Washington Corporation Requirements

Each state has different requirements for forming a corporation. Whether you are starting a business or incorporating a business already in existence, you’ll want to understand state requirements for Washington incorporation.

Cost to incorporate in Washington

At BizFilings, we clearly outline our fees and the state fees to form a Washington corporation. View our pricing to incorporate as 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 state fee to incorporate in Washington with standard turn-around.
  • Expedited turn-around. You will see the BizFilings and state fee, if any, for expedited turn-around.
  • Certified copy. Our pricing also clearly displays the BizFilings and state fee, if any, for issuing a Certified Copy of the Articles of Incorporation.

Incorporate in Washington

Corporate Name

The corporate name must include the word "Corporation," "Incorporated," "Company," "Limited" or the abbreviation "Corp.," "Inc.," "Co." or "Ltd." The name must not imply a purpose other than the purpose stated in the Articles of Incorporation. It must be distinguishable from the name of any other domestic corporation or of any foreign corporation authorized to do business in state. The words "Bank," "Loan" and "Home Loan" require approval from the Department of Financial Institutions. The word "Trust" cannot be used in a name. Use of the word "Co-Operative" is restricted.

Director information

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

  • Minimum number. Corporations must have one or more directors.
  • Residence requirements. Washington does not have a provision specifying where directors must reside.
  • Age requirements. Washington does not have age requirements.
  • 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 is called the Articles of Incorporation. The information required in the formation document varies by state. Washington'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 does not 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 Washington. The registered agent must be available during normal business hours to accept important legal and tax documents for the business.
Washington Registered Agent Service

Other filings required at time of incorporation

Some states require additional filings or steps at the time of incorporation, such as a county level filing, publishing notice of the incorporation in a local newspaper or an initial report filing. Washington requires the following:

  • Initial report. Washington requires corporations to file an initial report within 120 days of incorporation.

Professional services businesses

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

After forming a corporation, you must undertake certain steps on an ongoing basis to keep your business in compliance. These steps are also important in preserving the limited liability a corporation provides its owners. This guide outlines the ongoing requirements for Washington corporations.

Corporate records

Washington corporations must keep the following items with their corporate records at the principal office:

  • The Articles of Incorporation and any amendments
  • Bylaws
  • Financial statements for the past three years
  • Minutes of shareholder meetings for the past three years
  • Records of actions taken by the shareholders without a meeting for the past three years
  • Written communications to shareholders for the past three years
  • A list of names and business addresses of current directors and officers
  • The corporation’s initial report and the most recent annual report

Corporate taxes and fees

The following are taxation requirements and ongoing fees for Washington corporations:

  • Annual report. Washington requires corporations to file an annual report on or before the last day of the anniversary month of the company’s incorporation. The cost is $69.
  • Taxes. For complete details on state taxes for Washington corporations, visit Business Owner's Toolkit or the State of Washington .
  • Federal tax identification number (EIN). An EIN is required for corporations that will have employees. Additionally, most banks require an EIN in order to open a business bank account.
  • State tax identification number. Washington requires a state tax identification number.

Business 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.

S corporation election

Washington 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 Washington. 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.

Additional Washington information

View the following additional resources BizFilings has for forming and maintaining companies in Washington:

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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