Having a registered agent is required by state law when forming a limited liability company (LLC) in West Virginia. Below we’ll explain what the registered agent is, what they do, and the requirements to be one.
What is a West Virginia Registered Agent?
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 law’s 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.
Who can be a Registered Agent in West Virginia?
West Virginia Code §31B-1-108 states that all LLCs authorized to do business in West Virginia need to continuously maintain in the state of West Virginia:
(1) An office, which need not be a place of its business in this state; and
(2) An agent and address of the agent for service of process on the company.
The registered agent must be an individual resident of this state, a domestic corporation, another limited liability company, or a foreign (out-of-state) corporation or foreign company authorized to do business in the state.
The registered agent needs to have a physical address in the state of West Virginia. This can be your home address, the address of an accountant or attorney, the address of the business, or registered agent service. P.O. boxes and mail drop services are not acceptable.
Should you be your own West Virginia Registered Agent?
Maybe not. Although it may initially seem like the simplest and cheapest option is to be your own registered agent, there are some compelling reasons to instead use a registered agent service, such as:
- Availability – A registered agent needs to generally be available at the principal address during normal business hours. This makes it difficult to leave the office to run errands, meet up with potential clients, etc.
- Avoiding Embarrassment – If you serve as your own registered agent and someone sues the business, you could have papers served to you at your office in front of clients and employees.
- Compliance Reminders – Some registered agent services (like ZenBusiness) provide reminders of upcoming state requirements, such as filing annual report filings. Forgetting compliance obligations can cause trouble with the state.
- Penalties and Fees – By not continuously maintaining a current registered agent, the LLC may be responsible for fines and other penalties, not the least of which is administrative dissolution (dissolving your LLC).
How is a Registered Agent Appointed in West Virginia?
You must name your registered agent when you complete the official paperwork with the state to form your LLC, so you need to decide who your registered agent or registered agent service will be before you begin that process. Of course, be sure to inform whomever you’re appointing and get their permission before appointing them.