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Starting a Business in the District of Columbia

We’re Just Not Annoying®


Starting a business in the District of Columbia can and should be easier than you think. You file simple forms with the DCRA, and your business is formed! Obviously there’s a few more things than that, but if you’d like to start your own business yourself, you will find it easy to hire us as your registered agent and you’ll find all the forms you could file to start a business in the District of Columbia, along with great filing instructions on the quickest and cheapest ways to start your business in the District of Columbia.

What’s the actual process to start a business in the District of Columbia?

File Your Articles

You file articles of incorporation for a District of Columbia corporation or articles of organization for a District of Columbia LLC with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the District of Columbia showing your approved District of Columbia business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new DC business name should be easy with these two items.

Register Your Business

You register your District of Columbia LLC with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue or DC Department of Employment Services if you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax.

Apply for Licenses

Almost all DC businesses need a DC business license from the DCRA Business License Division. Your license fees and requirements will depend on your business activities in DC. We provide links and DC licensing information in your online account.

Get a trade or occupational license if you need one. Many professions are exempted from the DC Basic Business License requirement. Keep in mind that some businesses need a professional license AND the DCRA Basic Business License.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Up and Running

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are you a do-it-yourselfer? You can save some money:

If you want to start a business in the District of Columbia yourself, you can just hire us as your DC registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the District of Columbia LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate a DC corporation or form a DC LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional District of Columbia registered agent service.

Start a District of Columbia Business

If you want a corporation, you file District of Columbia Articles of Incorporation:

It will cost $220 to file the articles of incorporation with the DC DCRA.

We custom draft your District of Columbia articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your District of Columbia business. The basic requirements of District of Columbia corporations are:

  • The District of Columbia Corporation must have a corporate ending such as Incorporated, Corporation, Limited, or an abbreviation of one of those
  • The District of Columbia corporation name must be different than already registered District of Columbia corporations
  • The number of shares the District of Columbia Corporation is authorized to issue
  • The name and office address of the registered agent in District of Columbia
  • You may include other optional provisions
  • The name, address, and signature of the District of Columbia incorporator

The DCRA requires original signatures on DC corporate filings. Obviously this doesn’t apply if you incorporate online. The DCRA will send the filed document to the address on your envelope.

If you want a LLC, you file District of Columbia Articles of organization:

To form a District of Columbia LLC, you file DC articles of organization. The DCRA articles of organization filing fee is $220. The basic requirements of District of Columbia LLCfilings are:

  • The business name must have a LLC ending or variation of it
  • The District of Columbia company name must be different than already registered District of Columbia companies
  • The effective date of the articles of organization
  • The District of Columbia LLCs principal address
  • The LLC must have at least one member
  • State the date when a person or persons became members of the LLC
  • The DC registered agent name and the physical address
  • The DC organizers name, address, and signature

The District of Columbia does not require original signatures on new DC LLC filings. The DCRA will send your filed document to the return address on your envelope.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®