There are a number of reasons you might need to change your West Virginia LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in West Virginia might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of West Virginia has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s agent for service of process. A business entity can change agents at any point as long as it uses Form AOO (for mailed filings) or the One Stop Business Portal (for online filings). Another option is updating the agent information on the business’ Annual Report, due by July 1 each year.
Find information and links to necessary forms and pages on this page and this page, or learn more about filing Annual Reports here.
You can’t pick just anyone to be an agent for service of process for your LLC. The state of West Virginia puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your agent, keep these requirements in mind. The agent for service of process in West Virginia must:
* If your agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in West Virginia
Your former agent for service of process is out the door and your new one is ready to go. But first, you need to formally file your change with the Secretary of State’s office. You have multiple options for how to do it: online, mail, fax, email, or on your Annual Report.
Online: You can take care of the whole process through the WV One Stop Business Portal. Your first step is to create an account (if you don’t already have one). Logged in? Select the appropriate form, input your new agent information to file the change, and pay your $15 fee by card.
Mail: Your go-to form will be Form AOO, and you can download it here. This form encompasses a few different business entity changes, but you’ll only need to focus on number four: Agent for Service of Process. Enter your current agent’s name, and then your new agent’s name and address. You’ll also need an authorizing signature from your new agent.
For a paper submission, you also need to include a Customer Order Request, which is page four of the document linked above. Pay the $15 fee by check or card. If you’re paying via card, also complete and include an e-Payment Authorization (page six of the linked document). When finished, mail these documents to:
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311
Fax: You may fax your completed documents, including e-Payment Authorization, to (304) 558-8381.
Email: You may email your completed documents, including e-Payment Authorization, to CorpFilings@wvsos.gov (email@example.com for expedited filings)
Annual Reports: Each year, you must file your Annual Report between Jan. 1 and Jul. 1. If your need for a new agent falls within this window and you haven’t yet filed your report, you can include your new agent’s information there. File your Annual Report online at the One Stop Business Portal or download a paper form.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’re all set! Standard processing time is 5-10 business days, but you have the option to request expedited service on your Customer Order Request. 24-hour service is $25, 2-hour service is $250, and 1-hour service is $500.
Think of your agent for service of process as a mediator between you and the state of West Virginia, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable agent is essential to every West Virginia business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your agent for service of process takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a West Virginia small business from out of state, a trustworthy agent for service of process is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good West Virginia agent for service of process, consider using an registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional agent for service of process so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the best rated registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness is a very well known option.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your West Virginia agent of process role, but only one way to resign.
Registered agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for West Virginia LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
West Virginia state law doesn’t require that you inform your LLC before submitting your resignation. After the Secretary of State processes your official resignation form, they will send a copy to the company. That said, letting them know ahead of time can help to facilitate a smooth transition for all parties. Giving the LLC advance notice will allow them time to plan their agent of process change, thereby avoiding potential fines and fees.
It will also relieve you of your responsibilities sooner. After it’s processed, your resignation doesn’t take effect for 31 more days unless the LLC appoints a replacement sooner. If they’ve had time to line up a successor, you can hand off your agent of process duties right away.
You may be thinking ahead to your next job or project, but before you can move on, you must file a Form RRA-1: Statement of Resignation of a Registered Agent with the Secretary of State. Find it here, or by searching for it on the Secretary of State’s Form Search page.
Now that you’ve got your hands on the form, fill it out using a PDF editor (like Adobe Acrobat) or dark ink. Here’s the information you’ll need to provide:
The filing fee is $15, payable by a check made out to “West Virginia Secretary of State” or credit card. All business filings must also include a “Customer Order Request” (page 3 of the form linked above), and if paying via credit card, an “e-Payment Authorization” (page 5). When you’ve finished, send your documents and payment to one of the following three offices:
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311
Fax: (304) 558-8381
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301
Fax: (304) 627-2243
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Fax: (304) 260-4360
Standard processing time for the Secretary of State’s office is 5-10 business days, unless you choose one of the three available expedited processing options: 24-hour ($25), two-hour ($250), or one-hour ($500). As we discussed earlier, you will retain your agent of process duties for 31 days unless your LLC appoints a replacement sooner. Just be aware that you may still receive service of process for up to one month after you resign.
When you put down your agent of process responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Failure to keep the Secretary of State updated on agent of process resignations and changes can have serious consequences. The state doesn’t require businesses to have an agent for process (although it’s encouraged), but if the LLC doesn’t notify the Secretary of State of your resignation within 60 days, it can be administratively dissolved.
If the company does appoint a replacement, they must meet West Virginia’s agent of process requirements, meaning that they must:
An LLC can appoint one of its individual members as agent of process, but sometimes it can be easier and more efficient to hire a professional service instead.
We recommend using a agent of process service, which can take over agent of process duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your West Virginia LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in West Virginia or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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