Starting a series LLC in Washington DC is almost similar to starting a traditional LLC in Washington DC. The only difference is you need to file the articles of organization with Washington DC Form LLC 1A with the Washington DC Secretary of State‘s Corporations Division. It cost you $50 to file online and $105 for paper filings of Washington DC series LLC.
Here are 5 straightforward DIY steps to start a Series LLC in Washington DC:
- Choose an appropriate name for Master LLC
- Pick a Washington DC registered agent
- File articles of organization
- Draft an operating agreement for Washington DC series LLC
- Obtain an EIN
Or use a reliable LLC service:
- Zenbusiness ($0 + State Fees)
- LegalZoom ($79 + State Fees)
Washington DC series LLC, enacted in 2013, has all the characteristics of a limited liability company with an added layer of liability protection for each child series under the umbrella of a master or parent LLC. Follow this step-by-step Washington DC Series LLC guide to start a series LLC in Washington DC without any hassle.
Before we dig deep into each step, let’s have a quick recap on what a Washington DC series LLC is and why you need to start a series LLC in Washington DC.
What is Washington DC Series LLC?
A Washington DC series LLC is a type of limited liability company (LLC) that is formed under the laws of the state of Washington DC and allows for the creation of separate series or cells within the LLC (Mater or Parent LLC).
After the creation of Master LLC, you don’t need to separate filing for each series. Not only the LLC members have limited liability protection against business debts or lawsuits but each series is also shielded against the liability of other series under the umbrella of a master LLC.
Each series aka child series or cell can have its own assets, liabilities, and management structure, and can be treated as a separate legal entity for the purpose of conducting business and entering into contracts.
Why Do You Need a Washington DC Series LLC?
The Washington DC series LLC structure is often used for asset protection and risk management purposes, as it allows the LLC to divide its assets and liabilities among the different series or cells, potentially limiting the exposure of the assets in one series to the liabilities of another.
This can be particularly useful for businesses that engage in multiple, unrelated activities or that have assets with different levels of risk.
Washington DC series LLC is an alternative to a holding company or forming multiple limited liability companies in Washington DC. In both cases, you need to form and file separate entities with the state. Whereas the series LLC allows you to create multiple entities without the need for state filing.
Note: A holding company is an entity that owns other companies’ outstanding stock.
To have a better understanding of why you need to form a series LLC in Washington DC, here are some useful resources:
- Series LLC vs Holding Company,
- Multiple Businesses Under One LLC, and
- Series LLC vs LLC (Traditional)
Let’s step by step discuss the formation of series LLC in Washington DC.
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1. Choose a Suitable Name
This name will be mentioned in the articles of organization. So, you must follow:
- Washington DC laws related to naming a traditional and series LLC
- It must be distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file.
- It must contain the words “Series Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation like “SLLC” or “L.L.C.S”.
- The name should not confuse with any government agency
- It must not have any restricted words such as Bank, Attorney, etc. For that, you need to get permission or additional paperwork.
- This name must be distinguishable from any other names in the series
Please note that the child series name will not be mentioned in the articles of organization and you don’t need to file separate articles of organization for each series. If you wish to file a Fictitious Business Name (DBA) for any child series, you can follow our DIY guide on How to File a DBA in Washington DC.
2. Choose a Washington DC Registered Agent
A registered agent is a person or business entity that has agreed to accept legal documents on behalf of a company or organization. To start an LLC, every state in the USA requires you to mention the name and address of a registered agent.
The registered agent is responsible for receiving and forwarding important documents, such as lawsuits, official government notices, and other legal papers. You or any other LLC member can be the registered agent of your Washington DC LLC or you can get registered agent services for this purpose.
Since the name and address of the registered agent go public, many business owners avoid naming themselves as registered agent for their LLC or corporation. So, they hire legit registered agent services.
Hiring a Professional registered agent service in Washington DC such as ZenBusiness or Incfile can save you time and hassle by handling the receipt and forwarding of legal documents for you. This allows you to focus on running your business, rather than worrying about tracking down important documents.
3. File Articles of Organization
Articles of organization aka certificates of formation are the legal documents needed to file in order to register an LLC with the state. Both traditional LLCs and series LLCs need to file these documents with the Washington DC Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.
Difference Between the Articles of Organization of Washington DC Series LLC and Traditional LLC
The only difference between filing the articles of organization for a traditional LLC and a series LLC is Washington DC Series LLCs must include the provision in Article 7. By checking Article 7 you ask the Washington DC state to authorize your LLC to establish a series in its Operating Agreement.
Information Required on Washington DC Articles of Organization for Series LLC
Here is a breakdown of the required articles:
Articles # 1: The Name of the Series LLC
The name must include the words “limited liability company”, “Limited Company,” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.,” “LLC,” “LC,” or “L.C.” Moreover, it must be distinguishable from the names of other businesses on file with the Washington DC Secretary of State.
Articles # 2: The purpose of the series LLC
This should be a general statement of the business activities that the named Washington DC series LLC will engage in.
Articles # 3: The Name and Address of the Washington DC Registered Agent
The Washington DC registered agent’s name and address must be physical. You can not use a P.O. Box number.
Articles # 4: Management Structure
Indicate the management structure of your Washington DC series LLC i.e; member-managed or manager-managed.
Articles # 5: Duration of LLC
The Washington DC Series LLC can exist for a limited time period or continue to exist for an unknown duration in the future. In this article, you must specify whether the series LLC is intended to be a perpetual entity or one that will dissolve at a specific date.
Depending on your circumstances, on the online form, you may indicate either:
- The number of years or the event that will signal its dissolution, or
- Choose “perpetual”.
You can leave this line blank on the paper form if your Washington DC series LLC existence will be perpetual.
Articles # 6: The Name and Address of Each organizer
The LLC organizers are the individuals who sign and file the articles of organization to form the series LLC. They don’t necessarily need to be a member, manager, or owner.
Articles # 7: Series Provision
It is a special provision in the Washington DC Articles of organization empowering your Series LLC to establish multiple child series in its operating agreement. It is the article that distinguishes a traditional LLC from a series LLC.
To form a series LLC, you must check the first box which acknowledges your company’s status as a Washington DC Series LLC. If you already have any series at this time, then include the names and check the corresponding boxes that acknowledge each series’s limited liability.
Articles # 8: Future Effective Date
If the starting date of your series LLC is different from the date of filing your Washington DC series LLC articles of organization, mention that date. You can mention the effective date that lies within 90 days after filing the articles of organization.
Additional Requirement For Washington DC Series LLC Articles of Organization
You must attach a separate Form LLC 1A for each child series with the articles of organization. While naming the child series, you must follow specific naming rules defined by the state.
Submitting Washington DC Series LLC Articles of Organization
You need to submit a Washington DC Series LLC Articles of Organization along with Form LLC 1A (for each series existing at the time of filing) with the Washington DC Secretary of State’s Corporations Division.
For paper filing, you need to download the form, fill out the information, sign the document, and send it to:
State of Washington DC John R. Ashcroft, Secretary of State
PO Box 778 / 600 W. Main St., Rm. 322
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Filing Fee for Washington DC Series LLC
You need to pay a $50 fee for online submission and a $105 fee for paper filing.
Processing Time for Washington DC Series LLC Articles of Organization
The formation of Washington DC LLC takes around 3 to 6 business days by mail while the online documents are processed immediately after payment is received.
4. Create an Operating Agreement
The Washington DC series LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the rules and regulations for the operation of a Washington DC series LLC. You need to create this document explaining how your Series LLC will be governed and operated.
Why You need Washington DC Series LLC Operating Agreement
The operating agreement for a Washington DC series LLC specifies the rights and responsibilities of the members, managers, and other stakeholders of the LLC, as well as the procedures for decision-making, management, and dissolution of the LLC and its various series or cells.
This document should be kept with your other important business documents. Remember, the operating There is no need to submit this document to the Washington DC secretary of state.
5. Obtain Federal EIN
You need to obtain tax identification numbers aka EIN (Employer Identification Number) by registering with the IRS. EIN is used to identify a business entity for tax purposes. You need to file an EIN for each of the child series if it is
- Multi-membered series LLC,
- A single-membered series LLC with employees, or
- The series LLC chooses to pay its taxes as a corporation
How to Get EIN from IRS for Free
You can get an EIN via an online application or through paper filing:
What to Do After Forming Washington DC Series LLC
Once you have successfully registered your Washington DC Series LLC, you must complete these 2 steps to stay organized and compliant:
1. Obtain a Business License
There is no statewide business license in Washington DC. However, individual cities and counties have specific licensing requirements of their own. You may need additional licensing or permits depending on the parent LLC’s business activities.
Moreover, depending on the individual business activities of each series, you may need to acquire business licenses for each series separately.
2. Open Business Bank Accounts
Keeping business and personal accounts separate from the start not only helps you sort the finances from the start but allows you to get full advantages of the limited liability protection of the LLC structure.
Therefore, you should open a business account for the parent LLC. If you want to keep the finances of each series separate, you may also open a separate account for each series.
To open a business account, you need the following documents:
- A copy of your Washington DC LLC Articles of Organization
- Your Washington DC Series LLC EIN
- A copy of your Series LLC operating agreement
What to Do to ADD a Child Series in the Future
Every time you want to create a new child series, all you need to do is to amend your Washington DC Series LLC operating agreement and file Form LLC 1A with the Washington DC Secretary of State’s Corporations Division. You don’t need to file new articles of organization. Filing Form LLC 1A will give the child series the status of an LLC.
Important Resources Related to Washington DC Series LLC
To help you LLC related issues in the future, we have compiled a list of articles. You can refer to these resources to get your queries addressed.
- Change Registered Agent in Washington DC
- How to Form Washington DC Foreign LLC
- Washington DC LLC Domestication
- How to Dissolve Washington DC LLC
A series LLC (SLLC) is a type of business entity that offers its owners the benefits of a traditional LLC, with the added advantage of asset protection of each series. By following the steps above, you can successfully start a Series LLC in Washington DC.
It’s important to be organized and keep proper records of all the documents related to your series LLC. Doing so will make sure that you remain compliant with state regulations for your business entity type.
Aisha Noreen is an owner of a small business with more than 9 years of experience in the marketing industry. With the wisdom of an old soul, she always seeks innovation and mind-blowing ROI techniques. Her unique approach helped many small businesses thrive and she can surprise you in many ways as well. Believe it or not, her energy, passion, and creativity are contagious enough to transform your business and take it to another level.
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