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If you’re starting a business in West Virginia, then a limited liability company (LLC) may be a good choice. LLCs offer protection of the business owners’ personal assets, similar to a corporation. Unlike a corporation, though, an LLC has more flexibility, less paperwork, and the tax benefits of a sole proprietorship.
Young entrepreneurs and military veterans can also benefit from starting an LLC in West Virginia. If this business model appeals to you, consider getting started on your WV LLC application.
Forming an LLC in West Virginia does involve some paperwork, but don’t let that intimidate you. Check out our step-by-step guide below to find the information you need to get your West Virginia LLC up and running. You’ll learn everything about getting your business started and WV LLC registration.
Your WV LLC application doesn’t have to be difficult to complete. There are six basic steps to starting your LLC in West Virginia. You’ll need to register with more than one state agency to meet all the legal requirements. First, you’ll complete your registration with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. Then, you’ll need to apply to the Department of Tax and Revenue. You may need additional licenses and permits depending on your business activities and where your operations will take place. All of these will play important roles in your WV LLC registration.
We’ll take you through the process and also tell you how our services can make forming and running your WV LLC much easier. Read on for our detailed guide on starting an LLC in WV.
Naming your West Virginia LLC comes first. If you’re ready to start a new business, you’ve likely put some thought into how to do this. Now is the time to narrow down which name you would like to use.
State law guides the naming of businesses in the Mountain State, so you’ll need to make sure that the name you choose for your West Virginia LLC abides by these requirements:
It’s also a smart move to consider using your West Virginia LLC’s name for a domain name at this time. A domain name is the website address at which your customers can find your goods or services. It can be used as your official business email address, too. A simple domain name search will show you if the company name, or any close variation of it, is available to use. We have a tool to help you do a preliminary domain name search, and our domain name registration service can help you secure the online name that will best serve your company.
Once you’ve made sure your LLC name is available in West Virginia and on the internet, you have the option of reserving it so that no one else can use it before you can officially launch your business. An LLC name reservation with the Secretary of State protects your company’s name for 120 days from the filing date.
There is a fee involved for filing an LLC name reservation. It’s important to note and remember a unique West Virginia requirement: The person who reserves the name on the state’s application must be the same person who signs the initial business startup documents.
You’ll have to submit the completed filing to one of the business centers listed on the application. You can email your application to CorpFilings@wvsos.gov, fax your document, or drop it off in person. If you’d rather not deal with this process yourself, we have a business name reservation service that can handle it for you. As part of the service, we also check to see if your desired name is available.
Another thing to consider after you register your LLC name is whether you want to use a trade name. In West Virginia, a trade name is any name under which you conduct business that is different from your LLC’s official and legal name. This type of name is also known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name, true name, and fictitious name. An LLC only needs to use a trade name if you want to:
There are no limits to the number of trade names a company or person can register. There is a fee involved for trade name registration with the state. The registration allows you to operate under this name, but it offers no protection against others using the same name to do business.
Finally, to make sure you’re entirely in the clear with your desired business name, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to make sure your business name or logo isn’t already federally trademarked. Trademarks can also happen at the state level, so you’ll also want to make sure that no state trademarks exist on your planned LLC name. To find out more and/or apply for a state trademark, go to the West Virginia Secretary of State website page for trademarks.
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A registered agent is a person or business entity appointed to receive legal documents on your company’s behalf. All registered business entities in West Virginia must appoint and maintain a registered agent throughout the life of their business, the details of which become public records. They must be available Monday through Friday during normal business hours at a physical street address. No P.O. or virtual mailboxes are acceptable.
You can be your own registered agent, but you may not want to be. Having to always be available to receive legal correspondence can keep you tied down to the office, unable to go meet with clients or take vacations, and being served with a lawsuit in front of clients is never good for business.
Hiring a specific West Virginia registered agent service, such as our third-party partner, may provide you with the peace of mind you’re looking for.
You’ll designate your registered agent and detail their contact information in your Articles of Organization, as explained in the next step.
Your Articles of Organization form is a legal document that you must complete and file with the state to start your LLC in West Virginia officially. To file your Articles of Organization, you will need the following information:
Your LLC is considered a professional limited liability company (PLLC) if you practice one of the following professions:
There is a fee involved for filing your Articles of Organization. Veteran owners can have this fee waived if they meet certain requirements and file a waiver form. Veterans must submit a DD 214 form from the Department of Veterans Affairs with their Articles of Organization, too. Young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 also qualify to have this fee waived.
You can submit your Articles of Organization by email, fax, in person, or online.
All of that being said, filing official government documents like this can be intimidating and/or complicated for many people, which is why we’re here. With our business formation plans, our professionals handle the filing for you to make sure it’s done quickly and correctly the first time.
If you have us handle filing your Articles of Organization, once the state approves your LLC, your paperwork will be available from your ZenBusiness dashboard, where you can keep it and other important paperwork digitally organized.
Once you get your physical paperwork back from the state approving your new LLC, you’ll want to keep it in a safe location along with your other important documents, such as your operating agreement, member certificates, contracts, compliance checklists, transfer ledger, etc.
We offer a customized business kit to help you keep these important documents organized and looking professional.
An operating agreement is a document that outlines how your LLC will operate. It details all the rules, procedures, and regulations that all members and/or managers must abide by. West Virginia law doesn’t require you to file an agreement; however, creating one and having all members sign it can help protect personal assets and your company.
The agreement can even help solve future issues between members.
A West Virginia operating agreement can include information such as:
To help get you started, we offer the use of our customizable operating agreement template.
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a tax ID number issued to businesses by the IRS. Obtaining an EIN is necessary to do things such as hire employees and pay taxes. It’s a way for the government to identify your LLC and apply the proper taxes. An EIN is also commonly referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number.
You can get your West Virginia LLC’s EIN through the IRS website, by mail, or by fax, but if you’re unfond of dealing with that particular government agency, we can get it for you. Our EIN service is quick and eliminates the hassle.
Once you’ve secured an EIN, you’ll be able to open a business bank account. Having separate accounts for your business and your personal banking is critical for sorting out your finances at tax time and helps you avoid commingling funds.
Commingling funds can not only make your taxes more difficult but it could also be used against you if someone takes you to court to challenge whether you and your LLC are truly separate entities.
We offer a discounted bank account for your new business. This allows for unlimited transactions, online banking, a debit card, and more. When you want to authorize others in your business to use the account, we offer a banking resolution template to simplify the process.
For further help managing your new business’s finances, try ZenBusiness Money. It can help you create invoices, receive payments, transfer money, and manage clients all in one place.
After completing your registration with the Secretary of State, but before conducting business in West Virginia, you must obtain a Business Registration Certificate from the State Tax Department for your LLC. You can file an application through the Business for West Virginia Online Portal. You can also file via mail by completing and sending a BUS-APP form to the Tax Commissioner at:
West Virginia State Tax Department
Tax Account Administration Division
Registration & Account Correction Unit
P.O. Box 2666
Charleston, WV 25330-2666
The state charges a small registration tax, which will need to be submitted at the time of filing for your certificate. There’s an additional fee when you file through the online portal.
The state fees for forming a West Virginia LLC range from $130 to $220, depending on factors such as whether you choose to reserve your business name, get a DBA, etc.
Note that fees change over time, so you should check the Secretary of State website for the most recent fee schedule.
West Virginia is a scenic state that’s rich in American history. It’s centrally located on the East Coast, within an eight-hour driving distance of many major metropolitan areas. Over half of the U.S. population can be easily reached within a day from the Mountain State.
West Virginia strongly supports young entrepreneurs and U.S. military veterans, so the state makes it more affordable for them to start an LLC in West Virginia. Business owners who are West Virginia residents and under the age of 30 qualify for a free filing of their LLC’s Articles of Organization. Proof of age and residency will be required to qualify.
The Boots to Business waiver is an initiative by the state to help veterans transition from military to civilian life. To qualify as a veteran-owned LLC, the veteran must be honorably discharged or discharged under honorable conditions.
The state law also requires that at least 51% of the business must be owned by a veteran or veterans. To file as a veteran-owned LLC, follow the instructions on your Articles of Organization form, as you’ll need to supply additional documentation to qualify.
Other benefits of forming a West Virginia LLC include:
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
You can form your West Virginia LLC by mail or in person, but it is faster and easier to do so online. The Secretary of State’s office encourages filing online through the One Stop Business Portal. You’ll receive real-time updates as your forms are processed.
West Virginia has options for expediting your filing for an additional fee. If you’re in a hurry to form your LLC and don’t want to jump through the hoops of the state’s expedited filing processes, we can handle it for you with our faster filing speeds service.
No, you don’t need to file your operating agreement with the state; however, it’s recommended that you have one to run your business and further protect your assets.
In West Virginia, a limited liability company is taxed as a partnership or corporation. It depends on how you elect your LLC to be taxed for federal income tax. When you apply for your West Virginia Business Registration Certificate, the State Tax Department will establish a tax account for your LLC. They’ll provide you with the appropriate tax reporting forms, so you will know which West Virginia business taxes you’ll need to pay.
We can help you get a better understanding of your taxes with our Free Accounting Assessment.
As an LLC in West Virginia, you can choose whether you want to be taxed as a partnership or corporation. Whichever you choose, you must also be taxed as such at the federal level. There are pros and cons to each tax structure. It’s best to speak with an expert about which tax structure is most beneficial for your situation.
No, West Virginia doesn’t allow a Series LLC. This business structure has one main LLC under which multiple LLCs can be organized.
You’ll need to make sure your West Virginia LLC has all the licenses and permits it’s required to have by law. Unfortunately, because licensing varies by industry and location and can occur on the federal, state, and local levels, there’s no central place to check to see if you have all the licenses and permits you need. You’ll have to do some research.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do all this research, or if you just want the peace of mind to know that your business has all the licenses and permits it’s legally required to have, our business license report service can do the work for you.
Your West Virginia LLC will need to file an annual report each year, which is due by July 1.
We can help you with your West Virginia annual report in a couple of ways. Our annual report service will help you file your annual report, and our Worry Free Compliance service not only helps with filing your annual report, but also sends you other important compliance reminders and helps you with two amendment filings each year.
You must file an Articles of Termination form with the Secretary of State’s office to dissolve your West Virginia LLC. There is a fee involved to complete the process.
For more information, visit our West Virginia business dissolution guide.
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