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Helpful District of Columbia Resources

Two Ways to Register Your Business

MyCorporation® can help you file all of the necessary documents to form your limited liability company in District of Columbia.

File and submit the formation paperwork yourself

Our free guide provides you with all of the information you'll need to form your limited liability company in District of Columbia. Bookmark this page as a reference so you can return easily as you complete each step of the process.

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Before Getting Started with Forming Your Limited Liability Company in DC

Before you start with our step-by-step guide to DC LLC registration, you want to be sure that you want an LLC vs. a corporation or other form of business. When it comes to a DC business registration, do you know whether and LLC is the right business structure for your idea? Make sure with this quick quiz.

Be sure to adhere to regulations while finding the right business name for your LLC in the District of Columbia.

Learn Local DC LLC naming restrictions.

Local business name restrictions are important to adhere to when you’re considering what name to go with. Keep these restrictions in mind:

  • Do not use words that are “deceptively similar to” a government agency of the US or the District of Columbia, such as the “CIA” or “FBI.” This is considered misleading to the public.
  • Do not use words like “bank,” “credit union,” “banking” or “insurance” without approval from the Mayor.
  • Do ensure that the name includes the required words on §29–103.02 subsection f: “limited liability company,” “limited company” or the abbreviations “LLC,” “L.L.C.” or “L.C.” or “LC.”
  • Do ensure the name isn’t already taken (more on that below).

Within those rule, you have relative freedom in coming up with a clever name that communicates your branding. If you’re scratching your head still, we have numerous tips on how to come up with a business name.

Search for the name in a local DC database.

One simple way to get rejected is not ensuring the name of your LLC isn’t already taken. See if your name is taken by another organization by using the official DC business entity search or our business name search service, which is handy when you want to check multiple states.

Type in the basic name without “LLC.” Also consider looking up misspellings of you name, to ensure there isn’t confusion.

Make sure other sources are available.

After you’ve done your official DC LLC search on the official Washington DC Secretary of State site , you’re going to want to check a few more places.

  • Make sure a domain is available.
  • Make sure social media handles are available.
  • Check the USPTO’s database if you’re interested in filing a trademark.
  • Google the name to see what currently comes up.
Tip: A business name check is included with every one of our business formation packages. We check with the state to determine the availability of your business name automatically. You can also conduct a nationwide business name search here.

Typical limited liability companies in DC will be assumed to be “member-managed” unless the operating agreement expressly declares that it’s manager-managed using specific language. In a nutshell, in a member-managed organization, the members (or owners) of the LLC have the power to make decisions for the business, whereas in a manager-managed organization, the manager will be the only one making the business decisions.

Essentially, the job of a registered agent is to essentially receive mail within the DC area. That mail includes legal documents like subpoenas, taxes, and the certificate of good standing. It’s important to read up on the important laws on DC registered agents to fully understand, but here is an overview:

The registered agent should be …

  • An individual person with an address in Washington DC (not a PO Box) or a registered agent service
  • Listed on a statement of appointment on the initial business filing paperwork
  • Over the age of 18
  • Available during normal business hours

Also you can be your own registered agent in DC, but there may be drawbacks to doing so. Many people starting out will go with a reliable registered agent service instead. Most of the reasons include needing the be available at that address, especially if the business is filing in multiple states.

Tip: Our Deluxe and Premium formation packages include a full year of registered agent services for your business. We also offer standalone registered agent services which you can add to your business later.

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MyCorporation® takes the guess work out of starting your business. Answer a few simple questions, and our filing experts will take care of the rest.

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The next step is to fill out Form DLC-1, assuming you’re a domestic LLC. All you’ll need is the following for the DC LLC articles of organization:

  • Name of the business
  • Registered agent’s name and address
  • Street address of the initial principal office
  • Statement that the LLC has at least one member
  • If it is “manager-managed,” a statement on that status
  • Effective date
  • Payment of fees

Professional Limited Liability Companies will have a few extra requirements, including certifications/licenses that pertain to the specific service to the public. Also, foreign filings work differently.

Most businesses can get this done online, but you can also submit the articles to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

This is not a formal requirement for Washington DC LLC registration, but it’s still a good idea as it’s an important tool for protecting your LLC, especially for single-member organizations. This is another step that can be don yourself or with online assistance.

To form an LLC in DC, you’ll need to pay taxes. In order to do that, you must obtain your IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN). This must be done even for one-member LLCs.

Tip: While applying is free, adding an EIN application service to your other important document applications simplifies the process for some.

Tip: All of our formation packages include a sample operating agreement you can use directly, or modify to fit your needs. Start Now

In order to operate in the District of Columbia, you must have the proper licenses. In most cases, the basic business license (BBL) for DC is enough, but for other businesses like those in food, automotive, grooming, housing, air heating and cooling, and general sales will need other licenses. See the full list to find the right DC business license that you neeed.

You will need a Certificate of Clean Hands (CCH) to ensure that you do not have a debt to the local DC government of more than $100. You also will need a Corporate Registration.

Some businesses that are working out of offices, buildings, or land will also need a formal Certificate of Occupancy. Those working out of a home will need a Home Occupation Permit. This is needed for buildings used for anything other than a single-family dwelling.

8. Register with the local tax office.

In addition to federal taxes, you need to pay local taxes as well. Register with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) to formally set your new LLC up. You will need to fill out Form FR-500.

DC Office of Tax and Revenue
1101 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024
You can also call (202) 727-4TAX.

Get Started With DC LLC Formation Services

Form your LLC for just $99 + state fees.

If these steps seem arduous, they certainly can be. MyCorporation is the source CPAs trust to quickly manage the paperwork quickly and accurately.

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Or learn more about our in-depth LLC formation services. It covers everything from articles of organization to customer support.

Want to handle some of it yourself?

We cover every stage of the process:

After Forming Your DC LLC

You will still need to take steps after the formation. If you skipped the operational agreement step, now would be the time to complete that. Also you will need to set up biannual reporting starting April 1st after the formation. Other steps include aspects of your business, like setting up business checking, prepping for business taxes, and setting up as website.

limited liability company Formation Packages

Save money and simplify the process of starting your business by bundling the services you need with our business formation packages.

BASICS
$99
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
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STANDARD
$124
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
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DELUXE
$224
  • Articles of Organization
  • Name Availability Search
  • Minutes & Membership Certificates
  • Annual Report service
  • Registered Agent services
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Frequently asked questions

The state fees range between $220 and $370 in Washington DC, but those are subject to change by the Secretary of State.

Yes, as long as you have a physical address in the state where your LLC is being formed, you can be your own registered agent. That includes if you live in another state but also have an address in DC. -The LLC cannot name itself as the registered agent.

Also, there are risks inherent. Some choose to go with a registered agent service instead due to the fact that you would need to be on hand to sign legal documents. Moving and address changes also are simpler in those case.

You're required to file a biennial (2-year) report for you LLC by April 1st on the following year that you formed your LLC. Then you'll have to file every two years on April 1st and submit the filing fee of $300.

The processing time for the District of Columbia is about five to seven business days for online filings and up to three weeks for mail filing.

Washington DC has less stringent reporting requirements, registered agent requirements, and operating agreement requirements than other states. While there are more tax-friendly states like Delaware and Wyoming, this area is very popular for LLC formation.

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