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.

  • 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.

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.


Type of company


Relevant Companies Law

District of Columbia Official Code Title 29


D.C. law requires companies to provide a local office address

Language of original incorporation documents


Finance and Taxation



Corporate tax rate


Standard share capital


Office Holders

Company Secretary (Secretary)

Obligation to appoint company secretary

Not required

Obligation to appoint local secretary


Type of entity that may function as company secretary



Obligation to appoint company director

Required (called “manager” – not “director”)

Obligation to appoint local company director

Not required

Minimum number of directors


Type of entity that may serve as company director

Individual and/or company


Obligation to register shareholders

Required (called “members” – not “shareholders”)

Obligation to register local shareholders


Minimum number of shareholders


Type of entity that may register as shareholder

Individual and/or company

Type of shares


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


Obligation to submit financial reports


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