Private Washington LLC
Many businesses owners seek privacy when forming their companies. A normal business formation in Washington will result in your name and address entered into the public record, where anyone who wants to search for it can find it. There are many legitimate concerns with having your private information in the public record, from pesky telemarketers to unscrupulous litigators.
In Washington, it is possible to keep your information private. We call it the The Woodsman LLC Package. A traditional LLC will will not protect your identity in Washington. To achieve total business privacy, we have created a simple strategy that ensures your information is secure and out of the public record.
Business Privacy in Washington
Achieving business privacy in Washington is not technically difficult, but it isn’t entirely straightforward either. It’s important to understand a few things upfront:
- A corporation cannot maintain business privacy in Washington
- A traditional LLC cannot maintain business privacy in Washington
A traditional LLC in Washington is not private. When you file documents with the Corporations Division, these forms end up in the public record. Anyone can look up public filings either on the Corporations Division website or by requesting them directly from the Secretary of State. Washington charges a fee for various documents, but the fees are minimal.
You cannot ask for your documents to be kept out of the public record. State law requires that public filings be disclosed upon request.
How Your Private Information Enters the Public Record
Your private information, such as your name and address, can end up in the public record in more than one way. If achieving business privacy in Washington is your goal, it is important that you understand the different ways your privacy can be overcome. It will do little good to keep your name off of one public filing only to have it listed on another.
There are three primary filings that ask for your name and address:
You are not required to list LLC members on your Certificate of Formation, but you will have to designate a registered agent. If you intend to serve as your own registered agent, then obviously you will have to list your own name and address. In addition, you must list an Executor, the individual who prepares and submits the paperwork. If you do this yourself, it’s your name on the line.
Initial Reports and Annual Renewals both require the listing of at least one LLC member, both a name and an address.
Forming a Private Washington LLC
A single traditional LLC is not private. To achieve business privacy in Washington, you must utilize a simple but effective strategy: you must form two LLCs.
Why two companies?
Because companies are allowed to own each other.
Here’s how it works:
- As your Executor and Registered Agent, we form two companies: LLC One and LLC Two
- We file LLC One’s Initial Report, listing LLC Two as the member
- We file LLC Two’s Initial Report, listing LLC One as the member
- Each year, we file two Annual Renewals with the same information
An examination of the public record will reveal only our name and address and the names and addresses of your two companies. No private information is in the public record.
But Who Owns My LLCs?
Ownership is decided in an LLC operating agreement, not its formation documents or Annual Renewals. When we form your LLCs, your operating agreements for each company will designate you as the owner.
How Does the New BOI Report Affect my Privacy?
Effective January 1, 2024, the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report requires ownership & other information to be reported the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for every LLC. The report requires individual details for anyone who owns at least 25% of the company or plays a deciding role, including full names, dates of birth, and their residential addresses. However, the reports submitted to FinCEN are securely stored and not publicly available.
To ensure that you remain in compliance with BOI reporting requirements, we offer professional BOI report filing for just $9.
Why You Need a Registered Agent for Business Privacy
Every company formed in Washington is required by state law to designate and maintain a Washington registered agent and registered office. Your registered agent information is listed on your formation documents, and if you change agents at any time you must file a Change of Agent form with the Corporations Division.
It is possible to serve as your own Washington registered agent, but doing so will prevent you from maintaining business privacy in Washington.
Your registered agent maintains your privacy in two ways:
- By providing a business address for your company (you can legally list our registered office as your business address)
- By serving as your Executor (the individual who submits your formation documents to the Corporations Division)
If you act as your own registered agent, you will end up listing your own name and address on your formation documents. If you serve as your own Executor, you must list your name and address on your formation documents.
This is why our Woodsman Package comes complete with built-in Washington registered agent service. By acting as your registered agent, we can keep all of your information out of the public record.
For those businesses seeking even greater business privacy, we also offer a service that provides a unique Washington business address and suite number that can also serve as your primary mailing address. Learn more about adding our Evergreen Mail Forwarding Service—starting at just $50 per year.
The Woodsman Package: $729
- 2 Private Washington LLCs
- 2 Private LLC Initial Reports
- 2 Private LLC Operating Agreements
- Private Washington LLC Membership Certificates for Both Companies
- 1 Year of Washington Registered Agent Service for Both Companies
- 90 Days Free Phone Service to Protect Your Private Number
As experts in Washington business privacy, we understand precisely what is necessary to keep your information out of the public record. This is why we don’t merely form your LLCs, we also write specialized operating agreements and membership certificates just for you.
In addition, we set you up with Washington registered agent service and Phone Service—both of which are critical to maintaining your privacy. As our client, you will also be able to add continued registered agent service and Business Renewal filings in the coming years, which will allow you to stay private in Washington.
There are no additional upfront costs for phone and online presence services, and you can cancel at any time.