Q: How do I set up my account properly to apply for a veteran discount in West Virginia?
Thank you to a caller from West Virginia for that great question—and of course, thank you for your service! Northwest cares about veterans and wants to make starting and operating a business is as easy as possible for them, which is something we have in common with West Virginia itself. West Virginia makes business formation and reporting a little easier by offering the Boots to Business Waiver to veterans and active armed forces personnel. Here’s what you need to know:
What is West Virginia’s Boots to Business Waiver?
Passed by the West Virginia legislature in 2015—and further expanded in 2021—the Boots to Business Waiver is an initiative that allows a veteran-owned business to waive the $100 fee for business registration in the state. In addition to that, qualifying businesses also get to waive the $25 annual report fees for the following four years.
How do I get a Boots to Business Waiver for my business in West Virginia?
In order to qualify for the Boots to Business Waiver, a private company must be at least 51% unconditionally owned by a veteran or active military member. Publically-traded companies must have at least 51% of their stock owned by veterans or active-duty personnel.
When filing an LLC’s Articles of Organization or corporate Articles of Incorporation, the owners or stockholders in question must submit proof of their veteran status. Active duty personnel can submit a copy of their military ID. Veterans must provide a copy of their Veteran Affairs Form DD214.
What if I don’t have my Veteran Affairs Form DD214?
If you no longer have that form, a copy can be obtained by contacting National Personnel Records Center Military Personnel Records online, or by mailing the Center at 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63138. The Center can also be contacted by phone toll-free at 1-866-272-6272.
Is the Boots to Business Waiver only for businesses formed in West Virginia?
West Virginia provides the waiver to any veteran-owned business that meets the qualifications, whether formed in West Virginia, or elsewhere in the United States. Registering an out-of-state business in West Virginia is a process known as Foreign Qualification. Out of state companies operating in another state are generally referred to as “foreign” in registration legalese. Foreign companies can save $150 off their registration this way.
Who else qualifies for a Boots to Business Waiver?
When the West Virginia legislature expanded the Boots to Business Waiver in 2021, it did so by allowing the initiative to also apply to the spouses of active-duty military or veterans. As with the veterans themselves, spouses can verify their status with a copy of their military ID or Form DD214.