Washington, the Evergreen State, offers a diverse landscape with two mountain ranges, verdant coastal areas, and the largest ferry fleet in the United States. In addition to growing the most apples in the country, it’s home to industry giants like Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.
If you’re considering starting a business in Washington or moving to Washington, you’ll need a registered agent. A registered agent is the trusted point of contact for Washington businesses. While you could function as your own Washington registered agent, registered agent services are an inexpensive way to ensure compliance.
Read on to understand the requirements to be a registered agent and what to look for in a professional service.
What Is a Washington Registered Agent?
A Washington registered agent or resident agent receives mail and official correspondence on behalf of your business and forwards them to you. You need a registered agent for any business entity registered with the Secretary of State, including a partnership, non-profit, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC).
An individual or company with a physical address in Washington can serve as a registered agent as long as they have an office in Washington open during regular business hours.
As a business owner, you can choose to act as a registered agent of your business or appoint another individual or business entity. Or, you can hire a professional registered agent service in Washington.
What Is a Registered Office in Washington?
A registered office is the physical business location of a Washington registered agent. The registered office is where official government correspondance, reminders, and other documents can be delivered. It must be open and have someone available during normal business hours. The registered office is listed in the public record and cannot be a post office box or virtual office.
What Are the Legal Duties of a Washington Registered Agent?
A Washington registered agent is legally required to receive and forward all correspondence to the business entity, Washington LLC members, or business owners.
Possible communications a Washington registered agent receives and forwards include:
- Business documents, such as a notice of the annual report
- Government correspondence, including tax reminders
- Litigation documents
- Other correspondence, such as notices from an insurance company or business partner
Summary of Washington registered agents’ duties:
- Receiving correspondence from the government and the public
- Maintaining the registered office with someone available during business hours
- Receiving service of process and legal summons
- Forwarding all documents and information to the business promptly
Why Is a Registered Agent Required in Washington?
A registered agent is required in Washington to ensure that the government and the public can reach the business in a timely manner. Washington Statute RCW 23.95.415 requires all legitimate, registered businesses to appoint a registered agent.
Does Washington Require Registered Agent Consents?
Yes, Washington requires a registered agent’s consent for the role. If a business entity appoints a registered agent without their consent, that individual or entity may deliver a notarized statement to the Secretary of State and their name will be removed from the records.
When Do You Need a Washington Registered Agent?
You need a Washington registered agent for all legal business entities registered with the Washington Secretary of State. This includes all domestic and foreign business entities like LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and nonprofits that form or register in Washington.
If you decide to change the registered agent or office, you must update filing information with the Washington Secretary of State.
Who Can Be a Registered Agent in Washington?
In Washington, anyone who consents to receive all legal mail and accepts the service of process on behalf of a business can function as a registered agent. The registered agent may be a commercial or non-commercial registered agent.
A commercial registered agent must file a Commercial Listing Statement with the agent’s name, physical address located in Washington State, and email address.
A noncommercial registered agent is any person or business with an address in Washington where someone is available during normal business hours.
How to Choose a Registered Agent Service in Washington?
A professional registered agent service can ensure that your Washington business never misses important documents. These service providers can be the trusted point of contact for your business. Consider the following when choosing a registered agent:
A registered agent service in Washington costs $59 to $300 per year. Consider the price with the services and additional features to select the agent that offers the greatest value for your business.
All professional registered agents receive and forward official mail and communications. Some also offer premium services like online account access, email scanning and forwarding, or online LLC formation to launch your business faster.
A registered agent’s reputation for service, value, and privacy is an important consideration to protect your company. Look for a service with positive reviews from current and past clients on sites like Google, BBB, and Trustpilot.
Many LLC members choose to use a registered agent to protect their private information. Check that the registered agent has a strong reputation for privacy and reliability as your company’s trusted interface with the public.
What Happens if You Don’t Have a Washington Registered Agent?
The Secretary of State will reject your business filing if you don’t have a registered agent in Washington. If you fail to maintain a registered agent with the Secretary of State, you might face penalties, fees, or unfavorable court filings without your knowledge.
How to Change Registered Agents in Washington?
You may change your Washington registered agent at any time. As a business owner, you might choose to change the registered agent from yourself to a professional service or change between two professional services. In either case, you must notify the state immediately.
To change a registered agent in Washington, you must fill out the Statement Of Change/Designation Of Registered Agent Form. You can submit the form online at www.ccfs.sos.wa.gov or mail it to:
Washington Secretary of State
Corporations and Charities Division
PO Box 40234
You may also deliver the form in person to:
801 Capitol Way S
There is no fee for changing the registered agent in Washington, however, if expedited service is requested, it costs an additional $50. Checks or money orders can be made payable to the “Secretary of State.”
If you have questions, you can reach the Corporations Division through its website, email, or phone.
- Website: sos.wa.gov/corps
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 360-725-0377
Building Your Washington Business
As a business owner, finding reliable support to manage additional services can help you to focus on your core business. Washington registered agent services are a low-cost and reliable way to ensure you receive all official correspondence and meet legal requirements.
Likewise, doola Bookkeeping Services offer exceptional accounting services for busy founders so you can focus on business growth. Get doola books to save time on accounting without hiring a professional.
How long does a Washington Registered Agent’s appointment last?
A Washington registered agent’s appointment lasts until the registered agent resigns, the business changes registered agents, or the business moves out of state.
Can you appoint an out-of-state Registered Agent for your Washington business?
No, you cannot appoint an out-of-state registered agent for your Washington business, although a foreign business operating in Washington can function as your registered agent.
How much does hiring a professional Registered Agent in Washington cost?
Hiring a professional registered agent in Washington costs $59 to $300 annually, depending on the company and services offered.
Are Washington Registered Agents responsible for any fees or taxes?
No, Washington registered agents aren’t responsible for any taxes or fees. Business owners or LLC members are responsible for all business taxes, fees, annual filings, and other responsibilities.
Is a Washington Registered Agent’s address public?
Yes, registered agents’ names and addresses are on the public record. You can look up the details of Washington registered agents with the Secretary of State.