Establishing a company in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. is not in fact in the state of Washington (located to the northwest) but in the District of Columbia; it is an exclusive jurisdiction and not subject to any U.S. state. The name “Washington, D.C.” is an abbreviated version of the district. The city itself is situated on the banks of the Potomac River on the East Coast. Its neighbors are Virginia to the southwest, and Maryland on all other borders. In 1790 the decision to establish a capital district that would serve all the federated states of America was made, and the city of Washington was chosen. Named after the first U.S. president, George Washington, the city constitutes an important business and financial center, and also concentrates all activities relating to the incorporation of foreign companies in the district, helped greatly by a moderate tax policy.

The population of the district numbers 650,000 people, although with work commuters during the day this number rises to 1 million. The entire metropolitan area has 5.7 million residents. Washington, D.C. is the site of all three federal branches – Congress (on Capitol Hill), the President (White House) and the Supreme Court, as well as all federal government offices. The city has a variety of national monuments and museums dedicated to the American legacy and to the important people that contributed to building that great nation.

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Four things you did not know about Washington, D.C.:

  • Local law forbids building skyscrapers within city limits, excluding the United States Capitol (meeting place of the U.S. Congress). This has kept the skyline classic and traditional, creating an impressive sight that does not inhibit viewing the city’s great landmarks from a distance.  
  • Despite its regal image, Washington, D.C. sadly had the highest number of homicides in the U.S. during the ‘90s. This number dropped dramatically after reforms were conducted and police enforcement for violence prevention instituted.
  • Through the latter half of the 20th century and even today, the city is still primarily black, and thus a national focus point for African American culture. On August 28 1968 Martin Luther King made his famous “I have a dream” speech on racial equality, standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
  • The Smithsonian is undoubtedly one of the recommended and unique attractions for visitors to D.C. This museum operates 19 museum sites and the National Zoological Park – all of which permit free entry.

Washington, D.C. economy

Naturally for the capital city of a country as large as the U.S., the biggest employer of the district is the public and government sectors. The city’s economy is based largely on a powerful and extensive public sector, educated professionals and services-related businesses. GDP of the District of Columbia is 103 billion USD, with productivity of the entire metropolitan area (including those also outside the District) at 425 billion USD. It is ranked second nationally in size of its tourism sector, with the city drawing in over 18 million visitors annually. Additionally, Washington holds an enormous number of companies and organizations of all fields, including law, work unions, aid and health organizations, independent contractors (security and civilian), various lobby groups, and also important international organizations, such as the World Bank.

LLCs may be incorporated in Washington, a good compromise offering the benefits of both a partnership and a limited company. LLCs have many advantages, the most prominent of which is a 0% corporate tax rate for foreign companies registering in the district whose source of income is not within the U.S. and whose owners are not U.S. citizens.

Additional information about establishing offshore companies in Washington, D.C.:

General
Type of company
LLC
Relevant Companies Law
 District of Columbia Official Code Title 29
Offices
D.C. law requires companies to provide a local office address
Language of original incorporation documents
English
Finance and Taxation
Currency
USD
Corporate tax rate
0%
Standard share capital
Irrelevant
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Not required
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Irrelevant
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Irrelevant
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required (called “manager” – not “director”)
Obligation to appoint local company director
Not required
Minimum number of directors
1
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual and/or company
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Required (called “members” – not “shareholders”)
Obligation to register local shareholders
None
Minimum number of shareholders
1
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Individual and/or company
Type of shares
Irrelevant
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders may be accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Not required
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Required