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How to Form an Anonymous LLC in Washington in 2024

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2023)

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A confidential LLC, also known as a limited liability company, allows individuals to conduct business without revealing personal details. Ideal for privacy protection, it’s beneficial for real estate investors or entrepreneurs in high-risk ventures.

In Washington, establishing an anonymous LLC involves crucial steps. This article outlines the necessary actions, advantages, and considerations when choosing this business structure.

Form an Anonymous LLC in Washington with Northwest Registered Agent

What is an Anonymous LLC?

An anonymous LLC in Washington does not publicly reveal the identities of its members, managers, or owners. Such LLCs are sometimes called “Blind LLCs” or “Double LLCs.”

One of the main benefits of an anonymous LLC is the increased privacy it offers to its members. For instance, if someone wants to invest in real estate or launch a business while maintaining anonymity, an anonymous LLC can facilitate that.

Furthermore, anonymous LLCs can be utilized to hold assets that an individual or group does not want to be publicly linked with, such as investments or patents.

It is important to note that while anonymous LLCs are legal entities, they have been associated with illicit activities like money laundering and tax evasion. Additionally, anonymous LLCs are not allowed in some countries. However, if the business activities and income are legitimate, anonymous LLCs can provide a degree of privacy and liability protection for their members.

Before establishing an anonymous LLC, it is essential to consult with an attorney and a tax advisor to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. Moreover, verify that it is legal in your jurisdiction, such as Washington.

Form an Anonymous LLC in Washington with Northwest Registered Agent

Is it Possible to Create an Anonymous LLC in Washington?

Creating an anonymous LLC in Washington is technically feasible, although it requires additional steps compared to forming an LLC in a state that explicitly permits anonymous LLCs.

A common strategy employed to start an anonymous LLC in Washington is the “double LLC” structure, which involves setting up a secondary, anonymous LLC as a member of the primary LLC.

In this arrangement, the first LLC is publicly identified as the asset owner or conducts business operations. Meanwhile, the second LLC, which remains anonymous, is listed as a member of the first LLC.

Washington does not explicitly allow the formation of anonymous LLCs, and the state mandates that the names and addresses of all members (or “managers” for manager-managed LLCs) be included in the articles of an organization during LLC formation. However, using a double LLC structure can help maintain a degree of anonymity for the beneficial owners of an LLC.

This double LLC approach involves creating one LLC (referred to as the “inner LLC”) owned by another LLC (referred to as the “outer LLC”). The members of the outer LLC are not publicly disclosed, as they do not appear in the articles of the organization. An outer LLC is an anonymous LLC formed in a state that allows anonymous LLCs.

Only the inner LLC is publicly visible, and the names of its members (which may include other LLCs or trusts) are listed in the articles of organization. In this way, the inner LLC’s beneficial owners remain undisclosed, offering a level of anonymity.

It is important to consult with an attorney or financial advisor to understand the legalities and the most appropriate course of action for your specific situation. This is because regulations on LLCs vary among states and can have different implications based on the nature of the business and your unique circumstances.

How to Form an Anonymous LLC in Washington

Outlined below is a step-by-step guide for utilizing the double LLC strategy. This guide demonstrates how to use an anonymous LLC as a holding company to own a standard LLC for private business owners in Washington.

Step 1 – Choose a State to Form Your Anonymous LLC

Washington does not permit the formation of anonymous LLCs, but you can create one in a state that allows it, such as Delaware, New Mexico, Wyoming, or Nevada.

Read more about the best anonymous LLC states:

Read about how to form an anonymous LLC in any US state:

Step 2 – Form Your Anonymous LLC

To create your anonymous LLC, you must file articles of organization with the chosen state and  pay the necessary filing fees. Additionally, you’ll need to select a registered agent responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of the LLC. To further maintain anonymity, consider using a nominee service as your registered agent.

If privacy is important to you, consider contacting Northwest Registered Agent when registering your anonymous business.

Form an Anonymous LLC in Washington with Northwest Registered Agent

Step 3 – Form Your Washington LLC

After forming your anonymous LLC, you can proceed to create your standard LLC in Washington. For this step, file articles of organization with the state of Washington and pay the required filing fees. You’ll also need to choose a registered agent for the regular LLC.

Form Your Washington LLC with Northwest Registered Agent

Step 4 – Have the Anonymous LLC Own the Washington LLC

Once both the anonymous LLC and the regular LLC are established, designate the anonymous LLC as the owner of the Washington LLC. To do this, list the anonymous LLC as the owner of the regular LLC on the regular LLC’s articles of organization.

Keep in mind that this process may vary depending on the state where you are forming your LLCs. There may also be additional requirements and steps involved. It’s always a good idea to seek professional advice to ensure compliance with state laws.

Washington LLC Regulations

Here are some key rules and regulations regarding Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in Washington:

Formation

To form an LLC in Washington, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. The Certificate of Formation must include the name of the LLC, the name and address of the registered agent, the LLC’s duration (if not perpetual), the purpose of the LLC, and the name and address of each organizer. The filing fee for the Certificate of Formation is $200.

Operating Agreement

While not required by Washington law, it is recommended that LLCs have an operating agreement in place to establish the rights and responsibilities of the members, outline how profits and losses will be allocated, and address any other important issues related to the operation of the business.

Management

LLCs in Washington can be managed by members or by managers appointed by the members. If the LLC is member-managed, each member has equal authority in managing the LLC. If the LLC is manager-managed, the managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the LLC.

Taxes

LLCs in Washington are not taxed at the entity level. Instead, income and losses are passed through to the individual members and reported on their tax returns.

Annual Reports

LLCs in Washington are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State by the end of the month in which the LLC was formed. The filing fee for the annual report is $60.

Dissolution

An LLC can be dissolved voluntarily by the members or involuntarily by court order. If an LLC is dissolved, the assets are distributed to the members according to the terms of the operating agreement or by state law.

These are just a few of the key rules and regulations related to LLCs in Washington. It is recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney or accountant to ensure that your LLC is operating in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Pros and Cons of Anonymous LLCs in Washington

Here are some of the pros and cons of creating anonymous LLCs in Washington.

Pros

  1. Privacy: Anonymous LLCs can provide a level of privacy for the individuals involved in the company, as their names and personal information will not be publicly available in the LLC’s formation documents.
  2. Asset protection: Anonymous LLCs can help separate personal and business assets, protecting the individuals involved in the company in case of legal action or financial liability.
  3. Legal compliance: Anonymous LLCs can be used to comply with certain laws and regulations, such as privacy laws and regulations that apply to specific types of businesses or industries.
  4. Business separation: Anonymous LLCs can help separate different business activities, allowing for a clear distinction between various businesses and their liabilities.
  5. Limited liability for members: Anonymous LLCs provide limited liability for members, meaning that members are not personally liable for the debts and liabilities of the LLC.
  6. Flexibility: Anonymous LLCs offer flexibility in management and ownership structure, as well as in tax treatment.
  7. Estate planning: Anonymous LLCs can be used in estate planning and can help transfer ownership of the business to future generations.
  8. Anonymity can be beneficial for certain businesses: Anonymous LLCs can be beneficial for specific types of businesses, such as those in the real estate or cryptocurrency industries, where anonymity can provide an added layer of security and protection.

Cons

  1. Lack of complete anonymity: While anonymous LLCs can provide a level of privacy, they are not a guarantee of complete anonymity, and there may be other ways for someone to discover the identity of the members or managers of the LLC.
  2. Cost: Setting up an anonymous LLC may require additional legal and financial costs, such as the cost of setting up a separate legal entity or hiring a registered agent.
  3. Complexity: Anonymous LLCs can be complex to set up and maintain, requiring careful attention to legal and financial compliance.
  4. Limited to certain businesses: Some businesses may be restricted from forming an anonymous LLC.
  5. Can be viewed with suspicion: Anonymous LLCs may be viewed with suspicion by banks and other financial institutions, making it harder to open bank accounts or secure funding for the LLC.
  6. Complexity in taxation: Anonymous LLCs can be complex to handle when it comes to taxation, as different layers of LLCs may have different tax implications.
  7. Difficulty in obtaining financing: Anonymous LLCs may have a harder time obtaining financing, as banks and other financial institutions may be hesitant to lend money to anonymous entities.
  8. Difficulty in building trust with customers: Anonymous LLCs may have a harder time building trust with customers, as the anonymity of the company may be viewed with suspicion.
  9. Difficulty in finding a business partner: Anonymous LLCs may have a harder time finding a business partner, as potential partners may be hesitant to work with an anonymous entity.
  10. Compliance with anti-money laundering laws: Anonymous LLCs may have a harder time complying with anti-money laundering laws, as the anonymity of the company may make it harder to identify the beneficial owners of the LLC.

Conclusion

Establishing an anonymous LLC in Washington proves effective in safeguarding your privacy and assets during business operations. Follow the steps outlined in this article to ensure confidentiality and compliance with state laws.

It’s vital to note that anonymity doesn’t provide absolute protection from legal liabilities; seeking legal counsel before forming an LLC is wise. Additionally, maintaining accurate records and upholding anonymity’s integrity by avoiding unlawful activities is crucial.

Exercise necessary caution, adhere to the laws, and reap the benefits of operating a successful, anonymous business in Washington.

For more information on anonymous businesses, explore our article on how to maintain anonymity as a business owner and how to hide business ownership.

About the author

Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. O'Neill guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.

As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Gabriel O'Neill, Esq., is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.