Updated on: April 18th, 2024

Washington Registered Agent 2023 – A Beginner-friendly Guide

Hire #1 Registered Agent Service for Washington


If you plan on starting an LLC in Washington State, it is required by law to appoint a registered agent. This agent will receive all official and legal documents from the state, as well as any legal notices in the event of a lawsuit.

We have provided essential details on hiring a registered agent, the reasons why having one is necessary for Washington State, and the types of individuals or entities eligible for this role. Please read and understand this guide thoroughly before selecting a Washington State Registered Agent.

Our #1 recommended Registered Agent service in Washington is:

What is a Washington State Registered Agent?

In Washington State, a registered agent (also known as a statutory agent or a resident agent) is a person or a company that receives official documents on behalf of your business entity. These documents include formation paperwork, renewal documents, tax filings, and any legal papers if your LLC is sued by another company. All the documents are sent to the registered agent’s official address in the state. When you form an LLC, it’s required to appoint a registered agent.

Washington State LLC formation papers require LLCs to provide the name and address of their registered agent. In Washington State, there are two options for choosing a registered agent: you can either hire an in-house registered agent or outsource the service to a commercial registered agent.

Choosing a Registered Agent for Your Washington LLC

Before filing your Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State to start a Washington LLC, you need to select a Registered Agent.

What does a Washington Registered Agent do?

A Registered Agent in Washington is a person or group that receives legal mail, also known as “Service of Process,” for your LLC if it is sued.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office will send documents approving your LLC and reminders for annual reports to the address of the Registered Agent you provided.

According to RCW 25.15.021, your LLC’s Registered Agent must have a physical address in Washington.

The address for a Washington Registered Agent cannot be

  • PO Box,
  • Virtual office,
  • Private mailbox or commercial mail receiving agency like The UPS Store.

However, those enrolled in the Washington Address Confidentiality Program may use a PO Box.

LLCs in Washington are required to have a Registered Agent who is accessible during standard business hours to receive Service of Process, which may involve legal paperwork such as complaints, summonses, and subpoenas.

Why Does My LLC Need a Registered Agent?

In the state of Washington, having a Registered Agent is necessary for all LLCs to ensure that legal mail can be traced and verified. This is crucial for the court and legal systems to function properly. It operates similarly to certified for mail forwarding that requires a return receipt to create a physical proof of delivery.

Hiring a Registered Agent in Washington

If you need to hire a registered agent in Washington, there are a number of options available to you. To qualify as a registered agent, a person must meet certain basic criteria. As long as these requirements are met, anyone who lives in Washington can act as your LLC’s registered agent.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent

To act as a registered agent for our LLC in your state, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be over 18 years old,
  • Have a legal and physical address in the state of operation,
  • Be physically available during regular working hours.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

It is possible for members of an LLC, including owners and managers, to serve as their own registered agent. Family members, such as spouses or relatives, can also act as registered agents. However, anyone who represents the individual or business entity, as an agent must meet certain criteria.

What’s the Best Registered Agent Option to Choose?

In order for your LLC to have a Registered Agent in Washington, the person must have a street address and be available during regular business hours. If you don’t have a street address in Washington, someone you know who has a Washington street address can be your Registered Agent as long as they agree to make their address public and are available during business hours.

If you don’t have a street address in Washington or prefer not to use it, you can employ a Registered Agent Service based in Washington.

Risks of Being Your Own Registered Agent in Washington

Although you can act as your own Registered Agent in Washington state, there are some risks involved. While the chances of these risks occurring are not high, if they do occur, you may lose your liability protection, and your Washington LLC may be administratively dissolved (shut down) by the Washington Secretary of State.

How do these risks happen?

If your LLC does not have a Registered Agent on file or if the Secretary of State is unable to contact your Washington Registered Agent, this can result in certain consequences. In addition, if a process server is unable to serve your LLC through your Washington Registered Agent, a court case may proceed without your presence and you may not be notified about it. In the worst-case scenario, if you are not present to defend yourself, the court may issue a default judgment against your LLC.

There are a few reasons why a process server might not be able to contact the Registered Agent of your Washington LLC. These can include

  • The Registered Agent or anyone authorized to accept service not being present during working hours,
  • Being unavailable due to vacation or travel,
  • Or having moved without filing a Change of Registered Agent with the state.

How to Choose a Registered Agent in Washington State?

There are two options for choosing a Registered Agent in Washington State – hiring an in-house agent or outsourcing the service. Alternatively, you can also choose to be your own registered agent. However, it is recommended to outsource the service as it is less stressful and more convenient.

In-house Registered Agent

Regarding the in-house registered agent, it can be someone from the LLC, including yourself, or you can hire someone specifically for the role. If you choose to designate yourself, your office or home address will serve as the registered agent’s office address. The LLC must provide the state public portal with the principal office address, mailing address, and registered agent’s office address. Opting to use a registered agent service can simplify this process since you can utilize the registered agent’s address also as the mailing address.

Outsourcing Registered Agent Service

Consider using professional registered agent services to ensure your business is well-represented. We have compiled a list of the best Registered Agent services for you to choose from, all of which provide registered agents to alleviate your concerns.

Washington Registered Agent Services ($39 or $125/year)

Washington mandates that all LLCs must indicate an individual or organization as its Registered Agent when filing their Certificate of Formation. Thankfully, there is no extra charge associated with listing this entity!

A Washington Registered Agent company essentially functions as the recipient for any lawful documents and notices from the state on behalf of your LLC – they should possess a valid street address in Washington and be available for contact during regular business hours. While you may opt to use yourself or someone in your inner circle as your LLC’s registered agent and save the registered agent fee, it might be wise to consider hiring a professional instead who can handle such matters expeditiously and efficiently.

Here are our recommended Agent service providers for Washington Business Owners:

  • Northwest Registered Agent services is the perfect choice for those seeking to establish a new business and gain access to a registered agent, with a full LLC creation package starting at only $39 + state fees.

OR:


What to Consider While Choosing a Washington State Registered Agent?

When selecting a registered agent, there are certain aspects to take into account.

Service Fee: 

LLCGuys-Service-Fee

Choosing an appropriate registered agent is crucial as many states require official businesses to have one. The cost of hiring a registered agent can range from $99 to $300 per year. However, this is a reasonable cost when you consider the amount of time it can save you.


Tenure in Business of Registered Agent: 

LLCGuys-Tenure-in-Business-of-Registered-Agent

You are looking for a professional registered agent service that has reliable and established methods for managing documents. We suggest choosing a Registered Agent Service with a long history of operations. They possess the necessary expertise to handle all your paperwork efficiently.


State Jurisdiction Limitation:

LLCGuys-State-Jurisdiction-Limitation

To simplify the process of dealing with multiple registered agent service providers, it’s recommended that you use the same nationwide registered agent service as in all states if your company expands to another state.


Offer Monitoring and Follow-up Services: 

LLCGuys-Offer-Monitoring-and-Follow-up-Services

To informed about the laws and regulations that affect your company, it’s important to select a registered agent service that provides prompt and current updates and alerts. Some service providers offer this type of service, so be sure to choose one that includes it.


Registered Agent Information is a Public Record in Washington

Although you can choose to act as your LLC’s Registered Agent or ask someone you know to do it for you, it may not be preferable to have your address displayed on public records. This is because the information on your Certificate of Formation becomes public record with the Washington Secretary of State.

Other websites can legally obtain the state’s information and publish it on their own website, in accordance with public record laws.

Other websites obtain the same information from public records and display it on their own websites. As a result, your physical street address can become easily accessible with a quick Google search. We have a method to prevent your address from being included in public records if you would like to keep it private.

How to Appoint a Registered Agent in Washington State?

When you submit the Washington State Certificate of Formation for your LLC, you can also appoint a registered agent. This can be done either online or by mail, and there is no extra fee for appointing a registered agent. You only need to pay the state filing fee.

Appoint Registered Agent Online

In order to appoint a registered agent online in Washington State for your LLC, you need to visit the Washington State LLC Online Filing page and enter the information of your chosen registered agent.

Appoint Registered Agent By Mail

In order to designate a registered agent for a Washington State LLC through mail, you must first download the Washington State LLC filing form (PDF). Then, you need to provide the registered agent’s name and relevant details in the “Registered Agent” section and send the form to the SOS office. For additional guidance, consult the Washington State Certificate of Formation.

How much does a Registered Agent cost in Washington State?

The annual cost of most Registered Agent Services in Washington State ranges from $100 to $300.

How to Change a Registered Agent in Washington State?

In order to switch your registered agent in Washington State, you need to fill out the Change of Registered Agent or Office by Entity form and submit it either by mail or online to the Washington State Secretary of State.

File Online

To file your LLC online, visit the Washington State Secretary of State portal and obtain the online form. Ensure you complete all the necessary information for your LLC, including details about both your old and current registered agents. The new registered agent and an authorized member of the LLC should fill out and sign the form. The signature of the new registered agent indicates their consent to the appointment. Finally, submit the form online.

Fee: No Fee

File By Mail

An alternative option is to submit the form via mail. First, you must access the “Change of registered agent or office by entity” form from the Washington State Secretary of State portal. Then, fill in all required information on your computer and have the newly appointed registered agent sign the completed form. Finally, send the signed form to the address provided below.

Mail to: Washington Office of the Secretary of State

Corporations and Charities Division

801 Capitol Way S.

Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Consent Letter: The newly registered agent needs to provide their signature on the consent letter that accompanies the Registered Agent Change form. 

Why Do LLCs in Washington State Need a Registered Agent Service

Below are some of the most important reasons why a business should appoint a registered agent in Washington State:

  • Confidentiality: By using a registered agent service in Washington State, your business and related documentation can be kept completely private. When you appoint a free registered agent service or company instead of an individual, you will receive privacy and confidentiality contracts in advance.
  • Up-to-date Compliance: If you have an LLC or corporation, you may have numerous forms and legal responsibilities that you must attend to regularly. A registered agent service can assist you in maintaining a compliance calendar, allowing you to avoid worrying about these obligations.
  • Privacy: In Washington State, businesses are required to upload their address to the Washington State Secretary of State. However, if you’re using your home address for your business, it may not be safe to make it public. Instead, you can use a registered agent service, which will provide their address to the Washington SOS and keep your business address more private.
  • Availability: If you hire a registered agent service, they will be available during business days’ office hours. This way, they won’t interfere with other tasks at your company.
  • Online Safe Backup: Registered agents in Washington State and other states typically create an online account with backups of all documents and paperwork. This guarantees that LLC paperwork is stored securely in a central system.
  • Lawsuits or Summons: Being served or sued can negatively impact employee morale. By appointing a registered agent, all legal documents will be delivered to the right registered agent service it’s official address instead of to the owner’s office in front of their employees.

Best Registered Agent Services for Washington

As we mentioned before, being your own Registered Agent isn’t the best option for various reasons. That’s why we recommend hiring true professionals and forgetting all of the headaches of legal papers, being available 24/7, and collecting a ton of business mail.

#1 — Northwest Registered Agent Service

Northwest is one of our (and many others) top-rated LLC services. They have thousands of positive testimonials and hundreds of thousands happy customers.
You can read our honest review of Northwest Registered Agent here.

$39+State Fees

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Rating: 4.9/5
Review count: 4850+

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Form an LLC today with Nortwest. They have 98% customer satisfaction rating and over 4150+ verified reviews. They will include 1 year of free registered agent service!


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