320 total)

 

Submit Articles Online

To file online, use the DCRA’s CorpOnline portal. You’ll need to create an account first, providing your name, address, email, and a username and password. Online filings are payable by Visa or MasterCard.

Filing Fees:

  • Standard (10 business days): $220
  • Expedited 3-day: + $50 ($270 total)
  • Expedited 1-day: + $100 ($320 total)

 


 

Why hire Washington DC Registered Agent LLC?

Hire us, and you can skip over all this paperwork. We’ll ask you a few simple questions. Then we’ll form and file your Washington DC Articles of Organization within 24 hours. We’ll also provide you with everything you need to launch your new LLC, including:

  • A Complete Year of Registered Agent Service

    Maintain good standing in the district with our fast, secure and affordable registered agent service.

  • Instant Access to Secure Digital Client Portal

    Manage all your scanned documents in your account and find free access to useful resources, such as business forms pre-filled with your LLC’s information.

  • Same-Day Document Scans for All Service of Process

    We ensure you get critical notifications ASAP.

  • Biennial Report Reminders and Compliance Notifications

    We include compliance tools so you never miss a filing requirement.

  • Expert Customer Service Support

    Call for assistance and get a real, knowledgeable person—never an automated operator.

  • Use of Our Commercial Address on Business Filings

    Avoid the junk mail and hassle of a publicly-listed address by listing our address on documents like your Washington DC Articles of Organization.

  • Custom Documents

    Operating agreements, initial resolutions, membership certificates—we provide you with all the organizing documents your DC LLC needs!

At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we believe in transparency. We don’t have hidden fees. We tell you exactly what you get and what we charge:

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

We keep our prices low with a formation package that provides everything your DC LLC needs. If you want extras though, like corporate books and seals or an Apostille with overnight shipping, we can do that too. Check out our order form for a full range of additional services.


 

FAQ for Washington DC LLCs

Still have questions? We have answers. Below are answers to commonly asked questions about registered agents, licenses, reports and more.

What is a commercial registered agent?

A Washington DC commercial registered agent is registered with the DCRA and specializes in providing registered agent service. A noncommercial registered agent doesn’t meet these qualifications. A noncommercial agent can be an individual (like yourself) or a business (like a law firm). There are drawbacks to noncommercial registered agents: individuals have meetings, vacations and sick days, and businesses have other priorities that distract from registered agent service.

At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, your business is our number one priority. We excel at providing expert registered agent service, and we can service your DC LLC for just $49—with renewals always at the same low price.

Do I need an operating agreement for my Washington DC LLC?

Your Washington DC LLC is not legally required to have a written operating agreement, but in DC, everyone knows the power of a well-written agreement. Your operating agreement explains members and managers’ rights and responsibilities and what members can expect for everything from profit and loss allocations to dissolving the LLC. Clearly defining how your LLC operates can preventing misunderstandings and potential disputes.

As part of our formation services, we provide a free, custom operating agreement for your Washington DC LLC.

Does my Washington DC LLC need an EIN?

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is required in order to get a business license in Washington DC, so you’ll need an EIN before you can conduct any business. The IRS also requires an EIN for specific tax situations, such as if you have employees. EINs are commonly requested when opening a business bank account as well.

How do I get an EIN?

You can apply for an EIN directly on the IRS website. There’s no filing fee. If you’d prefer we apply on your behalf, however, you can add Tax ID service to our formation package for $50.

How do I register for District of Columbia taxes?

You can register using MyTax DC, an online portal for the Office of Tax and Revenue. Some district taxes your LLC may need to pay include withholding and sales and use taxes.

What is the Unincorporated Business Franchise Tax?

DC’s Unincorporated Business Franchise Tax is a tax on the gross receipts of unincorporated businesses, such as LLCs.

What is the franchise tax rate?

As of January 1, 2018, the rate is 8.25% of taxable income.

Is there a minimum franchise tax?

Yes. If gross receipts are between $12,000 and $1,000,000, then the minimum tax is $250. If gross receipts are over $1,000,000, the minimum tax is $1000.

When is the franchise tax due?

Tax is due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of the tax year. For businesses operating on a typical calendar year, the tax is due April 15th.

What is DC’s Personal Property Tax?

If your LLC owns or holds personal property in the District of Columbia, you must file a Personal Property Tax return.

Are there exemptions to paying DC’s Personal Property Tax?

While you must file, you are exempt from paying the tax if your personal property value is less than $225,000. There are also exemptions for certain kinds of businesses, such as nonprofits and some technology companies and supermarkets. Those who already pay certain other taxes, such as the DC Gross Receipts Tax, are also exempt.

What is personal property?

Personal property doesn’t mean real property, like land or real estate. Personal property includes items such as a books, furniture, machinery, equipment, supplies, computers, trailers, and unregistered vehicles. On the tax return, you’ll report their current value using the depreciation guidelines in the tax form instructions.

When is DC’s Personal Property Tax due?

July 31st each year.

Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy?

You’ll need a Certificate of Occupancy if your LLC operates from a location in the District of Columbia besides your home. If you lease a commercial space, you may be covered by your landlord’s Certificate of Occupancy. If you operate your business out of your home, you’ll need to apply for a Home Occupation Permit instead.

Does my Washington DC LLC need a business license?

Your DC LLC is required to get a business license before engaging in any business within the District of Columbia. For more information on how to get a DC Basic Business License. You can apply for a Basic Business License online or submit an application via mail or in-person.

What is a Washington DC biennial report?

This is a report submitted to the DCRA every two years to update the district on your LLC’s ownership and contact information.

When is my biennial report due?

Your first report is due on April 1st the year after your LLC registers in DC. Reports are then due April 1st every other year after that.

How do I submit my Washington DC biennial report?

You can download a Two-Year Report form from the DCRA or you can file online using CorpOnline.

What is the filing fee for my biennial report?

$300. For processing, online filings average 10 days and mailed filings average several weeks. Expedited processing is available for an additional $100 (same-day) or $50 (3 days). In-person filings are automatically assessed the same-day $100 expedited fee.

What happens if my biennial report is late?

There is a $100 late fee, and you will lose your good standing in the district while in default.


 

Why is Washington DC Registered Agent LLC the best choice?

At Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, we form DC businesses daily. You can count on us to handle your formation with the priority, care and security you deserve. Join the leagues of successful businesses in our nation’s capital. Let Washington DC Registered Agent LLC help your form your LLC today.

 


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