Start an LLC in West Virginia

Starting an LLC or Professional LLC in West Virginia requires certain knowledge and skills. It is not only a joyful step but also a responsible one, so it is important to follow the procedures established by law.

In this article, we have compiled the most relevant information for those who are planning to start an LLC in West Virginia including requirements and fees. You’ll learn how to apply for LLC, what forms are required, as well as what you need to do after West Virginia LLC filings to maintain a good reputation. Also, we’ll take a brief look at how hiring an online LLC service for creating and doing business in West Virginia can be helpful and offer a few popular options.

How To Create an LLC in West Virginia?

Name an LLC in West Virginia

The name is your West Virginia LLC’s identity and one of the key elements of its image. Your West Virginia LLC name largely determines the future of the company. A suitable name should fit the principles and characteristics of the business, be concise, and memorable. However, the first step is to make sure that the chosen name complies with the law.

The requirements that apply to the names of West Virginia LLCs are presented in West Virginia Code §31B-1-105 and include:

  • Uniqueness. If there is a company registered with the exact same or deceptively similar name, the Secretary of State will reject your application for registration. You can check the availability of the name by using Business Entity Search, which is publicly available;
  • No prohibited words. The name of the LLC should not mislead as to the purpose of its creation or imply a connection to state agencies;
  • Permissions. The inclusion of words such as “lawyer”, “bank”, “attorney” etc. in the name requires permission and the presence of a licensed person in the company’s staff;
  • The name must include the following words or abbreviations:
    • “Limited Company”;
    • “Limited Liability Company”;
    • “LC”;
    • “LLC”;
    • “L.L.C.”;
    • “L.C.”;
    • “Ltd.”;

If a chosen name meets all of the above criteria, you can move on to filing an Article of Organization. However, if you are not planning to formally register and operate in West Virginia yet, you can take advantage of a reservation. This will protect your LLC name from encroachment by third parties. 

With LLC name reservation service, for $15, you will get 120 days, during which the state will keep the chosen name. All you have to do is submit the Application for Name Reservation the way you want: by mail, fax, or email.

Note that in this state, only the person who signed the original formation documents can file the name reservation papers. In addition, a Customer Order Request Form must be filed with the application.

Email

If you appreciate the simplicity and convenience of electronic documents, send your materials to:

CorpFilings@wvsos.gov

If you want to take an advantage of expedited service, the Application for Name Reservation and Customer Order Request Form should be emailed to:

efilings@wvsos.gov

Fax

Furthermore, all required LLC paperwork may be faxed to:

(304) 558-8381

Mail

If you prefer paper documents, the printed forms, along with a payment check, can be submitted to any of the addresses below:

West Virginia Secretary of State
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street
East Charleston, WV 25311

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

File the LLC Articles of Organization

To register a West Virginia LLC, you need to prepare and file an Article of Organization, the company’s primary document. You will need the following information to complete it:

  • Name of an LLC;
  • The address of the main office of the company;
  • The mailing addresses of main and physical offices, if different from office addresses;
  • The purpose of creating the LLC;
  • Name and address of the registered agent;
  • Email address;
  • Website address;
  • Name(s) and address(es) of the organizer(s) of the LLC;
  • Whether the LLC will operate indefinitely or for a specified period;
  • Whether the LLC will be managed by members (owners) or managers, and their names;
  • Responsibilities of the members;
  • Requested effective date of articles;
  • If the LLC is owned by veterans;
  • Contact person in case of any problems with the application.

The West Virginia Articles of Organization may be submitted online, by mail, fax, in person, or by email. Regardless of the method, there is a $100 application fee.

If you are a veteran or have not yet reached the age of 30, you can waive the state fee.

Online

Filing online is the fastest option, and it will take you just a couple of minutes. In addition, if you choose this method, you can also register with the IRS for an additional $30.68.

Email

For standard filings, you may send the documents and e-Payment Authorization Form to:

CorpFilings@wvsos.gov

If you want to take advantage of expedited filings, you will need to send your documents to:

eFilings@wvsos.gov

Fax

You also can send the filled out Articles of Organization and e-Payment Authorization Form to:

(304) 558-8381

Mail

Download the paper application to your computer, fill it out, and print it. Enclose a $100 check for the mandatory fee, then mail the papers to one of the addresses below:

West Virginia Secretary of State
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street
East Charleston, WV 25311

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
|229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

In Person

You may deliver documents in person by contacting any of the above addresses. Please note that if you do so, you will need to pay a $25 surcharge for 24-hour processing.

Also, you must submit a Customer Order Request form, indicating the desired option for their processing: 

  • Regular (5-10 days);
  • 24 hours – $25;
  • 2 hours – $250;
  • 1 hour – $500.

Now you know how to form an LLC in West Virginia. The next step is to make sure your business is legitimate and comfortable. 

Write an Operating Agreement For an LLC in West Virginia

An Operating Agreement is an internal document that defines an LLC’s management structure, policies, and procedures.

Although an Operating Agreement is not a mandatory part of the West Virginia LLC formation, having one provides a number of benefits to a business:

  • Written separation of the owners’ personal assets from the company’s assets;
  • Avoiding management conflicts by clearly segregating the rights and responsibilities of the participants;
  • Avoidance of West Virginia default laws, which, due to their general nature, do not take into account the peculiarities of individual LLCs;
  • Expediting and standardizing of operating procedures, etc.

There is no official form for West Virginia Operating Agreement, so business owners can obtain this document in 2 ways:

  • Hire an attorney: An experienced professional will draw up an Operating Agreement taking into account the specifics and risks of your business area, all the peculiarities of the LLC. However, lawyers’ services are quite expensive, so be prepared to pay several hundred dollars;
  • Write it yourself: You can create an Operating Agreement using free online templates, or a template provided by an online company. For example, ZenBusiness includes a free Operating Agreement in every service package.

Choose a Registered Agent

An integral part of starting a business is appointing a West Virginia agent of process, whose primary function is to receive official correspondence.

Both individuals and legal entities may act as Agents of Process Service if they meet the following criteria:

  • A resident of the state;
  • 18 y.o. or older;
  • Has a physical address located in the state (a mailbox is not enough);
  • Has a possibility to be in the LLC’s registered office during business hours to receive official documents in person. 

The owner of the business has the right to perform these duties or to appoint an acquaintance, an accountant, a relative. However, professional service is a much more reliable and convenient option.

If you have not yet registered an LLC, then by hiring a company like IncFile, you will get a free registered agent for a whole year.

Obtain an EIN For an LLC

Once you have completed setting up an LLC in West Virginia, you need to take care of obtaining an EIN. 

An Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit code that makes it easy to identify a company in the IRS records. Having a West Virginia LLC EIN is required if you:

  • Have employees;
  • Are paying taxes;
  • Are planning to open a commercial bank account, etc.

The EIN is free of charge. You can apply for it online, by mail, or by fax.

Online

To File online is the fastest way because it allows you to start using your EIN immediately after you apply. Requests are accepted from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. 

However, filing your LLC online will require a valid individual taxpayer number, such as a Social Security Number.

Fax

Download Form SS-4 to your computer, fill it out, print it, and send to:

(855) 641-6935

The estimated processing time is 4 business days.

Mail

A filled out and printed Form SS-4 may be mailed to:

Internal Revenue Service Operation
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

This is the slowest method, so be prepared to wait for about 4 weeks.

Steps After Registering a West Virginia LLC

Pay West Virginia LLC Taxes

By default, LLCs are treated as “pass-through” tax units at the federal level. All business income and expenses are reported on the owners’ personal 1040 tax returns and/or Schedule C.

As for LLC taxes in West Virginia, they are similar to federal ones. In addition, West Virginia LLC Tax Filing does not include franchise tax.

Additional taxes, depending on the nature of your business, include Sales Tax and Use Tax, as well as Unemployment Tax and Withholding Tax. You have to register for them through the One Stop Business Portal or by filing paper applications. You can use this form for Withholding, Sales, Use taxes, and a separate registration form is required for Unemployment Tax.

When planning to do business in West Virginia, be aware that some cities, municipalities, or counties impose local taxes on LLCs operating in their territory.

Open an LLC Business Checking Account

For ease of accounting, once you start a West Virginia LLC, you need to open a business bank account. This will completely separate LLC business finances from the assets of its owners and, at the same time, will expand the company’s ability to raise funds.

To open an LLC Bank Account in West Virginia, you will probably need the following documents:

  • A copy of the West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization;
  • Operating agreement;
  • A banking resolution;
  • The LLC’s EIN.

Get Business Licenses and Permits 

Generally, to operate your West Virginia LLC, you should obtain Occupational, Professional, and Special Licenses and Permits. Their number and type depend on the type and location of the business. 

Licenses and Permits can vary greatly, so if you’re not sure which ones your LLC needs, visit the West Virginia Division of Labor website. There, you can find more information and learn about licensing in West Virginia in more detail.

In addition to West Virginia business licenses, licensure requirements may be stipulated at the city or county level, so check it with your local clerk.

Submit an LLC Annual Report

The obligation to file the Annual Report applies to all state-registered companies. The filing instructions require an LLC to put its annual report forward to the state between January 1 and July 1 to maintain good standing. There is a $25 mandatory fee for processing the West Virginia LLC Annual Report.

In January, your registered agent will receive a reminder from the Secretary of State that the deadline for Reporting in West Virginia is approaching. You can submit the Annual Report online, by email, fax, deliver the paper form in person, or mail it to one of the addresses below:

West Virginia Secretary of State
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street
East Charleston, WV 25311

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301

or

West Virginia Secretary of State
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

If you miss the deadline, the LLC will receive a $50 fine and may be subjected to involuntary closure.

Wrapping Up

If you want to save time by outsourcing launching an LLC in West Virginia to professionals, then take a look at the list of the best online services for LLC formation. These companies can take care of preparing all West Virginia LLC documents on your behalf.

Online companies like ZenBusiness or IncFile will not only take care of all the startup formalities but also provide 1 year of free registered agent service as a bonus. Moreover, with IncFile, you can get free LLC filing, but, of course, if you pay $100 of the West Virginia LLC fee.