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How to Start an LLC in Seattle, Washington

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We can get you on your way to owning your own Seattle LLC. All you have to do is pay the state fee — then, we’ll file your paperwork with the state of Washington so you can start making your business dreams a reality.

Learn How to Form a Seattle LLC Yourself

Read our DIY guide to form a Seattle Washington, LLC, with information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

Enterprising Woman with technical skills

Why Start a Seattle LLC?

Seattle has a culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2020 alone, Seattle's startups secured more than $3.2 billion in venture capital, highlighting the considerable investment prowess of the city's startup scene. Additionally, the city boasts a lineup of 25 startup accelerators and incubators.

With the ongoing growth of business infrastructure in Seattle since the pandemic, new entrepreneurs have been flooding in. Access to funding could be a crucial factor in starting and growing your business, and Seattle is brimming with monetary opportunities.

The city also offers numerous networking opportunities, co-working spaces, and startup accelerators that can help new businesses connect with mentors, investors, and like-minded entrepreneurs. As home to some of the world's biggest technology companies, including Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle is an ideal location for new businesses.

Benefits of Starting a Seattle LLC:

If you start your LLC in Seattle, the benefits include:

  • Tax advantages:

    LLCs typically have pass-through taxation, which means that the company itself is not taxed. Instead, the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to its members, who report these numbers on their individual tax returns. This can simplify the tax process and potentially result in tax advantages for members.

  • Flexibility of ownership and management:

    Another benefit of starting an LLC in Seattle is the flexibility offered in terms of management and ownership. You can either manage the LLC yourself (along with its members, if applicable) or appoint a manager (manager-manager LLC) to handle the operations while you work on bigger ideas.

  • Maintenance and compliance:

    The ease of maintaining a business and complying with the state cannot be overlooked — especially when you have plans to expand in the near future. In general, LLCs in Washington state follow a flat annual fee structure rather than a complex tax system, which makes it very manageable for business owners to look after their taxes and finances.

  • Growing business community:

    As referenced earlier, Seattle is known for its vibrant and diverse business environment, with a focus on technology and innovation in various industries. This can provide networking opportunities, potential partnerships, and access to a skilled workforce, along with funding options.

  • Regulatory flexibility:

    Washington state, in general, has business-friendly regulations and a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. The process of forming an LLC in Seattle is relatively straightforward and can be done online.

How to Form an LLC in Seattle Yourself in Six Steps

Ready to launch your Seattle business and make it legitimate? You can now choose to get your LLC registered with the help of a business formation company, or you can form an LLC yourself in just six steps:

Start an LLC

Step 1: Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search

Selecting a unique business name is crucial for creating a strong brand identity and avoiding legal issues.

You can choose one with the help of our free Business Name Generator by entering a relevant keyword or two, and the tool will offer dozens of fresh suggestions.

And if you already have a name in mind or you’ve settled on a few favorites from the search suggestions, use our Business Name Search Tool to find out if another business has already registered your name choices in Washington. You can also do a name search on Washington’s Secretary of State portal.

Remember, the business name should be easy to pronounce, easy to spell, unique, and memorable.

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Business Name Generator

Step 2: Provide an Official Business Address (or Get a Virtual Address)

Providing an official business address is a crucial step when incorporating a business for several reasons. Many jurisdictions require businesses to have a physical address where legal documents, tax notices, and official correspondence can be sent. This address is typically used for official government communication, and not having a valid address can result in legal penalties or issues.

Additionally, businesses often need to comply with zoning regulations and local ordinances. Your business address helps determine whether or not your business is operating within the appropriate zoning and regulatory framework.

As per the official advice from the state of Washington, the primary place of business must be a street address, not a P.O. box or PMB.

If your business doesn't have a physical address and you don't want to use your home address, then the best solution is to get a virtual address such as our Virtual Mailbox service. You’ll get a real Seattle street address that you can use to form your business in Washington. Your mail will be scanned and uploaded to a secure online portal so you can access it from anywhere, at any time.

Step 3: Assign a Registered Agent

States require LLCs to have a Registered Agent to ensure there is a reliable and official point of contact for legal matters. This requirement helps maintain transparency and accountability for the LLC. Government agencies, including the Secretary of State's office, often send important notices and documents to the Registered Agent's address. This could include annual report reminders, tax notices, and other regulatory communications.

Since compliance with the state is crucial to your business’s good standing, your Registered Agent can never miss mail. That’s why we strongly recommend appointing a professional Registered Agent service as opposed to appointing yourself, your accountant, or another member of the LLC.

Step 4: File Your Articles of Organization With the Washington Secretary of State

To officially form your LLC with Washington state, you'll need to prepare and file your Articles of Organization.

Your Articles of Organization should enclose the following details about your business:

  • Company name and address
  • Registered Agent name and address
  • Who will manage the company (members or managers)
  • Names and addresses of the LLC's members or managers
  • Effective date of your LLC (can be the filing date or a future date)
  • Period of duration until the business is either administratively or voluntarily dissolved
  • Profession to be practiced, if applicable
  • Name, address, and signature of the person submitting the Articles of Organization
  • Return address for the filing
  • Unified Business Identifier (UBI) — If the business has previously filed with another state agency, such as the Department of Revenue, the Department of Labor and Industries, or the Employment Security Department, the business may already have a 9-digit UBI number that can be entered. If not applicable, enter “No.”

Once you've completed your form, you can file it online via the Washington SOS portal.

File by Mail

Washington Secretary of State

Corporations and Charities Division

801 Capitol Way S

Olympia, WA 98501-1226

Filing Fee

There is no charge for the Public Information Report. The Franchise Tax Fee is based on the revenue of the LLC.

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What Are the Fees and Requirements to Form a Business in Seattle?

State Fee


State Filling Time

4 Weeks

Expedited Filing Time

4 Business Days

*includes $20 online filing fee

Annual Report



Due Date

Last day of anniversary month of organization or qualification

Filing Fee

There is no charge for the Public Information Report. The Franchise Tax Fee is based on the revenue of the LLC.

Filing Fee



The Initial Annual Report and Business Licence are filed with the articles of organization. As such, the $350 fee is added to the $75 filing fee and used to satisfy payment for both the Initial Annual Report and Business License. Note: You will be responsible for filing Annual Report and Business License in subsequent years.

Step 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service

While not all LLCs in the United States are legally required to obtain an EIN, many owners opt to get one anyway in order to separate their business activities from their personal finances and to meet certain employment, legal, and financial requirements.

Obtaining an EIN is usually a straightforward process. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, or, if you'd like us to take care of the paperwork for you, you can use our EIN service. It's essential to have accurate information about your business, its structure, and its ownership when applying for an EIN.

Remember that specific regulations and requirements for EINs in Washington state may change over time, so check the latest information from the IRS or ask a legal professional.

Step 6: Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not legally required in Washington state, but it’s highly recommended.

An operating agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of all members of the LLC and indicates how the business would handle difficult situations, should they arise.

If you're an Bizee customer, you already have access to our operating agreement template. Just make sure you show it to an attorney once it’s been filled out before signing and making it official.

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Other Seattle LLC Types

Professional LLC

A professional LLC provides professional services through a license. For instance, if your business is about medicine, law, or veterinary services, you'll form a professional LLC. Note that each member of the PLLC needs to have a state license in order to conduct business.

Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.

Foreign LLC

If you've already expanded to another state but wish to operate in Seattle, you'll be required to register as a foreign LLC as well.

Learn more about Seattle Foreign LLC registration.

Helpful Resources From the District of Columbia

Common Questions About Creating an LLC in Seattle


Do You Need a Business License to Start an LLC in Washington State?

No, there’s no business license required to form your LLC in Washington state, but once you’re ready to hit the ground running, you should find out all the state license requirements for smooth operations. Bizee offers a Business License Research package to get you started.


Does Washington State Allow Single-Member LLCs?

Yes, you can choose to form a single-member LLC or a multi-member LLC in Washington state, depending upon your business plan and what you’re set out to do operationally.


Can a Non-U.S. Citizen be a Partner in an LLC?

Yes, a non-U.S. citizen can be a partner in a U.S. LLC. Generally, there are no citizenship restrictions when it comes to being a partner in an LLC in the United States, but we recommend you follow the formation rules for non-U.S. citizens closely in your state.


How Much Tax Do You Pay in Washington?

As per the Washington State Department of Revenue, the state doesn’t levy any corporate tax, but it does impose a “Business & Occupation” tax (B&O), which is a gross receipt tax. Get more information about it here.

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