Starting your own business is a big step. To improve your chances for success, you need to make the right decisions. Incorporating your West Virginia business entity may be the smart choice for you. West Virginia Articles of Incorporation are filed with the Secretary of State (SOS) under Section 31D-2-202 of the West Virginia Business Corporation Act.
Once you get approval for your Articles of Incorporation, you can start operating your business as a newly formed corporation. Keep in mind that the information you provide on your form will be in the public domain and available to anyone for review.
The West Virginia Secretary of State requires every domestic (in-state) for-profit entity that wishes to be incorporated to file Articles of Incorporation to conduct business within its borders. The SOS’s office accepts online and mail-in filings.
The fastest way to register a domestic corporation in West Virginia is to file Articles of Incorporation online. Here are the details you need to provide:
A foreign business refers to an entity incorporated in another state or country but looking to do business in West Virginia. If your business falls into this category, you need to file an Application for Certificate of Authority with the West Virginia Secretary of State. Per section 31D-15-1501, provide the following information to file this form:
Foreign corporations must also submit a Certificate of Good Standing (or the equivalent) from state where you initially incorporated.
Find a suitable business name in compliance with section 31D-4-401 at West Virginia Code | §31D-4-401 (wvlegislature.gov). Your business entity should have a distinguishable name that’s not being used by another West Virginia business. If a similar one is in use by another entity, your filing may be rejected by the SOS.
When you find a unique name you like, you’ll need to decide on an official corporation designator to add to it. In West Virginia, you can choose from any of the following approved designators or their abbreviations for your corporate name: Corporation (Corp.); Incorporated (Inc.); Company (Co.); Limited (Ltd.); or Foundation (only for nonprofit corporations).
To check name availability, call the State Business Division or conduct an online search via the official database. If you need more time to register your documents, you may reserve your name. It’ll keep your name available for 120 days from the reservation filing.
Your Filing for West Virginia incorporation may include some information as defined by Section 31D-2-202. Per the statute, you don’t have to furnish the following:
The SOS office accepts mail-in filings as well as online filings. Filing online is the quickest method.
Once your Articles of Incorporation are submitted and processed successfully, your business is officially recognized as a corporation by the state of West Virginia. If you’re looking for a little assistance in the process, ZenBusiness can help you complete your articles with our business formation plans.
Check the West Virginia Secretary of State website to see what the most current information is on fees and methods of payment available.
The West Virginia SOS’s Business Division takes five to 10 working days to process a standard request. If you expedite the process, it can be done in 24 hours, two hours, or one hour by paying the applicable additional fee.
The Business and Licensing Department of the West Virginia SOS.
Statute 31D-2-202 governs the requirements of the West Virginia Articles of Incorporation.
You aren’t legally required to hire an attorney to file the Articles of Incorporation.
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