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Frequently Asked
Questions About
Starting a Washington,

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Although it's not a state, Washington, D.C., (District of Columbia) is the capital city and federal district of the United States of America, and still requires businesses and corporations to file the correct formation paperwork. When you're forming an LLC in Washington, D.C., there's no doubt that you'll have a lot of questions. We've gathered many of the most frequently asked questions to help you hit the ground running with your Washington, D.C., LLC. From registering your company with the District of Columbia, to business licenses and business franchise taxes, we’ve got you covered. We’ve answered these questions below and linked extensively to our guides, tools and other services, which makes everything streamlined and simple.

How Do I Decide What the Best Legal Structure Is for My Business?

There are a few different options when it comes to starting a business in Washington, D.C. From a legal perspective, there are three main types of Washington, D.C., for-profit business entities: LLCs, S Corporations or C Corporations. For many entrepreneurs, we believe an LLC provides the right ratio of liability protection and ease of administration.

What Do I Need to Start a Business in Washington, D.C.?

In order to form an LLC in the district of Washington, D.C.,, there are some minimum requirements you must meet. These are a completed set of Articles of Organization, a business name and a fee you pay to the District of Columbia Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP), Corporations Division. We recommend taking some other steps before formally starting your LLC:

After you’ve created your Washington, D.C., LLC, you will also need to review your business license requirements, understand ongoing filing needs, set up a separate business bank account and get an accountant.

How Do I Register a Company in Washington, D.C.?

In Washington, D.C.,, you register a business by completing and filing your Articles of Organization with the Washington, D.C., Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection. You will need to gather information about your business, fill out the form and send it to the DLCP along with your filing fee. This will formally create your LLC in Washington, D.C.

You can file your Articles of Organization on the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection website or mail it in. Alternatively, Bizee can guide you through every step of the process by getting details from you and filing the form on your behalf — for free! There’s no additional charge for our basic LLC filing service, so all you need to do is pay the District of Columbia filing fee.

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How Much Does It Cost to Form a Washington, D.C., LLC?

At the time of writing the fee charged by the Washington, D.C., Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection is $99. You can always check the latest Washington, D.C., filing fees here. You can also pay an additional $50 or $100 for expedited filing through Bizee, which will create your LLC faster. The amount of the expedited fee is dependent on how quickly you want your filing processed. Some LLC filing services do charge you extra to prepare and submit your filing documents, but at Bizee, we do this for free — so you only pay the district fee.

How Long Does It Take to Form an LLC in Washington, D.C.?

Once you’ve gathered all of your information together and filed your Articles of Organization (or had Bizee do it for you), it can take up to a week for the Washington, D.C., DLCP to legally create your LLC. If you pay an additional $50 or $100 expedited fee, your LLC can be formed in as little as 3 days or the same day respectively.

How Do I Perform a Washington, D.C., Business Search?

The name of your Washington, D.C., LLC needs to be unique, so you’ll need to check if it’s already being used by another business. You can do that via the Washington, D.C., Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection website, or by using our fast and simple Business Name Search tool.

Is Your Business Name Available in Your State?

Find out using Bizee’s Business Name Search Tool.

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Trying to Come Up With a Creative Business Name?

Try Bizee’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas.

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How Do I Register a Business Name in Washington, D.C.?

There are a few ways to register your Washington DD LLC name.

  • If you’re creating a new business and your business name is unique in Washington, D.C., and meets state naming rules, you simply include it in your Articles of Organization.
  • If you want to change the legal name of your business, file a Certificate of Amendment with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection.
  • If you just want to do business under a different name, file Trade Name Registration paperwork with the Washington, D.C., DLCP, or we can do that on your behalf.

If you want to prevent people from using your business name across the U.S., you can file a trademark for the name. We can help.

What Are Washington, D.C., Articles of Incorporation?

In other states, the formal documents that you file to form a corporation or LLC might be known as Articles of Incorporation. In Washington, D.C.,, this document is called your Articles of Organization, and it performs the same functions as the Articles of Incorporation.

Does Washington, D.C., Have Series LLCs?

Yes, the District of Columbia allows the formation of Series LLC within the district. A Series LLC is a special type of LLC where you create one “overall” business and then have individual, series LLCs within it, each counted as separate legal entities.

To form a Series LLC, simply fill out the Certificate of Series Designation for Domestic LLC form and file it with the DLCP. The fee charged by the DLCP for a Series LLC designation is $220.

Do I Need a Registered Agent for My Washington, D.C., LLC?

Yes, all legal business entities in Washington, D.C., including LLCs, must have a Registered Agent at all times. Here at Bizee, we provide a free Washington, D.C., Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us.

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How Do I Change a Registered Agent in Washington, D.C.?

If you wish to change your Washington, D.C., Registered Agent you can do so by filing the Statement of Change page from the Registered Agent Combined Form with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection. Here at Bizee, we provide a free Washington, D.C., Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us. If you’ve been using a different Registered Agent and want to switch to us, we’ll file the Statement of Change on your behalf.

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How Do I Perform a Washington, D.C., Registered Agent Search?

If you need to know the Registered Agent of a specific Washington, D.C., business, you can perform a Washington, D.C., Registered Agent search within the district's business database.

What Washington, D.C., Business Taxes Do I Need to Pay?

As an LLC, any business profits you earn will be reported on your personal 1040 filing and reported and taxed as “pass-through” income. You will typically need to pay:

  • Self-employment or payroll tax on all business profits
  • Federal income tax on profits after you meet your tax-free allowance
  • Sales tax for selling taxable products and services

What Businesses Need to Pay Washington, D.C., Sales Tax?

Washington, D.C., charges a 6 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods. You will also need to pay sales tax if you provide a taxable service. You can find a full list of taxable services here.

How Do I Get a Washington, D.C., Sales Tax ID?

You will need to register as a sales tax vendor with the Washington, D.C., Office of Tax and Revenue. You can complete this process online.

How Do I Calculate Washington, D.C., Sales Tax?

The base rate for Washington, D.C., sales tax is 6 percent, and there may be additional sales tax depending on your region. Once you know your overall sales tax amount, calculate the value of all your taxable products and services. Then, multiply that by your sales tax rate to understand how much you will need to pay.

When Is Washington, D.C., Sales Tax Due?

Once your LLC’s sales tax application is approved, you will receive a notice with instructions on how often you must file a sales tax return and pay sales taxes. Returns and payments may be due monthly, quarterly or annually.

What Do I Need to Know About Washington, D.C., Franchise Tax?

In most states, unincorporated businesses (such as LLCs) are not subject to franchise taxes unless they've elected to be treated as a C Corp for tax purposes. This is not the case in Washington, D.C.,, however, where LLCs are required to pay Unicorporated Business Franchise Tax for the privilege of doing business within the District of Columbia.

Do I Need a License to Do Business in Washington, D.C.?

If you're opening a business and intend to operate that business within the District of Columbia, chances are you'll need a business license of some type in order to do so. The types of business licenses you need will vary depending on your type of business, industry, location and various other factors. We can research the types of business licenses you might need for you.

We hope you’ve found this Washington, D.C., LLC FAQ useful. If you’ve used our services and have a question that isn’t answered here, let us know and we’d be happy to help.

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