How to Register an LLC in Washington DC: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By: Michaela Dale Updated on: June 13, 2024

Forming a limited liability company (LLC) offers several benefits for business owners including increased brand credibility and pass-through taxation. If you’re looking to establish an LLC in the District of Columbia, we’re here to help. This guide outlines the six key steps to register an LLC in Washington DC

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Washington DC LLC Quick Facts 

  • To register an LLC in Washington DC, you must file Articles of Organization. 
  • The filing fee to start an LLC in Washington DC is $99-$199. 
  • All Washington DC LLCs are required to appoint a registered agent.
  • To conduct business in Washington DC, you must obtain a business license. 

6 Steps to Forming an LLC in Washington DC

To start an LLC in Washington DC, you must complete six steps we’ve outlined below. 

Ready to register an LLC in Washington DC? Follow these six steps:

  1. Name Your Washington DC LLC
  2. Designate a Registered Agent
  3. File the Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes
  6. File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report

Step 1: Name Your Washington DC LLC 

The first step you need to take is to decide on a name for your Washington DC LLC. 

These are the rules you need to be mindful of when naming an LLC in Washington DC:  

  • Include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation 
  • Be unique and distinguishable from any other business entity
  • Cannot include terms that imply government affiliation or are restricted 

For the full list of name guidelines for Washington DC LLCs, review these business name requirements

To ensure your business name is unique, you will need to complete a name search through the DC website.

Your LLC name needs a matching URL. Make sure your domain name is available with GoDaddy.

Step 2: Designate a Registered Agent

LLCs in Washington DC are required to select a registered agent. A registered agent in Washington DC is an individual or business entity that is designated to receive legal documents, official notices, and other important mail on behalf of the LLC.

When selecting a registered agent for your Washington DC LLC, keep in mind the following requirements:

  • Must have a physical address in Washington DC 
  • Cannot be the LLC itself 
  • Must be available at the designated address during normal business hours 

Who Is Eligible to Serve as a Registered Agent in Washington DC?

A registered agent can be an individual such as the LLC owner, an employee of the business, a family member, or a friend. Alternatively, an LLC can choose to use a professional registered agent service instead.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization 

To register your LLC in Washington DC, the next step is to file the Articles of Organization with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection. You can complete this filing online or by submitting Form DLC-1 by mail or in person. 

The filing fee is $99 if filed online, and $199 if filed by mail or in person.

Make sure you have the following details prepared before filing:

  • Your LLC’s name and business address 
  • The registered agent’s name and address 
  • The names and addresses of all LLC members or managers 
  • The effective date of the formation documents 

Quick Note: If your business is already established in another state, you will need to register as a Washington DC foreign LLC. This can be done by submitting a Foreign Registration Statement online or by mail along with a $220 filing fee. 

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement 

In Washington DC, creating and maintaining an operating agreement is not required but is good practice. An operating agreement is a crucial document that outlines the internal procedures and ownership details of your company. This document helps ensure that all LLC members are on the same page and can help prevent conflicts down the line. 

Step 5: Obtain an EIN and Handle Taxes 

The next step in registering an LLC in Washington DC is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. 

An EIN is required for tax reporting, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account. 

You can obtain your EIN for free by visiting the IRS website

In addition to obtaining an EIN, you will also need to identify any additional tax requirements. You can learn more about Washington DC LLC tax requirements on the Office of Tax and Revenue website

Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report 

All LLC owners are required to submit a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

New LLCs must file this report within 90 days of formation, ensuring timely compliance with federal regulations. Existing LLCs are required to complete the filing between January 1st, 2024, and January 1st, 2025.

Failure to file the Statement of Information for Ownership within the specified timeframe can result in a fine of $500 per day.

Fortunately, you can file this report online for free through the FinCEN website

Next Steps

Lili is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Sunrise Banks N.A., Member FDIC.

  • Obtain a basic business license. Visit the Business Licensing Division’s website to learn more about obtaining a Washington DC business license. 
  • Consider obtaining business insurance to protect your LLC from unforeseen risks and liabilities. Get fast, affordable coverage with NEXT Insurance.

Additional Tips for Success 

  • Build a strong network: Create a community of other entrepreneurs, mentors, and locals to help support your business.
  • Stay compliant: Ensuring you’re staying compliant by keeping updated on tax and reporting requirements.  
  • Plan for the future: Map out the future of your LLC by creating a business plan to measure success and reach milestones. 

Conclusion

Starting an LLC provides several benefits for business owners. From naming your LLC to obtaining a basic business license, each step in the formation process is critical to a business’s success. By diligently following the steps outlined in this guide, you can start your Washington DC LLC off on the right foot.