Washington DC Corporation Requirements

Each state has different requirements for forming a corporation, and the District of Columbia is no exception. Whether you are starting a business or incorporating a business already in existence, you’ll want to understand District of Columbia (DC) incorporation requirements.

Cost to incorporate

At BizFilings, we clearly outline our fees and the district fees to form a corporation in Washington DC. View our pricing for a C corporation or S corporation to plainly see:

  • BizFilings’ package prices. BizFilings offers three incorporation service packages from which you can choose.
  • State fee for standard turn-around. Our pricing clearly shows the district fee to incorporate in DC with standard turn-around.
  • Expedited turn-around. You will see the BizFilings and district fee, if any, for expedited turn-around.
  • Certified copy. Our pricing also clearly displays the BizFilings and district fee, if any, for issuing a Certified Copy of the Articles of Incorporation.

Incorporate in DC

Corporate name

The corporation's name must contain the word "Corporation," "Company," "Incorporated," "Limited" or an abbreviation thereof. The name shall not be the same as or deceptively similar to name of a domestic corporation, authorized foreign corporation or reserved name already existing in Washington DC. The word “Bank” cannot be used unless the company is a bank.

Director information

The following are DC’s requirements for directors of corporations:

  • Minimum number. Corporations must have one or more directors.
  • Residence requirements. DC requires directors to have a physical address (no post office boxes).
  • Age requirements. Directors must be age 18 or older.
  • Inclusion in the Articles of Incorporation. Director names and addresses are required to be listed in the Articles of Incorporation.

Requirements for the Articles of Incorporation

The document required to form a corporation in Washington DC is called the Articles of Incorporation. The information required in the formation document varies by state. DC's requirements include:

  • Officers. Officer names and addresses are not required to be listed in the Articles of Incorporation.
  • Stock. Authorized shares and par value must be listed in the Articles of Incorporation. An increase in the number of shares or par value can affect initial filing fees.
  • Registered agent. Corporations must list the name and address of a registered agent with a physical address (no post office boxes) in DC. The registered agent must be available during normal business hours to accept important legal and tax documents for the business.
Washington DC Registered Agent Service

Professional services businesses

Washington DC allows professionals, such as accountants, attorneys and physicians, to form a professional corporation (PC).

Other filings required at time of incorporation

DC does not have an initial report or publication requirement for corporations.

Corporate records

Corporations must keep the following items with their corporate records at the registered agent’s office or at the principal place of business:

  • Books and records of account
  • Minutes of shareholder and director meetings
  • A record of shareholders, including names, addresses and the class of shares held by each

Corporate taxes, fees and licenses

Annual report and franchise tax. DC requires corporations to file a biennial report. The first report must be filed on or before April 1st of the second year following incorporation. The fee is $300 except for Nonprofits which is $80. DC also has a franchise tax that is due by the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the corporation’s tax year. The minimum franchise tax is $100.

Taxes. For complete details on state taxes for DC corporations, visit http://www.toolkit.com/small_business_guide/sbg.aspx?nid=P07_4669 or http://otr.cfo.dc.gov/otr/site/default.asp .

Licenses. Business licenses and/or permits are required for most businesses. The BizFilings Business License Application Package can help you stay on top of these requirements.

Federal tax identification number (EIN). An EIN is required for corporations who will have employees. Additionally, most banks require an EIN in order to open a business bank account.

State tax identification number. DC does not require a state tax identification number.

State S corporation election. DC does not recognize the federal S corporation election and does not require a state-level S corporation election. You can still have an S corporation in DC. The S corporation will only be an S corporation for federal tax purposes and not for state tax purposes. For state purposes, the corporation will be treated as a regular C corporation.

State Guides


The state in which you form your company can provide certain benefits.

Please select both a state and a topic.

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