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Start a Business in The District of Columbia

Starting a business in the District of Columbia is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the DCRA and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your District of Columbia business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your District of Columbia LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • DC registered agent service

  • DC business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your District of Columbia Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.7 / 5 stars by 123 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in The District Of Columbia

1
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.

2
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.

3
Open a Bank Account

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

4
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.

5
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.

6
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.

7
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.

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District of Columbia LLC vs Corporation

LLCs are popular for small business owners. With fewer annual requirements and flexible management options, LLCs are easier to maintain. Corporations are suited for large or fast-growing companies and have the ability to offer stocks —which, in turn, attracts wealthy investors. Plus, corporations have an established management structure.

But, what about Washington DC? Any pros and cons for a Washington DC LLC vs a DC corporation?

There aren’t any advantages to starting a Washington DC LLC versus a Washington DC corporation. The Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization will both typically cost $220 to file. However, if your corporation decides to authorize more than $100,000 in shares, then your filing fee will increase. Both entities are required to submit a biennial report (every two years) with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The report costs $300 to file.

During tax season, corporations are usually hit a bit harder. C corporations will be subject to a corporate income tax, which is a flat rate of 8.25%. Rates for personal income range between 4% and 8.95%.

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.

Start Your District Of Columbia Business!

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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.

Do Business The Right Way