How to Incorporate a Business in Washington DC

There are three ways to incorporate your business in Washington DC:
  1. Hire a lawyer to do the job for you (the most expensive option)
  2. Walk in to the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs office and do it by yourself
  3. Use a professional incorporation company, like Active Filings.
When you hire Active Filings to incorporate your business in the District of Columbia, you’ll receive everything you need to track and maintain your company, including free expedited service, one year of registered agent service, and instant access to your online account where you can add additional services, track orders, maintenance requirements and digital notifications.
However, whatever method you choose, the section below will provide you the basic information you need to know about DC filings.

DC Articles of Incorporation Requirements

The Articles of Incorporation is the formation document you file with the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs to register your corporation with the state (LLCs file Articles of Organization). In Washington DC, you can file Articles of Incorporation by mail, fax, online or in person (it will take the SOS 10 days to process your filing if you file online). If you hire Active Filings to incorporate your business, we are authorized to file online with the state, and we’ll form your LLC or corporation in 1 business day.
To complete your Washington DC Articles of Incorporation, you’ll need to include the following information:
  • Company Name
    The name must contain the word “corporation”, “company”, “incorporated”, or “limited,” or an abbreviation. The name shall not be same as or deceptively similar to name of domestic corporation or authorized foreign corporation, or to reserved name.
  • Company Purpose
    List the reason for forming the corporation or the business/activity which the corporation will engage in.
  • Authorized Shares
    List the number of shares of corporate stock you are currently authorizing. Technically, this is when you “create” your stock (more can always be authorized later), and that stock will be issued to your shareholders at your first shareholder meeting.
  • Registered Agent Information
    In the District of Columbia, a registered agent (also known as a resident agent) is an individual or business that serves as your company’s official point of contact for lawsuits and legal notices. As part of Active Filings’ incorporation service, we include a year of registered agent service when you hire us to incorporate your business in Washington DC.
  • Names and Addresses of the Incorporators
    The incorporator is the person or company authorized to form the corporation. For example, if you hired us, we would list ourselves as the incorporator. The incorporator does not have any stake in or claim to the corporation being formed.

Director Information

* Minimum Number – One or more.

* Residence Requirements. – No provision.

* Age Requirements – None.

* Directors are required to be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Officer Information

* The officers are not required to be listed in the articles of incorporation.

Stock Information

* An increase in shares or par value does not effect initial fees.

Yearly Requirements

* Annual Statements

* Corporations must file reports with the Mayor by April 15 of the year after its incorporation and on or before April 15 of each second year thereafter. The biannual report fee is $200.

Income Tax Rate

* The state tax rate is 9.5%. Effective for tax periods beginning after September 1994, a 2.5% corporation franchise (income) surtax is imposed in addition to the existing 2.5% surtax of normal tax (above). Minimum tax is $100.

More information about incorporating in Washington DC:


In 10 minutes or less. Start Here: