You formed your Washington LLC. You did the paperwork. You started operating your business.
And now, for one reason or another, you need to change your registered agent. No worries, we’ve got you covered.
There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Washington LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Washington might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
What the State of Washington Says about changing a Registered Agent
The state of Washington has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. Every business entity operating in the state is required to have a registered agent on file at all times. For each registered agent change, the business must submit a “Statement of Change” either on paper or by mail, or update its registered agent information on the Annual Report.
The Washington Secretary of State provides a handy FAQ dedicated solely to registered agents. Check it out here.
Who can be a Washington Registered Agent
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Washington puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Washington must:
- Be an individual Washington resident or a business entity located in Washington
- Have a Washington street address (P.O. boxes are not allowed)
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Washington
How to Change Your Washington Registered Agent
Your new registered agent might be ready to take on their responsibilities. They might already be in the office. But before they can do anything, you need to make your agent change official. Visit this page to get started.
Washington businesses can change their registered agents online or by mail, take your pick. Both methods are completely free, so there are no fees to worry about.
Online: At the page linked above, click the “Online” option to access the Secretary of State’s digital filing system. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one. Once you’re logged in, follow the instructions to complete your change.
Mail: Download the “Statement of Change/Designation of Registered Agent” and complete it with the required information. Then, mail it to:
Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504
Or, if you’re local to Olympia, you can drop it off in person at 801 Capitol Way S, Olympia, WA 98504-0234.
As mentioned above, if your registered agent change coincides with your Annual Report filing, you can execute it there. Your Annual Report is due each year by the end of your LLC’s anniversary month (the month it was formed). File your Annual Report either online or using a paper form. There’s a $60 fee, payable by card or check (made out to “Secretary of State”).
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Your new registered agent will be on file soon! If you’re in a hurry and need to process your change right away, select “Expedite Service” on your paper or online form. This service costs $50 and will have your paperwork processed within two business days. For mailed forms, write “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the envelope.
Consider a Registered Agent Service
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Washington, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
- service of process notices
- tax information
- and other Secretary of State correspondence.
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Washington business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Washington small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Washington registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the top five registered agent services.