This tutorial has been designed to assist those forming new corporations in the State of Washington. We’ve provided guides for both online and paper filing processes though not all corporations have a choice between the two. For example, standard nonprofit or profit corporations can file online and through the mail while all professional service corporations must file online and all social purpose corporations must file through the mail. If you’re registering a for-profit entity of any kind, your filing fee will either be $200 (if filing online) or $180 (paper filing). Nonprofits can expect to pay $50 online and $30 otherwise. Scroll down to get fully educated on the filing requirements for your entity type.

Before you begin the filing process, it is wise to perform a Business Entity Search to ensure that your name is available for use in Washington. It should be noted however that this preliminary check is not necessary for those filing online as it’s already been incorporated at the beginning of the registration process. You may find the use of a Name Reservation helpful if you need additional time in which to prepare for filing. A filing of this nature will cost $20 for nonprofits and $30 for profit entities and will, in both cases, ensure that no business uses your operating name for a period of 180 days prior to registration.

How to File (Online)

The below online filing guide has covered the process for registering profit, professional service, nonprofit and nonprofit professional service corporations. Some steps will apply exclusively to one entity type or the other.

Step 1- Begin by navigating to this webpage and selecting the Start New link.

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Step 2- The first page will present the application ID to be used if you plan on pausing the application process, saving your progress, and continuing at a later date. Click Continue to proceed.

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Step 3-  Here you will be required to submit a name for review. Be sure to add the proper wording or suffix at the end of the name to indicate what type of corporation you are forming (a list of qualifications should appear under the search field). Once you click Lookup, all the names which are similar to the one submitted will be presented. If yours appears to be available, you will be able to click Continue to advance to the next step.

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Step 4- Supply here, the information of the individual to serve as the contact person for this application. You will need to submit their name, phone number, email address and contact address before continuing.

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Step 5-  The actual articles will differ only slightly between corporation types. All entities will need to provide alternate names to use if their first choice is rejected. The corporate purpose can be stated as Any Lawful Purpose if filing a profit corporation, however, professional and nonprofit entities must specify the purpose or professional service provided in the second article. You must also supply the effective date of incorporation.

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Step 6- All entities must indicate the duration of the term by selecting one of the three provided options. For-profit entities must supply the number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue. They will also select whether the shares shall be of all one class or divided into various classes. If the latter is the case, click Attach Stock Schedule and upload a PDF on a secondary page.

Nonprofit entities must either attach a document indicating the distribution of assets or supply this information in the provided field.

Profit

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Step 7- The registered agent type, name, and address can be supplied on this page. You will also need to indicate whether the consent will be shown on this form or if there is a signed document on record confirming the consent of the individual or business.

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Step 8- This particular step is applicable only to nonprofit and nonprofit professional corporations. You must add the name, address and title of each director involved in the corporation. This task can be accomplished by clicking Add New and providing the aforementioned information into the fields on the secondary page. Once all data has been submitted, click Continue.

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Step 8- Here, all business types can submit the number of incorporators and provide their name and address by clicking Add New and entering the requisite information into the provided fields. Click Continue when all individuals have been added.

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Step 9- Standard and professional profit entities will be given a choice at this juncture; either submit the initial report filing now or at a later date. We suggest taking care of it now as there will be an additional $10 fee for those who file the initial report after the submission of the Articles of Incorporation. To skip, click Click here to Skip. Otherwise, provide the nature of the business, the name and address of each officer and director, and the principle place of business address.

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Step 10- Enter your full name into the field after reading the information displayed on this page to provide your signature. Click Continue when ready.

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Step 11- Review all the information in this summary page. If all seems accurate, you will be able to click Continue to advance to the next step.

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Step 12- Your shopping cart will display the application number, the corporation name, the option to edit the item and the option to remove the item. Also, the cost of the filing fee ($200) should be present. Click Continue to advance past this step.

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Step 13- Enter your payment and billing information on this final page and click Complete Order to make the payment and submit the filing to the Secretary of State.

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How to File a Profit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To file a standard profit corporation through the mail, you will first need to download the PDF of the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- The information required in this document is as follows:

  • Filing fee selection ($180 or $230 for expedited filing)
  • UBI (if applicable)
  • 1- Name of corporation
  • 2- Number of authorized shares
  • 3- Class of shares (if preferred stock, attach description is required)
  • 4- Effective date of incorporation
  • 5- Duration of business (perpetual or specific term)

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  • 6.1- Indicate whether you are using commercial registered agent or not, and if so, enter the name of the agent into the provided field. Provide the agent signature, printed name, date of signing and phone number at the bottom of the window.
  • 6.2- Indicate whether you are using noncommercial registered agent or not, and if so, enter their name and address into the provided field. Provide the agent signature, printed name, date of signing and phone number at the bottom of the window.
  • 6.3- Check box if you are using an office or position in the entity as a registered agent and provide the office or position and the address. Provide the agent signature, printed name, date of signing and phone number at the bottom of the window.
  • 7- Name and address of each incorporator (attach additional sheet if necessary)
  • Name, signature and phone number of incorporator as well as the date of signing

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Step 3- Once completed, print off the form, provide the requisite signatures and prepare the filing fee. This $180 fee should be paid in the form of a check or money order made out to the Secretary of State. Send both the form and the fee to the below address to be processed at the office of the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State : Corporation Division

801 Capitol Way S, PO Box 40234

Olympia WA 98504

How to File a Social Purpose Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To file a social purpose corporation, you will first have to download the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- Once downloaded, enter the following information:

  • Filing fee selection ($180 or $230 for expedited filing)
  • UBI (if applicable)
  • 1- Name of corporation
  • 3.1- Business purpose
  • 3.2- Check the boxes that apply
  • 3.3- Social purpose for which corporation is organized (optional)

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  • 4- Number of authorized shares and whether common or preferred stock
  • 5- Effective date of incorporation (upon filing or later date)
  • 6- Tenure of corporation
  • 7- Registered agent name, address and consent (signature, printed name, date of signing)
  • 8- Name and address of each incorporator (page 3)
  • Printed name, signature, title and phone number of authorized incorporator and the date of signing

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Step 3- Once the form has been completed you can print it off, provide the requisite signatures, and have it delivered to the below address to be reviewed by the Secretary of State office. You will need to include a check or money order to cover the $180 filing fee as well. This fee can be paid by 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

How to File a Nonprofit Corporation (PDF)

Step 1- To file a nonprofit corporation through the mail, you will need to first download the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- Provide the following information:

  • Filing fee selection ($30 or $80 for expedited filing)
  • UBI (if applicable)
  • 1- Name of corporation
  • 2- Effective date of incorporation
  • 3- Duration of corporation (perpetual or specific term)
  • 4- Purpose of nonprofit
  • 5- Distribution of assets upon dissolution

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  • 6- Name and address of each director
  • 7- Name and address of registered agent as well as their consent (signature, name, date of signing)
  • 8- Name, address and signature of each incorporator (if necessary provide additional attachments)

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Step 3- Once you’ve completed the forms, you will be required to attach to them a check/money order made out to the Secretary of State covering the $30 filing fee. Send both items to the below address to complete the paper filing process.

Secretary of State : Corporation Division

801 Capitol Way S, PO Box 40234

Olympia WA 98504

Tips

EIN – An Employer Identification Number is a number issued to each employer, be it an entity or individual, that pays withheld taxes on employees. This identifier is similar in a lot of ways to a Social Security Number and will be required when hiring employees or performing financial transactions. Employers may apply online using the IRS website or by downloading the Form SS-4 and submitting the document through the mail. For more information on how to apply, click on the heading of this paragraph to review our tutorial on the subject.

Corporate Bylaw–  A corporate bylaw is not a required document in the state of Washington and it needn’t be file with the Secretary of State. Instead, it should be drafted by the initial incorporators of a corporation to relay the various financial and logistical provisions which would otherwise remain undocumented. Furthermore, the rules and regulations under which the officers, directors and shareholders will be required to operate can be provided in an agreement of this nature. Click on the heading of this paragraph to review our free template for such a document, available in both MS Word format and Adobe PDF.

Renewal– Annual renewal is required of all corporation types, only the process will differ between profit and nonprofit corporations. Profit entities will be filing with the Business Licensing Center and will be required to pay a $71 fee by credit or debit card. Furthermore, for profit corporations must submit their annual reports online while using an account set up with the Department of Revenue filing system. Nonprofit annual reports can be submitted online using the Secretary of State website (linked here) and the filing will cost only $10.