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How to File a Certificate of Formation in Washington

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to File a Certificate of Formation in Washington

In Washington, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file a certificate of formation with the state. This is an absolutely crucial document that helps define your business, so it’s important to do it correctly.

An LLC is a business entity that offers liability protection for owners, as well as pass-through taxation, much like a sole proprietorship. 

What is the Certificate of Formation?

The certificate of formation is a legal document you need to file with the state to form your LLC and officially become a legal entity. It will specify details about your company and establish your LLC as a registered business entity in Washington. 

The document is similar to the articles of incorporation you would file to form a corporation instead of an LLC. 

view of the washing street

How to File the Washington Certificate of Formation

In Washington, the process to file the certificate of formation is quite simple. The crucial first step is gathering the required information about your new LLC, before proceeding with the filing itself. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to create your new business entity: 

  1. Gather the required information about your business. 
  • Your Unified Business Identifier number, if you already have one. If you do not have one, you can obtain one here.
  • Business name
  • Your business name reservation number, if you previously reserved your business name
  • Registered agent name and address
  • Business principal address and mailing address
  • Executor name and address (person doing the filing)
  1. Visit the state’s secretary of state’s website 

Find Washington’s certificate of formation form here. You’ll need to register for an account on the site first to access it. It’s easiest to fill out the form online and file it immediately, but you can also download it, fill it out and mail it in. 

  1. Filling out the Certificate of Formation Document

First you’ll register for an account on the secretary of state website.

Certificate of Formation in Washington User Registration

Then you’ll select “create or register a business” and select limited liability company. Next you’ll enter your business name to see if it’s available.

Scroll down, and you’ll find the place to enter your registered agent information, principal and mailing address, executor information. You’ll also enter a governor name and address, which is simply a manager or member of the LLC. 

Finally, you’ll fill out the nature of your business section, and select that you’re an authorized signer for the business. 

When filling out your articles of organization form, be sure to double-check that all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Maybe you’ve just moved, or use your middle initial in official documents, such as with your bank account. If you get it wrong now, changing it later can be a real pain, so accuracy is crucial. 

  • File Articles of Organization 

After you’ve finished the authorized signer section you’ll click next to move on to review and pay the filing fee, which in Washington is $200.

Certificate of Formation in Washington Authorized Person

Washington Secretary of State Contact Info

Here’s the Secretary of State website. Contact the secretary of state’s office at (360) 902-4151.

Their mailing address is:

Washington Secretary of State

Legislative Building
PO Box 40220

Olympia, WA 98504-0220

The Bottom Line

In Washington, it’s relatively easy to create an LLC, but you do need to jump through a few hoops. You now have all the information you need to officially create your new business and begin your entrepreneurial journey in the Evergreen State. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need an attorney to file articles of organization in Washington?

You do not need an attorney to file articles of organization in Washington. You can file easily online yourself, or you can use a business formation service. ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service will enable you to form your LLC in just a few minutes.

How do I amend my LLC articles of organization?

You can fill out an articles of amendment form for a fee of $30.

How do I get a copy of my articles of organization in Washington?

You can use your secretary of state website account to order a certified copy of your articles of organization. You’ll need your UBI number.


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How to File a Certificate of Formation in Washington