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West Virginia LLC Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start an LLC in West Virginia

To start an LLC in West Virginia, you must file Articles of Organization with the Business & Licensing Division, pay a $100 filing fee, get an EIN from the IRS, and obtain a Business Registration Certificate. The complete steps to forming a West Virginia LLC are as follows:

  1. File West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization
  2. Pay the Business & Licensing Division $100
  3. Wait to receive the approved copy of your Articles
  4. Get a Federal EIN tax ID for the LLC
  5. Create a West Virginia LLC Operating Agreement
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get a West Virginia LLC bank account
  7. Apply for a WV Business Registration Certificate and pay the $30 fee
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West Virginia Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization

To form a West Virginia , you file the LLC Articles of Organization in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new LLC
Step 2 Indicate whether your business will be a regular or professional LLC
Step 3 Decide what address and email you’d like to list publicly
Step 4 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 5 Choose how long you’d like your LLC to exist
Step 6 Choose whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
Step 7 Decide who you will list publicly as the members and managers. Also, decide if members will be liable for the debts and obligations of the LLC
Step 8 Declare a specific purpose for your business
Step 9 Decide when you’d like your LLC to start
Step 10 File online, drop off or mail two copies and a Customer Order Request Form to a West Virginia filing center (such as the One-Stop Business Center at 1615 Washington St E, Charleston WV 25311), or fax or email your filing and Customer Order Request Form to 305-558-8381 or CorpFilings@wvsos.gov (eFilings@wvsos.gov for expedited filings)

How Long Does it Take to Start a West Virginia LLC?

1

Fastest same day

If you really, really need your LLC fast, you can email or fax your filing and cough up an extra FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for 1-hour expediting (the hefty fee almost makes the $250 for 2-hour processing look like a good deal).

1-2

Almost Fastest (and some might say better) 1-2 days

No matter how you file, you can get 24-hour expediting for a much more reasonable fee: $25.

5-10

Not Too Shabby 5-10 days

Have some time to kill? Forgo expediting, and in a week or two the Business & Licensing Division will process your filing. West Virginia has one of the longest, most confusing LLC Articles of Organization forms out there—the packet you can download from the Secretary of State Office is NINE pages of tiny print.

2

The Northwest Way

Make your filing both fast and easy when you hire Northwest. You can choose 2-day filing or save a little cash with the state’s standard 5-10 processing time. Just answer a few brief questions about your business, sit back, and let our Corporate Guides file everything correctly the first time.

What is the Cost of a West Virginia LLC?

The Business & Licensing Division charges a $100 fee for West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization ($125 for 24-hour expediting). Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $325 ($350 expedited), including state filing fees.

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How much does an LLC in West Virginia cost each year?

There’s a $25 fee to file the West Virginia LLC Annual Report.

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What are the West Virginia LLC taxes?

The West Virginia personal net income tax rates are:

3%: $0 to $9,999
4%: $10,000 to $24,999
4.5%: $7,600 to $125,000
6%: $40,000 to $59,999
6.5%: $60,000 +

The state sales tax is 6%. Cities can add up to 1%, making the average total sales tax rate 6.135%.

West Virginia previously had a Business Franchise Tax that applied to LLCs, but this ended in 2015.

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Who can be a West Virginia LLC agent for service of process?

West Virginia Code §31B-1-108 states that your agent can be an individual West Virginia resident (such as yourself) or an LLC or corporation authorized to do business in West Virginia (such as Northwest).

Hiring Northwest has some major perks. We accept, scan and send you your legal documents in real time, so you can stay on top of your business wherever you are (no worrying about missing a process server when you’re in meetings or out wooing investors). We also have free tools to help you maintain your LLC, and we’ll send you free compliance reminders so you don’t forget key business filings. For a long list of all our benefits, check out our West Virginia registered agent page.

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West Virginia LLC Versus West Virginia Corporation:

There’s no difference in state filing fees for West Virginia LLCs and corporations: Articles are $100 and Annual Reports are $25. Tax obligations can either be similar or quite different—both LLCs and corporations have choices when it comes to how they’re taxed. For example, both LLCs and corporations can choose to be taxed as S corporations, which would make their tax obligations the same.

With costs being similar, how do you know which entity is best for your business? LLCs and corporations operate somewhat differently. Many small businesses and new business owners prefer LLCs because they’re simple to manage. There’s no requirement for multiple levels of management (members can managed the LLC themselves) or corporate formalities like annual meetings. LLCs can choose to have these things or not. Corporations are a little less flexible in this sense, but they have their own advantages, particularly for large businesses or those that hope to scale quickly. Interested in a corporation? Here’s information on starting a corporation in West Virginia.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for a West Virginia LLC?

Plan to hire employees, be taxed as an S corp, or file certain federal excise taxes? You’re required to obtain a federal tax ID. There are plenty of other reasons to get an EIN as well. West Virginia is a state that certainly loves its paperwork. From your Business Registration Certificate to local licenses (and even just to open a business bank account), you’ll be asked for your EIN again and again. Sure, you could use your personal social security number in some of these situations, but why put your personal data at risk? EINs are free from the IRS. Can’t be bothered with yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you when you sign up for our services.

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Does a West Virginia LLC Need a Business License?

Yes. Before engaging in any business in West Virginia, businesses are required to obtain a Business Registration Certificate. Businesses submit an application and pay a one-time $30 fee to the State Tax Department.

Some counties and municipalities also have their own general licensing requirements. For example, any business with a physical location in the City of Charleston is required to shell out a minimum of $20 for a general business license.

What is a West Virginia LLC Annual Report?

Your West Virginia LLC Annual Report is a mandatory form you file each year to update your LLC’s contact and ownership information with the state. The report and $25 fee are due by July 1st each year. Forget to file? The price triples with the addition of a $50 late fee—and if your report remains unfiled, the state can dissolve or revoke your LLC. Worried you’ll forget? Northwest can help. We send reminder notifications to our clients to help make sure they’re not surprised by annoying late fees (or worse). You can even wash your hands of this report entirely—just hire us to file your Annual Reports for you each year.

 

Who can be a West Virginia LLC agent for service of process?

West Virginia Code §31B-1-108 states that your agent can be an individual West Virginia resident (such as yourself) or an LLC or corporation authorized to do business in West Virginia (such as Northwest).

Hiring Northwest has some major perks. We accept, scan and send you your legal documents in real time, so you can stay on top of your business wherever you are (no worrying about missing a process server when you’re in meetings or out wooing investors). We also have free tools to help you maintain your LLC, and we’ll send you free compliance reminders so you don’t forget key business filings. For a long list of all our benefits, check out our West Virginia registered agent page.

Does a West Virginia LLC Need an Operating Agreement?

Absolutely. Technically, there’s no legal requirement for your West Virginia LLC to have an operating agreement, but it’d be crazy not to have one. People tend to put their focus on public state and local filings because there are obvious penalties for failing to meet government regulations. The consequences of blowing off an operating agreement may be less apparent, but they are all-too-real.

Operating agreements are the most important internal documents of your LLC. Why? Your operating agreement defines the terms of your business. It’s the document that states who owns the business and what each person invested. It spells out how profits and losses are allocated and what happens if there’s a dispute. It even explains what happens if you shut the whole business down. It may be a private document, but it holds legal weight—and it’s useful for more than just members and managers. Even just to open a bank account for your West Virginia LLC, your bank will almost certainly request your operating agreement. Lenders, investors and partners will want to see it too. You don’t want to wait until you absolutely need one to hurriedly slap together an operating agreement. Give these major decisions the time and consideration your LLC deserves.

Not sure where to start? Let Northwest help. When you hire Northwest to form your West Virginia LLC, we give you a free operating agreement specific to your management style. We give you other free forms as well: membership certificates, resolutions and more. We’ve spent years refining our forms, and we’re pretty proud—over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses. Take a look:

 

 

West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization Requirements:

Company Name

Your name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation. Tip: Most businesses keep it short and sweet with “LLC.”

LLC Type

Note whether your business will be a regular LLC or a professional LLC. Professional LLCs provide state-licensed services (think doctors and lawyers). Tip: Most LLCs aren’t professional.

Principal Office

List the street address of your principal place of business. This address will be part of the permanent public record of your West Virginia LLC. Tip: Hire us as your registered agent and you can use our West Virginia address as your principal office address.

Principal Mailing Address

If you want your mail to go to a place other than your principal office (like a PO Box), you can enter the address here. Tip: Don’t want to risk exposing your mail (or sorting through all the junk that comes with a public address)? Save yourself the headaches and hire Northwest. We’ll get your mail and scan it to you the same day we receive it.

Designated Office

This West Virginia street address is the in-state contact location of record for the LLC (it can be the same or different from your principal office). Tip: When you hire Northwest, our address will go here.

Agent for Service of Process

Your agent for service of process is the person you authorize to accept legal notifications for your West Virginia LLC. You can list an individual (such as yourself) or a business (like Northwest). Tip: We recommend Northwest.

Business Email

This is the email where you’ll receive your Annual Report notices. Like everything else in your Articles, this information will be part of the public record—meaning your email will likely be sold and resold by data buyers. Not interested in slogging through mountains of junk mail? We allow our clients to put our email here to save you from endless annoyances.

Website Address

If you want to put your website address, you can, but this is optional.

Number of WV Businesses

This section asks if you have multiple West Virginia businesses (and then requests more details if you answer “yes.”). This section is also optional (you can tick the “decline to answer box”).

West Virginia LLC Organizer

Your organizer signs and submits your Articles of Organization. While organizers don’t have to be anyone in your LLC, they do have to include their name and address. Tip: We’ll be your organizer when you hire Northwest.

Duration

How long do you want your LLC to last? If you want your business to continue indefinitely, choose “at-will.” If you’d prefer an end-date for your LLC, choose “term” and enter how many years you’d like your LLC to exist. Tip: Most LLCs choose “at-will.”

LLC Members

West Virginia requires members’ names and street addresses (no PO Boxes).

LLC Management

Your LLC can either be member-managed or manager-managed. Most LLCs are member-managed, but if you’d prefer to turn over decision-making powers to managers, you can choose “manager-managed” (good if you don’t plan to run day-to-day operations, not great if you want to decide how things run). If you choose manager-managed, you’ll also have to list the names and addresses of the managers.

Member Liability

While one of the benefits of an LLC is limited liability (it’s even in the name!), if you want one or more members to be liable for specific debts or obligations, you can tick “yes” in this section.

Purpose

Don’t worry; it’s not as existential as it sounds. The state wants to know what sort of specific business activities you plan to engage in (such as “art restoration” or “real estate”). If you happen to be a scrap metal dealer, you’ll also need to attach a special registration form.

Effective Date

When do you want your business to start? Most LLCs opt to start upon filing, but if you’d prefer to push back your start date (maybe so it lines up with the beginning of a tax period), you can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future.

Veteran-Owned Organizations

If you meet the criteria listed in the West Virginia Code §59-1-2a and attach a Veteran Affairs Form to your Articles, some of your state filing fees will be waived.

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