How to File Washington Articles of Incorporation


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
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File Washington Articles of Incorporation

Incorporating a business is essential for entrepreneurs looking to establish their venture as a separate legal entity. By filing Articles of Incorporation, business owners in Washington can enjoy myriad benefits, such as limited liability, tax advantages, and increased credibility. However, the incorporation process may seem daunting for many, especially those not well-versed in the legal intricacies of their state. This article is a comprehensive guide on how to file Washington Articles of Incorporation, taking you through the necessary steps and requirements to establish your corporation successfully.

Whether you are a startup founder or a seasoned business owner, understanding the process of filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington, popularly known as The Evergreen State, is crucial for the seamless formation of your corporation. The following sections will outline the paperwork, fees, and registration procedures specific to Washington, along with tips on navigating potential roadblocks and ensuring your application is approved. Let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of incorporating your business in Washington.

What is Articles of Incorporation in Washington?

The Articles of Incorporation is a legal document required to file with the state government to legalize the creation of your corporation. In other words, filing these documents with the Washington Secretary of State ensures the formation of the corporation in Washington officially. The Articles of Incorporation is similar to filing the Washington LLC Articles of Organization while filing an LLC in Washington.

Washington, also known as The Evergreen State, has some rules when it comes to file the Articles of Incorporation. We shared the step-by-step process here to file the incorporation document with the Washington SOS. Checking with the SOS is recommended for more information.

It is always wise to consult a legal professional before you file your company under the Washington SOS. FIling process can be easy, but it is sensitive. If you miss anything, it can totally stope the filing process.

LLCBuddy Editorial Team

How to File Washington Articles of Incorporation

You can file the Articles of Incorporation in several ways based on the state you are willing to start your corporation. In Washington, you can file it in two methods, online and by mail. The details are similar to the details you need when forming an LLC. Here are the details you must submit while filing the documents-

Step 1: Get the Form and Enter the Details

The first step is to get the Articles of Incorporation form from the Washington Secretary of State. You will get both offline and online forms on the site, as available. You must pay the $180 for online and by mail filing when submitting the form. Following are the details you must add to your incorporation form-

Name of the Entity

The first thing you need to do is submit your company’s name. Make sure to mention the exact name of the company that you decided on. Like the LLC naming guidelines, you must also follow the Washington corporation naming requirements too. There are a few points to note when you name your company. They are,

  • You cannot have a name used by other companies or businesses.
  • You cannot have any name that is misleading or the same as government organizations.
  • Banks, Insurance, Insurer, or any such names cannot be used as they reflect the financial organization.
  • You must add terms like corporation, limited, company, incorporated, or incorporation. You can also add abbreviations like co., ltd., inc., and corp instead of the above terms.

Address of the Corporation

The next section of the form is to provide your main address. It is necessary to have a physical street address in Washington. For those running an online business, you must provide any address in the state (including your home address) where you will receive all the business and legal documents and mail. While sharing your address, make sure not to use abbreviations, such as N.Y. for New York or L.A. for Los Angeles.

Washington Registered Agent

The next point is to provide information about the Registered Agent. The Washington Registered Agent is an individual or business entity that is responsible for receiving all the legal and official documents on behalf of the company. They must be aged above 18 years and have eligibility to conduct business in the state. The Registered Agent should be legit and experienced because, in case of any lawsuit, you need an expert to handle your issues. In most cases, the Registered Agent’s official address is the company’s official mailing address. If you form an LLC, hiring a registered agent is the most crucial step in the process.

Shares and Stocks

The next important information you must provide is about the stocks and shares. While filing the Articles of Incorporation, you must mention a minimum of one share. In Washington, to start a corporation, you need at least One director(s) initially. When filing the incorporation documents, you must provide the share of directors in the corporation. It decides the ownership of the company.

If you amend Washington Articles of Incorporation in the future, you will not be able to change the initial directors. You might need an additional form to change the initial directors’ details. You must check with the Washington SOS while filing the Articles of Incorporation amendment.

Additional Documents

You might need additional documents to submit along with the incorporation documents. In Washington, you can attach a cover letter with the documents as an additional document. if you are willing to start a foreign corporation in Washington, then you must add one document along with the Articles of Incorporation. Foreign corporations in Washington must submit the Washington Certificate of Existence along with the incorporation documents.

Signature

Finally, the signature of the directors and shareholders are required on the form. You can have more than one share and director. All your initial directors must submit their official signature while filing the corporation in Washington. Get their signatures to file the Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2: Submit the Articles of Incorporation in Washington

Once you are done filling up the form, now it is time for you to submit it. The form can be submitted in two methods, online and by mail. Checking with a legal professional or a formation service while filing your corporation is recommended. It is sensitive, and one mistake can stop the entire filing process immediately.

  • Online filing: Get the eForm from the SOS site, login/subscribe to the site, fill up the form, submit online
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail to Secretary of State, Corporations Division. P.O. Box 40234

Cost of Filing the Articles of Incorporation in Washington

The cost of filing the Articles of Incorporation in Washington is an important aspect to consider when starting a new business. This one-time fee is necessary for officially registering your corporation with the Secretary of State and can vary depending on the specific requirements and regulations of Washington. In some cases, additional fees may be required for expedited processing or other optional services. It is crucial for entrepreneurs to budget for this expense and research the specific costs associated with their Washington in order to ensure a smooth and successful incorporation process. To file the Articles of Incorporation in Washington, you must pay a filing fee. The filing fee is $180 for online and by mail filing.

FAQs

How do I file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
You can file your Articles of Incorporation in Washington State by submitting the form to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
Are there fees associated with filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
Yes, there is a filing fee of $200 in order to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
What information is needed to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
You will need to provide information such as the name of the corporation, the registered agent, the duration of the corporation, the purpose of the corporation, and the names and addresses of the incorporators.
What type of business structure can I create with Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
You can create a for-profit or a non-profit corporation in Washington State with Articles of Incorporation.
How long does it take to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
It typically takes 1-2 weeks for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office to process Articles of Incorporation.
Who can file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
Any individual or group of individuals over the age of 18 can file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
Where do I submit the Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
You must submit the Articles of Incorporation to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
What are the advantages of filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
Filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State provides limited liability protection for the owners of the corporation and allows them to raise capital through the sale of stock.
What are the requirements for the name of the corporation in Washington State?
The name of the corporation must be distinguishable from the names of other businesses on record with the Washington Secretary of State and must include a corporate designator such as “Inc.” or “Corporation”.
What is a registered agent and why do I need one in Washington State?
A registered agent is an individual or entity who is authorized to receive legal documents on behalf of the corporation. In Washington State, a registered agent must have a physical address in the state.
Is there a deadline for filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
No, there is no deadline for filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
What is the purpose of filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
The primary purpose of filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State is to create a legal entity separate from its owners.
What is the process for amending Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
The process for amending Articles of Incorporation in Washington State involves submitting a form to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office and paying a filing fee.
How often are Articles of Incorporation required to be updated in Washington State?
Articles of Incorporation in Washington State do not need to be updated on a regular basis.
Who can sign the Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
The Articles of Incorporation must be signed by the incorporator(s).
How many incorporators are required to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
At least one incorporator is required to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
What is the penalty for failing to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
If Articles of Incorporation are not filed in Washington State, the corporation can be subject to fines or penalties imposed by the state.
Are there additional documents required to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
No additional documents are required to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
Can I file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State online?
Yes, you can file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State online through the Secretary of State’s website.
Is there a minimum age requirement for filing Articles of Incorporation in Washington State?
Yes, all incorporators must be at least 18 years of age to file Articles of Incorporation in Washington State.
What is the difference between for-profit and non-profit corporations in Washington State?
The primary difference between for-profit and non-profit corporations in Washington State is that for-profit corporations aim to generate profits whereas non-profit corporations are formed to pursue a charitable, educational, or religious purpose.
What are the reporting requirements for corporations in Washington State?
Corporations in Washington State are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State’s Office.
How often do corporations in Washington State need to submit an annual report?
Corporations in Washington State are required to submit an annual report every year.
Can I change the name of my corporation in Washington State?
Yes, you can change the name of your corporation in Washington State by submitting an Articles of Amendment form to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
Do I need to keep a record of shareholders in Washington State?
Yes, corporations in Washington State are required to keep a record of shareholders and their ownership interests.
What is the minimum amount of capital required to form a corporation in Washington State?
There is no minimum amount of capital required to form a corporation in Washington State.
What is the liability of shareholders in a corporation in Washington State?
Shareholders in a corporation in Washington State are typically not liable for the debts or obligations of the corporation.
What are the restrictions on the sale of shares in a corporation in Washington State?
The sale of shares in a corporation in Washington State must comply with state and federal securities laws.
What are the requirements for directors of a corporation in Washington State?
Directors of a corporation in Washington State must be at least 18 years of age, must not be an employee of the corporation, and must act in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders.
What are the requirements for holding meetings of the board of directors in Washington State?
Meetings of the board of directors in Washington State must be held in accordance with the bylaws of the corporation and must be documented in the corporate records.
What is the process for dissolving a corporation in Washington State?
The process for dissolving a corporation in Washington State involves submitting a form to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office and paying a filing fee.

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Why Washington Articles of Incorporation is So Important

One of the key reasons why the Washington Articles of Incorporation is so important is liability protection. By incorporating a business, the owners, also known as shareholders, enjoy limited personal liability for the debts and obligations of the corporation. This means that in the event of lawsuits or financial difficulties, the personal assets of the owners are generally shielded from being used to satisfy corporate debts. This separation between the corporation and its owners is a valuable safeguard that can help protect the financial interests of the shareholders and ensure the long-term viability of the business.

Additionally, the Washington Articles of Incorporation can also provide important tax advantages to a corporation. By incorporating, a business may be able to take advantage of certain tax deductions and credits that are not available to sole proprietors or partnerships. Corporations are also able to distribute profits to shareholders through dividends, which may be taxed at a lower rate than other forms of income. These tax benefits can help reduce the overall tax burden of a business and allow it to allocate more resources towards growth and expansion.

Furthermore, the Washington Articles of Incorporation can enhance the credibility and professionalism of a business. By operating as a corporation, a business signals to customers, suppliers, and partners that it is committed to transparency, accountability, and long-term success. This can help attract investors, talent, and customers who may be more inclined to do business with a legally recognized entity. Additionally, being a corporation may open up new opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with other businesses that prefer to work with established corporate entities.

In today’s competitive business landscape, having the Washington Articles of Incorporation in place can also be critical for accessing certain resources and opportunities. Many banks, lenders, and investors may require a business to be incorporated before providing financing or investment capital. Government contracts, licenses, and permits may also be more easily obtained by corporations that have gone through the formal process of incorporation. By having the articles of incorporation in hand, a business demonstrates its commitment to compliance with state laws and regulations, which can instill confidence in potential partners and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the Washington Articles of Incorporation play a vital role in laying the groundwork for a successful and sustainable business. By formalizing the legal structure of a corporation, these articles provide important benefits such as liability protection, tax advantages, credibility, and access to resources. While the process of incorporating a business may take time and effort, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment. Investing in the creation of these articles is a wise decision for any business looking to establish a solid foundation for growth and prosperity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the process of filing Washington Articles of Incorporation is a crucial step for businesses looking to establish their presence in the state. This legal document serves as the foundation of the company’s structure and outlines essential information, such as the company’s name, purpose, and management team. To ensure a smooth and successful filing process, it is vital for business owners to familiarize themselves with the State of Washington’s requirements, adhere to the applicable laws and regulations, and provide accurate and complete information in the Articles of Incorporation.

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