West Virginia Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in West Virginia, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Business Division. You can file the document online. The Articles of Incorporation cost $130.68 to file online. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your West Virginia corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Starting a West Virginia Corporation Guide:
West Virginia Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get a West Virginia corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your West Virginia corporation today. Includes West Virginia incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes West Virginia corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
WV Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form a West Virginia corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Business Division. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated,” “Limited” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
List the street address of your principal place of business. This address will be part of the permanent public record of your West Virginia corporation. Tip: Hire us as your registered agent and you can use our West Virginia address as your principal office address.
If you have a physical location in West Virginia, include this address here.
Your agent can be a West Virginia resident (like yourself) or a business (like Northwest). Your agent is the person you designate to accept legal notifications on behalf of your business at the address you list. Tip: For expert registered agent service, we recommend Northwest.
The state will send your Annual Report notices to this email address. Like all the information in your Articles, your email will become part of your public corporate record. Tip: Rather not end up with an inbox full of spam? At Northwest, we allow our clients to list our email address here.
If you have a website, you can include it here, but this is optional.
The state wants to know if you have any other West Virginia businesses (and if so, how many and in which counties). You can answer if you want, or you can tick the box that says “Decline to answer.”
Unless you’re a non-profit corporation, you’ll need to authorize shares. List the number of shares and their par value. (Par value is the “face value” of a share that’s listed on stock certificates—typically it’s the lowest value at which a share can be traded.) Multiply the number of shares by the par value per share to get the total value of all authorized capital stock.
While your purpose is probably “making money,” don’t write that here—what the state wants to know is what kind of activity your business will engage in (like “motorcycle repair and maintenance”).
There are a few specific questions here related to what type of business you’re creating. For-profit corporations have to indicate if they’re a benefit corporation or a scrap metal dealer (if you’re the latter, you’ll need to fill out additional paperwork). Non-profit corporations have to note whether or not they’ll have members.
Your incorporator signs your Articles of Incorporation. Besides signatures, incorporators must include their names and addresses. Your incorporator can be a director, officer, or someone outside the business that you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your West Virginia corporation.
You have the option of including a contact person’s name and number in case there’s a question or problem with your filing. Again, consider carefully before including personal information.
If meet the qualifications listed on the form to be considered a veteran-owned business, your registration fee will be waived, as well as your first four Annual Report fees.
The state wants to know how many acres of land your corporation holds or expects to hold in West Virginia. Seriously. While it may initially seem like a bizarrely random question, it’s related to an unusual West Virginia fee requirement. If your corporation holds more than 10,000 acres, you have to pay $0.05 for each acre over the first 10K.
How much does it cost to start a West Virginia corporation?
The base filing fee is $100, but when filing online, you complete registrations with multiple agencies, including the tax department. The total online fee will come to $130.68. That’s $100 to the SoS, $30 to the tax department and$0.68 for a “treasury fee.” For 24-hour expediting, add $25.
Hire Northwest to form your West Virginia corporation, and your total out-the-door cost is $355.68 ($380.68 expedited). This includes state filing fees, a full year of registered agent service, and a bundle of useful forms and tools to help get your business up and running.
How long does it take to start a West Virginia corporation?
If you forgo expediting, the Business Division will get around to your filing in around 10 days. 24-hour expedited costs an additional $25. Both options are available when you hire Northwest.
Who can be a West Virginia agent for service of process?
Your Articles of Incorporation form has a place to list an agent to receive notice of process. More simply, this is the person you designate to accept legal notifications on behalf of your corporation. So who can be your agent? West Virginia Code §31D–5–501 states that your agent can be an individual West Virginia resident (such as yourself) or a corporation authorized to do business in West Virginia (such as Northwest).
Many West Virginia corporations opt to hire a commercial registered agent service like ours. At Northwest, we accept, scan and send you your legal documents in real time, so you can stay on top of your business wherever you are—whether that’s in a board meeting or out hiking Blackwater Falls. We also have free tools to help you maintain your corporation, and we’ll send you free compliance reminders so you don’t forget key business filings. Let us make running your business easier with Northwest as your West Virginia registered agent.
Create Bylaws for Your West Virginia Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Yes, your West Virginia corporation will need bylaws—they’re one of your corporation’s most important documents. Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business, and what you set in writing will greatly affect how your corporation operates.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Bylaws say who’s on the board of directors, how long they get to stay there, how they can be replaced, and what their powers and duties are. They even dictate how many board members are needed to vote on resolutions. Bylaws also spell out the details of your corporation’s stock, such as stock classes and voting shares of stock. Bylaws list the officers of your corporation and who is authorized to act on behalf of the corporation in different situations. Altogether, this collection of decisions define who has power over what—making your bylaws the single most important internal document of your Iowa corporation.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
It can be tough to know where to start. That’s why Northwest includes free corporate bylaws when your hire us to form your West Virginia corporation. We help form businesses every day, so we know how important it is to get started on the right foot. We’ve spent years refining and improving all our free forms—bylaws, resolutions, record-keeping templates and more. Take a look at the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your West Virginia Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes. Not only do you need an EIN for your federal tax filings, but you’ll also need an EIN for your West Virginia Business Registration. EINs are issued by the IRS, and you can fill out their application for free.
Rather not fill out yet another form? When you sign up for West Virginia incorporation with Northwest, you can just tick a box to add on EIN service for an additional fee, and we’ll get your EIN for you.
Open a Bank Account for Your WV Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the West Virginia corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The West Virginia corporation’s bylaws
- The West Virginia corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does a West Virginia corporation need a business license?
Absolutely. West Virginia’s State Tax Department requires your corporation to get a Business Registration Certificate before engaging in any business in the state. The certificate has a one-time fee of $30.
This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for local business licenses. Cities and counties often have their own additional requirements. Doing business in the capital? You’ll have to get a general business license for the City of Charleston ($20).
File West Virginia Corporation Reports
What is a West Virginia Annual Report?
Your West Virginia Annual Report is a form you file with the Secretary of State to update your corporation’s ownership and contact information. Your report and $25 fee are due July 1st each year. Miss your filing deadline? Your fee will triple, and you’ll owe $75 instead.
Northwest can help you avoid late fees and penalties. When you hire us as your registered agent, we’ll send you report reminders to help make sure your business stays in compliance. If you don’t have the time (or just don’t want to sort through and answer pages of small-print questions), you can even hire us to do it for you for $100 plus state fees.
How much does a corporation in West Virginia cost each year?
$25. This is the fee to file the mandatory West Virginia Annual Report.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for a West Virginia corporation?
West Virginia has a flat corporate net income tax rate of 6.5%. State sales tax is 6%, but cities can tack on an extra percent, so many cities (including Charleston, Huntington and Parkersburg) have a total sales tax rate of 7%.