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How To Start A Nonprofit In West Virginia

To start a nonprofit corporation in West Virginia, you must file a document called the Articles of Incorporation with Non-Profit IRS Attachment (Form CD-INP) with the West Virginia Secretary of State. You can file this document by mail or online. The articles of incorporation cost $25 to file. Once filed with the state, your articles of incorporation officially create your West Virginia nonprofit corporation, but truly preparing a nonprofit to pursue its mission involves several additional steps.


West Virginia Nonprofit Filing Options

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Download the West Virginia nonprofit articles of incorporation. Fill out the form and submit to the state.

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Our free account and tools will walk you through starting and maintaining a Virginia nonprofit. All for free.

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WV Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation Requirements

To incorporate a West Virginia nonprofit, you must complete and file nonprofit articles of incorporation with the West Virginia Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.

1. Name

Your nonprofit’s name should include one of the following terms: “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or one of their corresponding abbreviations. The name must also be distinguishable from the names of other entities on record with the West Virginia Secretary of State. You can do a preliminary name search at the WV Secretary of State’s website.

2. Principal Office

If your nonprofit will have a principal office in West Virginia, include the street address, mailing address, and county.

3. Principal Place of Business

Include the physical street address, mailing address, and county of your nonprofit’s principle place of business in West Virginia (if any).

4. Agent of Process

List the name and street address of your nonprofit’s agent of process. This is the individual or business authorized to receive service of process on behalf of your nonprofit. When you hire Northwest, our information goes here.

5. Business E-Mail Address

Include a business email address for correspondence from the state.

6. Business Website

If your nonprofit has a website, include the web address here.

7. Number of Businesses Owned

If you own more than one business in West Virginia, you have the option to include that information here (including the number of businesses and the counties in which they are located). Select “Yes,” “No,” or “Decline to answer.”

8. Organization

Check the box indicating that your nonprofit has been organized for nonprofit, non-stock purposes.

9. Purpose

Describe your nonprofit’s purpose. If your nonprofit intends to seek 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status, make sure to attach the specific tax-exempt language and provisions required by the IRS.

10. Members

Indicate if your nonprofit will or will not have members.

11. Incorporator(s)

Include the names and addresses of your nonprofit’s incorporators (WV requires at least one incorporator). When you hire Northwest to incorporate your nonprofit, our information goes here.

12. Veteran Status

West Virginia waives the registration fee for veteran-owned organizations (and also waives the first four years of fees for annual reports!). If your organization qualifies as veteran-owned, indicate that here.

13. Acreage

Include the number of acres in West Virginia your nonprofit holds or expects to hold.

14. Contact and Signature

Include the name and phone number of someone it can contact if or when it needs more information, and make sure your incorporator signs and dates the form. When you hire Northwest, this part is easy. Our information goes here.

How Much Does It Cost to Incorporate a West Virginia Nonprofit?

West Virginia charges $25 to file nonprofit articles of incorporation, and you can expedite your filing time for an additional $25 fee.

How Long Does It Take to Incorporate a West Virginia Nonprofit?

It generally takes about 10 business days for West Virginia to process nonprofit formation documents. For $25, you can order 24-hour processing. 2-hour service is available for $250 and 1-hour service for $500.

Who Can Be a West Virginia Agent For Service of Process?

Your nonprofit’s agent for service of process is the individual or business entity authorized to receive legal notices and other official state mail on behalf of your nonprofit. You can take on the job yourself or hire a business authorized to perform this service in West Virginia (such as Northwest).

We don’t recommend taking on the job yourself. The agent must be available at a physical West Virginia address during normal business hours, which is a tough promise to keep when you’re trying to manage and grow a new nonprofit, and the agent must list a street address on your nonprofit’s articles of incorporation—a document that goes into the public record.

When you hire Northwest, these problems disappear. You can our West Virginia address on your articles, which protects your privacy, reduces junk mail, and prevents unwanted solicitors from showing up at your door. And if we ever receive a service of process for your nonprofit, we’ll scan it and send it to you on the day we receive it.


Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Your nonprofit will need an employer identification number (an EIN or FEIN) to open a bank account, establish credit with vendors, and apply for 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status (among other things). After the state approves your articles of incorporation, you can apply for an EIN on the IRS website, by fax, or by mail. Or you can bypass dealing with the IRS altogether by adding our EIN service, for an additional $50 fee, when you hire Northwest, and let us get your EIN for you.


Hold Your Organizational Meeting & Adopt Bylaws

West Virginia requires your nonprofit to adopt bylaws, which are basically your organization’s internal rules, answering questions about your officers’ responsibilities, your record keeping procedures, and a host of other questions that need clear answers in advance. You should adopt your West Virginia nonprofit bylaws at your nonprofit’s organizational meeting—the first official meeting after incorporating with the state—and before seeking 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS.

Creating bylaws is probably one of the most difficult things about starting a new nonprofit, but Northwest is here to help. When you hire Northwest, you’ll have access to our adaptable template for writing nonprofit bylaws, as well as our numerous free nonprofit forms, to help your nonprofit start out successful and stay successful.


Apply for Federal and/or State Tax Exemptions

Will My West Virginia Nonprofit Be Tax Exempt?

Not immediately. To qualify for federal tax exempt status, you’ll need to submit an Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS. Currently, the Internal Revenue Code defines more than two dozen types of tax-exempt organizations, but most nonprofits seek 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for public charities and private foundations. If this applies to your organization, make sure your West Virginia nonprofit articles of incorporation include the specific tax-exempt language and provisions required by the IRS. Check out Northwest’s Guide to 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status for more information.

What About West Virginia State Tax Exemptions?

West Virginia nonprofits are eligible for exemptions from the state’s corporate tax, sales and use tax, and property taxes (if they apply, and if they qualify). Learn more at Northwest’s guide to West Virginia state tax exemptions.


Obtain West Virginia State Licenses

Does My West Virginia Nonprofit Need a Business License?

Every West Virginia business entity is required to get a Business Registration Certificate from the WV State Tax Department, and this includes nonprofits. Individual cities and counties also often have licensing requirements of their own.

Should My Nonprofit Register as a West Virginia Charity?

Yes, if your WV nonprofit corporation solicits donations, then you’ll need to register as a West Virginia charity.


Open a Bank Account for Your WV Nonprofit

To open a bank account for your West Virginia nonprofit, you will need to bring the following items with you to the bank:

  • A copy of your West Virginia nonprofit articles of incorporation
  • A copy of your nonprofit’s bylaws
  • Your West Virginia nonprofit’s EIN

It’s wise to call your bank ahead of time to check its requirements. Some banks may require you to bring a resolution authorizing you to open a bank account in your nonprofit’s name (particularly if your nonprofit has several directors and/or officers).


Submit the WV Nonprofit Annual Report

West Virginia requires nonprofits to submit an annual report each year updating (or confirming) the organization’s information with the state, including your nonprofit’s name and registered agent information. The report is due on June 30th each year, and it costs $25 to file.

If you would rather not keep up with this report, you can add our convenient West Virginia Annual Report Compliance service, for an additional fee, when you hire Northwest.