Welcome to the Start a Business page which covers the registration of corporations in Washington state. This tutorial will give an overview of the general filing process for both foreign and domestic corporations. We urge you to explore the more in-depth guides linked throughout. With our help, you should be able to get a complete understanding of what is in store for you as a business representative looking to register with the Secretary of State. This particular state has provided an online filing system that we suggest you employ should you be given the opportunity. Indeed, foreign entities will be required to operate through the web portal as there is no paper filing option for those registering from outside of Washington. A list of the types of corporations, their filing possibilities and their respective filing fees has been provided directly below.
- Domestic Profit Corporation- $200 (online), $180 (mail)
- Domestic Professional Corporation- $200 (online)
- Domestic Social Purpose Corporation- $180 (mail)
- Domestic Nonprofit Corporation- $50 (online), $30 (mail)
- Domestic Nonprofit Professional Corporation- $50 (online)
- Foreign Profit Corporation- $200 (online)
- Foreign Nonprofit Corporation- $50 (online)
How to File
Step 1- The first step we would recommend for those filing through the mail is the use of a Business Entity Search function to research the availability of your proposed business name. This step is unnecessary for online filers as the name availability search has been incorporated into the early stages of the registration process. A Name Reservation can also be performed if additional time is needed in which to prepare for filing. These reservations cost $30 for profit corporations, $20 for nonprofit, and last for a total of 180 days.
Step 2- With a name chosen and secured, you will then need to either access the online filing portal or download the requisite PDF. Click on either the domestic or the foreign registration guide linked below to learn more about what’s required when submitting the online and PDF filing forms.
Step 3- With the forms completed, you will be able to pay the filing fee (see full list above). Those filing online will be able to accomplish this via credit card. Once the card information has been submitted, your form will be automatically sent to the office of the Secretary of State. Those filing through the mail will be required to attach their fee to their filing forms and send both items to the address below this paragraph. The fee should be paid in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State.
Secretary of State : Corporation Division
801 Capitol Way S, PO Box 40234
Olympia WA 98504
EIN – A Federal Employer Identification Number is used to identify each American employer (entity or individual) that pays withheld taxes on employees. The acquisition of this number is a crucial step to take in the formation of all corporations as it is considered the corporate equivalent of a Social Security Number. This identifier will be required when opening bank accounts, applying for credit cards, or performing any number of financial transactions using the corporate name. Employers will be able to register for their EIN either with the Online form or through the mail with the PDF Form SS-4.
Corporate Bylaw– Like in many states, the corporate bylaw agreement is not a legally required document to be filed with the Secretary of State. Instead, the initial incorporators of a business are advised to draft this document to be filed internally. The provisions stated within this agreement will allow the company officials to relay the logistical and financial affairs of the corporation, enabling them to use the document as legal evidence in the case of a legal dispute. Click on the heading of this paragraph to access the template we’ve provided in both Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word formatting.
Renewal– Profit and nonprofit corporations alike are required to file an annual report in order to stay in good standing with the Secretary of State. Those renewing for profit corporations will need to do so through the Business Licensing Center, using an online account that has been set up for the Department of Revenue filing system. The online process will demand a $71 fee and ask you to provide basic structural information in order to keep the state government up to date. Nonprofit corporations will be able to submit their documents online using the Secretary of State website (click here) and will only be charged $10.