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

HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN WASHINGTON DC

Starting a business in Washington DC begins with registering your company with the Washington Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DRCA). However, in typical Washington DC Style, the process is a little more complicated than that.
 


 

What are the steps to starting a business in Washington DC?

Choose Your Company Structure

The first step is to decide on your company structure. You may need to registered your business with the Washington DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) Corporations Division.
 

Apply for a Basic Business License

The next step is to apply for a Washington DC 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:

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
    Getting an EIN is easy and can be completed entirely online at the IRS website.
  2. Register with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue.
  3. Make sure your DC business premise has a Certificate of Occupancy Permit (or Home Occupation Permit). This only applies if your business has a physical street address in the District of Columbia.
  4. Complete the Clean Hands Self Certification. This requires only a signature that validates and confirms that you do not owe the District of Columbia government more than $100.
  5. Check and see what other documents, permits, and licenses you may need to get your business up and running.

 


 

How do your register your DC business with the DCRA Corporations Division?

Domestic District of Columbia corporations are formed by filings the Articles of Incorporation. Domestic DC LLCs are formed by filing the Articles of Organization. Both of these documents are official legal business entity formation documents.
 


 

What if my corporation or LLC is already registered in another state?

Corporations and LLCs that are already registered in another state can file a Foreign Registration Statement to register their corporation entity with the DCRA Corporations Division. To do so, you must submit a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state to register your business entity in Washington DC. To obtain this certificate, contact the department that you initially registered your business with. Oftentimes, you can access these documents online for free or for a small fee.

Regardless if your are registering your business in Washington DC or filing a Foreign Registration Statement, the DCRA provides paper forms for filing, or you can conveniently register your business entity online.
 


 

Who is required to register their Washington DC business with the DCRA Corporations Division?

Sole proprietors in the District of Columbia are not required to register with the DCRA, but it is optional. However, you may want to consider forming a Washington DC limited liability company instead because of the tax benefits and 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 with the DCRA Corporation Division. All business entities registered are required to have a Washington DC registered agent and office.

For $49, Washington DC Registered Agent offers 365 days of registered agent service.

 


 

What is a DC registered agent?

A registered agent, or “resident agent”–as it is sometimes called, is a third party individual or entity with a physical street address in the District of Columbia who can accept documents such as service or process or official business notices on behalf of the company. As your DC registered agent, we provide all of the corporate and business formation forms pre-populated with our District of Columbia registered agent information already on them.
 


 

Who needs a DC registered agent?

If you are starting a business in Washington DC, you are required to have a Washington DC Registered Agent to register your domestic business entity.

If you are filing a Foreign Registration Statement so that your company that is registered in another state can do business in the District of Columbia, you also need a registered agent.

Any company that is applying for a basic business license also needs a Washington DC Registered Agent.

If you are a sole proprietor who does not reside in Washington DC, but wants to do business in DC, you must provide a resident agent when you apply for your DC Basic Business License.

Essentially, anyone and any legal business entity doing business in the District of Columbia is required to have a registered agent.
 


 

Do you need to get a DC Basic Business License to engage in 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 sub categories…and sub-sub categories) of DC business licenses. The license(s) you need depends on what business activities you anticipate to do in Washington DC.

Each license requires and application. However, the required application material vary between licenses. Once you have all the necessary documents, permits, registrations, etc. for your specific license, you can submit your application packet via mail, in-person, or online.
 


 

Do I need a different registered agent for each business license?

No! You can list the same registered agent on all of the business licenses you apply for. However, it’s important that the registered agent you choose is reliable and top-quality. Sign up for our District of Columbia registered agent service and we act as your DC registered agent for the DCRA and for your DC Basic Business License all for just $49 a year!

Not only do you get a registered agent for multiple DC agencies, you will have instant access to your pre-populated business formation forms in your safe and secure online client account.
 


 

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 Washington DC Operating Authorty.
 


 

How do I apply for Washington DC Operating Authority?

To apply for Washington DC Operating Authority, you must appoint a resident agent. Here at Washington DC Registered Agent LLC, our goal is to make getting DC Operating Authority as easy as possible.

When you sign up for our registered agent service, we instantly provide you with our agency information for you to use on the Online Operating Authority Application.

We suggest using the online application because you can appoint us as your resident agent 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 application process).
 


 

What do I need for my Operating Authority Application?

Applying for a Washington DC Operating Authority for Independent Taxicab Owners is a complicated process. There are multiple forms and registrations you are required to submit. Check out our “How to … “ guide for more information.
 


 

How can Washington DC Registered Agent LLC help me start my business?

If your are forming an LLC or corporation to operate a taxicab or limousine (or abate asbestos, do construction, provide security services, operate a circus, do HVAC work, walk dogs, or do basically anything) in Washington DC, you will need a license. If you need a license, you need a registered agent and that’s something we can help with!

Additionally, we can handle your Washington DC LLC or Washington DC corporation formation for only $100 (plus the DCRA fees). As a part of your formation we automatically include our registered agent service, bringing your total cost to $149 (plus the DCRA fees).


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