Individuals interested in running a for-profit enterprise or nonprofit organization may file a corporation in the state of Washington. Filers may obtain filing forms from the Washington Secretary of State. They may also file online at the Secretary’s website. All filers must also submit a filing fee with the appropriate forms to start a Washington corporation.
Create a business name for your corporate business or charity. In Washington, use one of the following words or abbreviations in a for-profit corporate name: Corporation, Incorporated, Company, Limited, Corp., Inc., Co. or Ltd. After creating the name, you should check for name availability. Your chosen name must be distinguishable from all registered Washington business names. Call 306-725-0377 to check for the availability of your corporation name.
Open the “Registration Forms” page at Sos.wa.gov/corps/registration_forms.aspx#DOMPROF. From there, click on “Application to Form a Profit Corporation” or the similar link for Washington nonprofits. Bear in mind that these forms provide only the minimum necessary for filing a Washington business or nonprofit corporation. You may need to seek the advice of an attorney when incorporating in Washington or any other state.
For example, let’s say that you want to open up a Washington nonprofit charity as a tax-exempt organization. Only the IRS can grant that status. You will have to abide by federal requirements for obtaining this status. Read Publication 557 on the IRS.gov website or consult an attorney before submitting your incorporation documents.
Read the instructions for your form. Fill out the incorporation form in accordance with those instructions. In some cases, you may need to add additional provisions. You may attach those additional provisions.
Prepare the required Washington corporation filing fees. As of 2010, the fee for a for-profit corporate entity is $180 ($230 total for two-day expedited processing). The fee is only $30 for a Washington nonprofit (but the same $50 for expedited service). Note that you only have to pay an extra $20 for expedited service when filing online. Make checks or money orders out to “Secretary of State.”
Mail in or personally deliver your “Articles of Incorporation” and filing fee to the following address. You may also pay in cash if filing in person:
Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way S.
P.O. Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234
Note: You must put “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope when paying the additional $50 for expedited processing.
Note: If you wish to file online, you may access the relevant filing forms from Sos.wa.gov/corps/OnlineApplicationForms.aspx#DOMPROF.
Washington Corporation Online Application Forms
Washington Corporations Division Secretary of State Registration Forms