Having a West Virginia LLC is a better and cheaper option than having other business structures. A limited liability company (LLC) reduces the owners’ personal liability and protects their personal assets. One can start an LLC in two ways, domestic LLCs or foreign LLCs (LLCs in more than one state). By following some basic steps, you can easily form an LLC in West Virginia.
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in West Virginia
- After Starting your West Virginia LLC
- West Virginia Foreign LLC
- Why an LLC in West Virginia
- Top Businesses in West Virginia
- West Virginia LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in West Virginia
An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. This section gives you a step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC in West Virginia.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your LLC
Deciding on a business name is the first step to start an LLC. In West Virginia, before you name your LLC, it is important to note a few things. Firstly, make sure the name is available to use. If the name is available, then check if the name complies with all the West Virginia business naming requirements. Once you pass through them, you can successfully name your business.
Why do you need a proper business name?
If you want your LLC to have special identification, your company name is essential. However, many people face lots of issues by avoiding focus on choosing a business name for their LLC business formation filings.
Because of this, here are some of the major benefits of choosing the best LLC corporate names.
- To help establish a company’s presence in the market, a proper business entity type will help you. This also creates a new identity that will resemble your LLC.
- After you’ve properly chosen the name for your LLC, you will have no problems finishing the registration process.
- You can only get the EIN number when you have your name registration certificate with you.
Requirements when deciding a name for your LLC
LLC Name Search: A business name search is required to check if the desired name is available or not. If the name is available then the business owner has to fill up a name reservation form and send it to the Secretary of State, West Virginia. To do the name search, one has to visit the Business Entity Search page on the official Secretary of State website. Send the name reservation form to the below address by mail to reserve your LLC name in West Virginia. The cost of a name reservation is $15.
Important Quick Links:
Office of Secretary of State, One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street
East Charleston, West Virginia 25311
Get Business Domain: To have a proper online identity for your business you need a website (domain + hosting) and custom email ID. With Bluehost, you will get everything at a cheaper price. We recommend you get this amazing offer from Bluehost which comes with a free domain. You can easily set up your website and custom email id without any hassle with Bluehost. Needless to say, Bluehost has been rated #1 web hosting by most major reviewers. Their price range is affordable compared to all other popular hosting providers.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in West Virginia
A registered agent, (aka. an agent for service of process or agent of the process) is a person/business entity that will act or work on your behalf. This person or business will receive significant tax forms, government filings, formation documents, legal documents, legal forms a notice of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in West Virginia. Choosing a West Virginia registered agent for service for your LLC is required.
Make sure your registered agents are residents of West Virginia. It could also be a business. Here are the recommended agents and employees for you:
Note that availing of the services of professional registered agents would be your best option since you are guaranteed that whoever is handling your legal affairs knows their stuff well. You will enjoy peace of mind and focus only on running your business, as the ‘professionals’ take care of all legal matters.
These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in West Virginia. Compare them to check the best yet cheapest option for you. Besides, they can guarantee you professional service because they have been in the business for years.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in West Virginia
A Certificate of Name Reservation is needed to file Articles of Organization, as other states call it. You need to make reports of this certificate with the West Virginia Secretary of State, which costs up to $100 to file. LLC cost in West Virginia includes other taxes and fees. You may file them through an online application via email address or by mail through the physical street address.
This West Virginia Certificate of Formation is a legal document needed to form your business officially. It will indicate details about your LLC in West Virginia, like if it is a member-managed or managers-managed.
Before you start filings, you must already have your LLC name and registered agents or employees. You will attach a copy of your Name Reservation Certificate along with a list of the services that your West Virginia LLC will offer.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. Select “non-subscriber.” Fill out the online form. The website will alert you if your county does not support online filings after selecting your principal county. Read more about the West Virginia Certificate of Formation for online registration.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your West Virginia LLC registration, then you can download the West Virginia Limited Company Certificate of Formation. Read the form thoroughly and fill it out. It will have to fill, among others, your name, city, state, zip code, and signature.
Mail To: Martinsburg Office:
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401
North Central WV Business Center
200 W. Main St.
Clarksburg, WV 26301
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington St. E.
Charleston, WV 25311
Fax: (304) 558-8381
Step 4: Create Your West Virginia LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to an LLC operating agreement West Virginia does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all your details of business operation. This document would be useful if you decide to dissolve West Virginia LLC later.
Step 5: Filing a West Virginia LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify types of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. It is like a Social Security number dedicated to a business’ taxes. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in West Virginia LLC requires specific rules and regulations. One should know about them before hiring employees. EIN for West Virginia foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Before sending the form, ask for EIN Assistant. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
And that’s all! Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your West Virginia LLC. If you still haven’t used a professional service from here, I strongly recommend having one to handle the remaining tasks.
After Starting your West Virginia LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:
- Get a company business bank account
- File West Virginia business permits & licenses
- Get liability for business and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees
- File a West Virginia LLC annual report or biennial report
- Already existing LLCs that wish to operate in West Virginia must register as West Virginia foreign LLC.
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
West Virginia Foreign LLC
To register a West Virginia foreign LLC, one has to file the foreign LLC formation certificate with the Secretary of State, West Virginia. Forming a foreign LLC allows you to operate your business in more than one state in the USA as a single business entity. Check West Virginia Foreign LLC to know more about having a foreign LLC.
Why an LLC in West Virginia
With a GDP of $67.83 billion, West Virginia has become one of the best places for new businesses. A recent report by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research says energy industries are the backbone of the economy. Around $3.7 billion was generated through exports in the same industry.
Apart from that, there are several benefits like various business funding options and incentives like reducing tax liabilities the West Virginia government provides to the new LLCs and businesses. These programs are available here to encourage operation, job creation, and development of the state economy.
The first and foremost tax incentive is available in the energy sector. Under this program, LLCs involved in such industries will receive tax credit and benefits from the West Virginia state government.
Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone
New LLCs, domestic or foreign LLCs doing business in West Virginia, may receive a tax credit or incentive. Under this program, any business will receive a loan facility or tax incentives if they operate in empowerment zones.
In West Virginia, several locations fell under the Opportunity Zone. If a new LLC is setting up their business or operating their business in those areas, then they may receive a massive tax rebate, incentives, and so on. The program was introduced by the US Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Services (IRS).
Community Development Program
Under this program, several other programs such as Land & Water Conservation Funds, Small Cities Block Grant, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program are available. Under all these programs, any form of business will receive loans and funding facilities from the government.
Tax Exemption – Sales & Use Tax
For any LLC in West Virginia, there is an exemption on Sales and Use tax. Read more on West Virginia’s classification of LLC tax. Following are the services on which the LLC will get sales tax exemption:
- Daycare service
- Real property development, construction, repair, and/or decoration
- Television or/and Radio broadcasting sales
- Newspapers, magazines advertisements
Top Businesses in West Virginia
If you are looking forward to forming an LLC in West Virginia, then, first of all, you should know about the economy of the state. Many competing businesses contribute hugely to the state. Here is the list of businesses.
Mining businesses are the largest contributor to the GDP of West Virginia, which is around $10.68 billion. Approximately 12,556 people are working in close relation with the industry, either directly or indirectly. If you look at the products that are mined out of the fields of state, then coal is making the maximum contribution making it the second-largest coal mining state of the USA.
Apart from that, there are natural gas reserves also in the soil of the state, which helps in gaining 20% of the mining income.
The chemical businesses are the most established manufacturing units in the states. It is helping out in creating 1/5th of the state’s jobs and gives 40% income to manufacturing businesses. The list of chemicals that are produced in the state are:-
- Adhesives and plastics
- Industrial based chemicals
The total contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP of the state is $7.94 billion.
There is a golden agriculture history in the state of West Virginia. The mountain state produces agricultural income through livestock like broilers, cattle, sheep, and lambs. The crop produced the most in the state is hay, dried, and used as fodder for their own livestock.
Some people are not willing to invest so much in the business. for them, some of the small scale businesses that are working well in the state are:-
- Reviewing website
- Reputation management agency
- Equipment renting
West Virginia LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in West Virginia. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your West Virginia LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a registered agent
In West Virginia, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out our list of our 5 Best LLC Services in the United States.
- File a formation certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create operating agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in West Virginia
You may have heard of the benefits of forming an LLC in West Virginia, but how do you get started? This form of business structure combines the advantages of a corporation and a partnership, providing limited liability protection for business owners and pass-through single taxation for business profits. Unlike other business structures, LLCs can be formed in just six simple steps, freeing up your time for other tasks.
Upon completing all steps required for forming your LLC, you will receive a certificate of existence from the state. This certificate is necessary to obtain a tax ID number, business licenses, and open a bank account for your company. The LLC must also file Articles of Organization, or the operating agreement, which outlines the company’s business practices. The easiest way to do this is to file your LLC paperwork online, and the process is easy and convenient.
If you are filing for an LLC in West Virginia online, you’ll need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). An EIN is like a social security number for your business, and you can apply for one online. The IRS offers guidance on obtaining an EIN. An EIN will protect your business in the case of legal action. To avoid any unnecessary legal hassles, you should have your EIN ready before filing your application.
When you have all the necessary documents ready, you can file for the LLC with the state office. You can either use your own name, or use a registered agent service. The registered agent service will provide you with a free year of registered agent services. If you do not live in West Virginia, you’ll need to register a name and apply for a business license. If you live in another state, you’ll have to register the name with the state and then submit an application for a foreign LLC.
If you are a resident of West Virginia, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $100 (domestic LLC) and $150 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in West Virginia include $25 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 6% every year
It takes no time to get a West Virginia LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes up to 14 business days to get an LLC.
Every year all the LLC have to submit an Annual Report and pay $25 to the West Virginia Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLC in West Virginia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, leave a comment below.