Washington is a great state to set up your business. It’s one of the best business environments in the US. If you plan on setting up a business in the State of Washington, one of the foremost requirements of the state government is having a registered agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent can be a business or an individual appointed to receive legal documents for your company. These legal documents include tax notices, subpoenas, lawsuits, and others.
All companies doing business in the state of Washington must have a registered agent to ensure tracking of all legal mail sent within the state. To become a registered agent in the state of Washington, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to receive mail during business hours at an office
- Be present to receive the legal mail intended for the business you represent
- Have a physical address within Washington. Note that making use of a P.O Box is not allowed.
Registered Agent in Washington, who can work as one?
A person must meet certain requirements before he/she can work as a registered agent in Washington. These requirements are made by the Secretary of the State of Washington.
- A registered agent can be an employee of the company or third parties such as lawyers and registered agent service companies that is a resident or an organization that is located in Washington and has a valid street address in Washington. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) cannot be their registered agents. However, if you are a resident and of legal age (more than 18) in Washington, you are allowed to register as your business’s registered agent in a case whereby you have a start-up business or you are a small business entrepreneur.
- If you are a business owner based outside Washington, you must first have the authorization to do business.
Changing your Registered Agent in Washington
If you have decided to shift to another agency or entity to represent your company in Washington, maybe because your previous registered agent moved out of the state, no longer wants the responsibility, or he left your company for another. Changing registered agents is easy and free. All you need to do is follow the following steps, as outlined by the Secretary of the State of Washington:
- Start the process by knowing how things concerning registered agents are done in the State of Washington through the link. You can change your registered agent online (You’ll have to create an account if you’re choosing this option) or through the mail by downloading the Change of Registered Office or Designation of Registered Agent, print it on paper for you to complete, and then submit. The other way you can change your registered agent in Washington is by making the change in your annual report which you submit either on paper or online every year along with a fee of 60 dollars payable through check (to the Washington “Secretary of State”) or by card.
- The document you’ll fill has step-by-step instructions on how to complete the form and instructions on how to submit or deliver the forms.
The form must be correctly filled, note that changing your registered agent in the State of Washington is free, irrespective of the means of filing. However, if you choose to expedite, you’ll have to make a payment of 50 dollars which must be paid for the document to be processed online or on paper. Expedite processing takes up to 2 working days to process (For mailed forms, write “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope, and a check for the expedited service payment).
The document and the check will then be mailed to the address:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504.
You can choose to submit in person to the address:
801 Capitol Way S,
You have to know that you cannot change your registered agent in the State of Washington by just making changes to your Articles of Organization.
Should I Get a Professional Registered Agent Service Company?
Getting a professional registered agent company can reduce a lot of effort and time for any business owner. There are numerous benefits to it whether you are an established company or a small business owner. Some of these benefits are:
- Making use of their address instead of your home address, especially if you don’t have an office yet. This detail will be included in public records.
- Registered Agent processes paperwork for you
- Notify you immediately if you receive any new legal mail
- Notify you of mandatory filing of Washington annual reports
- Help you to avoid penalties for delayed filings
- Assist you with forms and instructions needed to set up your business
- If you operate a small business out of state, they fill in as your local contact in the state.
Several agencies offer registered agent services in Washington. However, you have to be careful in finding a trustworthy agent to handle your business.
Advantages of Using a Washington Business Address vs. Personal Address
- A business address minimizes exposure of your home address as public information
- Some city municipalities may not allow using home addresses as business offices
- Using your personal address can probably link you to business liabilities
- Using a business address can help you separate business and personal transactions
Having a registered agent is your gateway to setting up a business in the state of Washington. Doing it yourself is possible, but it can eat up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It is better to get a registered agent service and use the resources to build your business instead. Let them help you do business hassle-free in Washington.
Who Should Use It:
If you are willing to pay a little more for top-notch customer support and want to combine virtual office and mail forwarding services with registered agent service.
- Top-notch customer service. Great Phone Support.
- Focus on Privacy.
- Documents are scanned on the same day they are received. Mail forwarding is also available.
- Money back refund possible within 90 days
- No hidden charges. They handle all fees associated with the change in RA (good if you plan to change your registered agent).
- Not the cheapest. Zenbusiness is slightly cheaper.
Who Should Use It: If you need a basic reliable registered agent service at a great price, ZenBusiness is a good choice.
- Affordable pricing. Plans start from $99/year. Offers free registered agent service with its incorporation service
- Convenient online dashboard for documents
- Offers business formation services
- It is a public benefit corporation.
- BBB accredited (A-) and positive word of mouth on internet communities.
- Does not forward mails.
- No pro-rated refunds.
Pricing: $99/year. It is reduced to $89/year if you opt for a 3+ years package.
Who Should Use It: If you are looking for reliable registered agent services that help track regulatory requirements and promptly notify about lawsuits, Harbor Compliance is a good choice.
- Affordable pricing and no hidden fees. Price starts from $99 a year. Multiyear discounts.
- Annual reports notification.
- Same-day document scanning and delivery.
- You get phone notifications of lawsuits. Other companies generally notify via email.
- No refund if you cancel the service.
- They do not offer physical delivery of mail
Who Should Use It: Medium-sized or Start-up Business owners who want to take advantage of Rocket Lawyer’s legal subscription services and don’t mind paying to pay a little extra to get their legal needs fulfilled in one place.
- Support from legal experts. You can avail all kinds of legal services in one place.
- Prompt customer service and Money-back guarantee
- You do not get free registered agent service with the business formation.
- Good customer support. Good reputation among users.
- Price is on the higher side.
- No pro-rated or full refund option even if you cancel.
Pricing: $119/year. Free for the first year if you use their incorporation service.
Who Should Use It: If your objective is to minimize the startup costs in the first year, Incfile is a decent choice.
- Automatic mail forwarding service. Email and SMS notifications
- Free for the first year if you also incorporate your business with Incfile.
- It will cost you $119/year as a standalone service.
- Customer reviews and word of mouth is mixed. Many customers complain about slow TAT and long waiting time for customer support.
- Lots of upsells. You may just choose to ignore it.