Starting a Business in DC
Register your company with the Washington DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
What are the steps to starting a business in DC?
- The first step is to decide on your company structure. You may need to register your business with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division
- Then apply for a Basic Business License. Almost every District of Columbia company needs one. There are several requirements to meet before you submit your DC business license application to the DCRA Business Licensing Division:
- Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS
- Register with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue
- Make sure your DC business premise has a Certificate of Occupancy (or Home Occupation Permit)
- Complete the Clean Hands Certification
- Some DC business activities require additional documents, permits, etc.
Who is required to register their DC business with the DCRA Corporations Division?
District of Columbia sole proprietors are not required to register with the DCRA, it is optional. But you may want to form a DC corporation or DC limited liability company because they offer certain tax or liability protections.
If your company is a DC corporation, DC partnership, or DC limited liability company, you need to be registered and in good standing. All business entities registered with the DCRA Corporations Division need to have a District of Columbia registered agent and office.
How do you register your DC business with the DCRA Corporations Division?
Domestic District of Columbia corporations are formed by filing articles of incorporation. Domestic DC LLCs are formed by filing articles of organization.
Corporations and LLCs that are already registered in another state can file a foreign registration statement to register their corporate entity with the DCRA Corporations Division. You will need to submit a certificate of good standing from your home state to register your foreign business entity in DC. Contact the registration authority in your state to request the certificate.
The DCRA provides paper forms for filing or you can register your domestic or foreign business entity online. Registering your DC corporation, partnership, or LLC will cost $220.
What is a DC registered agent? Who needs a DC registered agent?
A registered or “resident” agent is someone with a physical address in the District of Columbia who can accept documents such as service of process or official notices for the company. As your DC registered agent, we provide all the corporate and business forms pre-populated with our District of Columbia registered agent info on them.
When starting a business in DC, you need a DC registered agent to register a domestic or foreign corporation, LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, or DBA with the DCRA. Corporations, LLCs, and partnerships need to list their DC registered agent again when they apply for a DC business license.
Sole proprietors who do not reside in the District of Columbia need to list a DC resident agent when they apply for a DC business license. So, non-DC sole proprietors will need a registered agent, even if they are not registered with the DCRA Corporations Division.
Do you need to get a DC Basic License to do Business after you register with the DCRA Corporations Division?
Most District of Columbia companies need a license to do business from the DCRA Business License Division. There are several categories (and subcategories) of DC business licenses. The license you need will really depend on your business activities in DC.
Once you have all the necessary documents, permits, registrations, etc. for your specific license, you can apply for a DC business license by mail or in person. You can also apply for some types of DC business licenses on the DCRA Business License Division website.
Learn more about getting starting a business in DC and getting your Basic DC Business License.
When you are starting a business in DC, you need a reliable DC registered agent for service of process. Sign up for our District of Columbia registered agent service and we can act as your DC registered agent for the DCRA and for your DC Basic License to do Business… All for just $49 each year! Not only do you get a registered agent for multiple DC agencies, you will have instant access to our pre-populated corporation and DC business license forms in your online account.
Resources for starting a business in DC:
DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: http://dcra.dc.gov
Operating Authority for Independent Taxicab Owner Operators
The District of Columbia now requires taxicab owner operators, limousine owner operators, and for-hire independent owner operators to appoint a Washington DC resident agent for service of legal process in order to receive Operating Authority.
Washington DC Resident Agent for Service of Process
To apply for Washington DC Operating Authority, you must appoint a resident agent. Our goal is to make getting your Washington DC operating authority as easy as possible. Here’s how we can help:
- Sign Up For Our DC Resident Agent Service
- We Instantly Provide You With Our Agency Information
- Enter Our Agency Information Into the Online Operating Authority Application
We suggest using the online DC operating authority application because you can appoint us digitally through this form. If you submit a paper application, you will need a signed copy of our consent to submit to the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (which will slow down the process).
What You Need for Your Operating Authority Application
Applying for Washington DC Operating Authority for Independent Taxicab Owners is a complicated process. There are multiple forms and registrations you will need to submit.
Business Office Address
You must have a physical business office address. This is your taxicab business headquarters.
Federal Tax ID Number (FEIN)
You must have an Federal Tax Identification Number from the IRS. An FEIN is used by the IRS to identify your business when you pay federal taxes. If you do not have an FEIN, we can obtain a Federal Tax ID Number for you for a fee. Otherwise, you can get an FEIN at the IRS website.
Email and Social Media Account
You must have an email account and at least one social media account, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn (or if you have your own website for your business, you may use this as well).
You must include with your application a copy of the previous year’s federal and local tax returns.
DC Business Tax Registration
You must include a copy of your Washington DC Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR-500). This can be completed online at MyTax.DC.gov or completed by hand and submitted to the Office of Tax and Revenue.
DC Certificate of Occupancy Permit
In order to operate your business, you must submit a Certificate of Occupancy Permit. This filing registers your company’s main office with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. You must submit your Application in person. Once you receive your permit, you can upload a copy of the permit to your Operating Authority Application.
Are You Starting a New DC Business?
If you are forming an LLC or corporation to operate your taxicab, limousine or for-hire vehicle business, we can help! We can handle your Washington DC LLC or Washington DC corporation formation for only $100 (plus the DCRA fees). As part of your formation, we automatically include our resident agent service, bringing your total cost to $149 (plus DCRA fees). To hire us to form your DC LLC or corporation, simply sign up for our resident agent service. You will instantly have access to your online account. You can order the proper formation filing from your account, and we will begin processing the same day!