WA State Licensing: Create business structure

Create your business structure

You may operate your business under any one of several business structures. Each type of business structure has certain advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. You should contact an attorney, accountant, financial advisor, or other business or legal advisor to determine which structure is most suitable for your business.

Your business structure may be regulated by the Office of the Secretary of State

  • If your business structure is a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you may just file the Business License Application or supplemental forms (addenda).
  • If your business structure will be one of the following, you must file with the Washington Secretary of State before filing the Business License Application:
    • Corporation
    • Limited Partnership
    • Limited Liability Company
    • Limited Liability Partnership
  • If your business requires specialty licenses (i.e., vehicle dealer, liquor, gambling, etc.), you should send the Business License Application with supporting documents to Business Licensing Service after you have formed your ownership with the Secretary of State. Make sure your Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number is noted on all documents.
  • If your business doesn’t require specialty licenses, you can file the Business License Application with the Secretary of State at the same time you file your formation papers.