Want to learn how to form an LLC in West Virginia? We’re here to help.
While the process can seem complicated at first glance, starting a business in the state is pretty easy. Better still, we’ll guide you through the entire process, from choosing an LLC name to filing an article of organization and creating an operating agreement.
Keep reading to learn more!
Choose a Name for Your West Virginia Business
Choosing a business name for your West Virginia LLC is always the first step in forming a company in the state.
What kind of name should you choose? We think it’s important to pick a name that is memorable and easy to pronounce. It also helps if your name relates to your business activities.
You also need to ensure that your chosen business name complies with the naming requirements and rules in West Virginia. These include the following:
- Your LLC name must be unique and distinguishable from other West Virginia LLCs.
- If you want to use restricted names, such as Inc., trustee, bank, Attorney, etc, you may need to fill out additional paperwork.
- Your West Virginia LLC name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or its abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC” at the end.
- The chosen name must not include misleading words or phrases that could confuse your LLC with federal government agencies.
In addition, the chosen name for your LLC must be available in West Virginia, and no other business entity should have taken it. You can confirm this by doing an LLC name search on the West Virginia Secretary of State website. We also recommend checking if the chosen LLC name is available as a web domain.
Hire a Registered Agent
A registered agent is a business entity or individual designated to handle all your legal and state correspondence documents and forward them to you promptly.
The state of West Virginia requires all LLCs to nominate and maintain a registered agent. There are no restrictions as to who can be a registered agent. You can appoint yourself, a family member, a friend, or another LLC member to act as a registered agent for your LLC.
You can even hire a third-party registered agent service provider. However, they must comply with all the requirements of being a registered agent in West Virginia. For example, one must be a permanent resident of West Virginia, be available to work during regular business hours and be at least 18 years of age.
We recommend hiring one of the following best registered agents in West Virginia:
Northwest is our top recommendation for the best West Virginia registered agent company. At only $125 per year, you will get all the tools required to remain compliant in West Virginia at a fair price. These include scanned documents, pre-filled state forms, document storage, and annual report reminders.
Northwest is reputable for its excellent customer support team, popularly known as Corporate Guides. They are always ready to assist you with any issue related to registered agent services and compliance.
If you hire a Northwest registered agent in more than four states, you will also be eligible for a discounted annual fee of $100.
Our second recommendation for the best registered agent service provider in West Virginia is IncFile. It provides a vast range of compliance services and is popular for offering a free year of registered agent services to entrepreneurs who buy their LLC formation package.
Regarding their registered agent services, IncFile will give you a tailored digital dashboard, personalized email and SMS alerts, and automatic mail forwarding.
A year of IncFile’s registered agent services costs only $119.
Rated #1 on Investopedia and Forbes, ZenBusiness is a reputable name in the registered agent industry. This popular registered agent company will offer you all the tools required to remain compliant. These include mail forwarding, email notification, a personalized dashboard, and document scanning.
A year of ZenBusiness registered agent services costs only $199. You can even upgrade it to include more features, such as annual support notifications and document submissions.
File Your Article of Organization
The next step after picking an LLC name and hiring a registered agent is to register your business with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
The easiest way to register your LLC in West Virginia is by filing an Article of Organization online with the West Virginia Online Business Formation System. All you need to do is create an account and have a credit card handy to pay the filing fee of $100.
If you prefer not to use the online filing system, you can file your West Virginia Article of Organization by mail. To use this method, you must download and fill out two copies of the West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization Form. Mail the two copies together with a money order or a check (not cash) for $100 to the following address:
West Virginia Secretary of State, One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311
Either way, some of the information to include in the Article of Organization for your West Virginia LLC includes the following:
- The name and address of your business
- The purpose of your West Virginia business
- The name and street address of the appointed registered agent
- The effective date of your LLC
Make sure you have all this information to hand before starting the process.
Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement establishes the standard rules and procedures of operation for your LLC.
West Virginia does not legally require business owners to draft an operating agreement. However, creating one is a good practice, as it puts all LLC owners on the same page and prevents disputes. In addition, if you do not have a written operating agreement, your business entity will be governed by the default West Virginia state laws when resolving disputes.
Creating an operating agreement for your West Virginia LLC is straightforward. You only need to download an online template and customize it to include details that apply to your LLC, including the following:
- Guidelines on dispute resolution
- Standard of Operation to conduct business
- How to add and remove members
- Rules for transferring LLC ownership
- Obligations and rights of each member, including shares and voting rights
If in doubt, we recommend turning to your lawyer for expert advice.
Acquire the Necessary Licenses and Permits
Any LLC involved in business activities in West Virginia must get at least one permit or license at the state level. This is often the seller’s permit, also known as the business registration certificate, obtained from the West Virginia Business License Portal.
This permit or license allows your LLC to collect sales tax on behalf of the state. The fee for obtaining this license is $30. This is a one-time fee that won’t need to be renewed.
If your LLC offers professional services, you must acquire special state licensing. The West Virginia OS Business Portal outlines the licensing requirements for different professionals.
Along with the West Virginia state licensing, local governments may need LLCs to obtain additional permits and licenses. So, check with the local government where your business entity will be operating to understand the type of licenses and permits you will need.
Get a Federal Tax ID
Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number the IRS uses to identify your LLC for tax purposes. It is similar to a Social Security Number.
All West Virginia LLCs with two or more members must acquire an EIN. However, even if you have a single-member LLC, we recommend getting an EIN, as it is vital for the following:
- Opening a business bank account
- Hiring employees
- Filing tax returns
- Paying income, federal, business, and employment taxes.
To apply for your EIN, simply visit the IRS website. The application is entirely free of charge and straightforward.
Open a Business Bank Account
Before generating revenue, you will need a place to keep your money. That requires opening a business bank account. Plus, keeping your personal finances separate from business ones makes tracking your LLC’s income and filing taxes easy.
The good thing is that opening a business bank account in West Virginia is relatively straightforward. You only need to inquire at your preferred bank to understand the requirements and rates for opening a business bank account. Most major banks require you to provide your EIN, Article of Organization, Operating Agreement, and a small deposit fee.
If you are looking for the best bank or financial institution to open a business bank account with, consider one of the following recommendations:
Buy West Virginia Business Insurance
Regardless of the type of business you are starting in West Virginia, there is always the possibility of something going wrong or finding yourself part of a lawsuit. So, purchasing proper business insurance policies is vital to protect your LLC in these instances.
The three most purchased business insurance policies include the following:
- Workers’ compensation insurance: All LLCs in West Virginia with one or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage to protect employees against on-the-job injuries, illnesses, or even death.
- Professional liability insurance: If your LLC in West Virginia provides professional insurance, like accounting, you will need professional liability insurance, as it offers protection against business malpractices and errors.
- General liability insurance: It is a broad insurance policy that protects your West Virginia business entity against lawsuits. It also covers things like property damages and injuries caused by your Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Get a competitive quote for your West Virginia insurance needs by consulting a comparison site like Insureon.
Accelerate the Process with an LLC Formation Package
If you find the above steps time-consuming or daunting and need assistance forming your LLC in West Virginia, you can hire an LLC formation company to do everything for you.
The good thing is that you will always find an LLC formation package that suits your budget. Some LLC formation service providers offer basic packages utterly free of charge.
For example, LegalZoom provides a free basic LLC formation package, which features incredible perks required to streamline your West Virginia LLC formation. You will only need to pay the fee for filing your Article of Organization.
If you have money to spend on forming your LLC, you can purchase their Pro package at only $249 plus state filing fee or Premium package at $299 plus state filing fee. These packages include more perks and expedited processing.
If you want more affordable LLC formation packages, consider Northwest. Their LLC formation service fee is only $125.
FAQs About Forming an LLC in West Virginia
How Long Will It Take to Form My West Virginia LLC?
If you file the Article of Organization online, you can have your West Virginia LLC formed in five to ten days. Or three to four weeks if you file by mail. You can always pay for the expedited processing if you want it formed faster.
How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an LLC in West Virginia?
The cost of setting up an LLC in West Virginia is $100. This is the state fee for filing your Article of Organization. You may also pay an additional fee to reserve your LLC name, expedite the filing process, trademark your business name, or buy a web domain.
Can I Act as my Own Registered Agent in West Virginia?
Yes. West Virginia state laws allow you to nominate yourself as a registered agent for your LLC if you meet all the requirements. For instance, you must be 18+ years old, have a permanent street address in West Virginia, and be available to work during regular business hours.
Can I Form a Single-Member LLC in West Virginia?
Yes. You can easily form a single-member LLC in West Virginia by following the above-mentioned steps. Remember to adhere to the guidelines and requirements of starting a single-member LLC in this state.
Forming an LLC in West Virginia can be a perfect way to enjoy a more favorable taxation environment and improve personal asset protection.
We hope this step-by-step guide has given you the required insight into starting your West Virginia LLC. You can easily complete the process on your own or hire an LLC formation company to streamline and speed up the process.