How to Start an LLC in West Virginia: If you’re looking to start a West Virginia LLC for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in West Virginia. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your West Virginia LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in West Virginia
- After Starting Your West Virginia LLC
- West Virginia Foreign LLC
- West Virginia LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in West Virginia
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC in West Virginia, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $100. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in West Virginia. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start a West Virginia LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in West Virginia to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your West Virginia LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in West Virginia is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
West Virginia LLC Naming Guidelines
There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in West Virginia have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available and no other existing business in West Virginia can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by West Virginia State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|West Virginia Business Entity Search – Online Name Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
West Virginia LLC Name Search – Instructions
|Office of Secretary of State, One-Stop Business Center|
1615 Washington Street
East Charleston, West Virginia 25311
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $15 to reserve your name with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the West Virginia Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register Trade Name in West Virginia, along with the filing fee of $25.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in West Virginia
The second step to forming an LLC in West Virginia is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in West Virginia. Hence, hiring a competent West Virginia Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of West Virginia or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in West Virginia. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone West Virginia registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of West Virginia can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of West Virginia and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in West Virginia.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in West Virginia, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Registered Agent Consent Application
In West Virginia, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $15 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on West Virginia Registered Agent.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in West Virginia
The third and most important step in forming a West Virginia LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This West Virginia Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the West Virginia Secretary of State. It costs $100 (by mail and online) to file your formation certificate in West Virginia.
The Articles of Organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in West Virginia LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to West Virginia, you must register as a West Virginia Foreign LLC.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a subscriber then click on the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, then you can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the West Virginia Articles of Organization for online registration.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your West Virginia LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following addresses,
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin St.
Martinsburg, WV 25401
North Central WV Business Center
200 W. Main St.
Clarksburg, WV 26301
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington St. E.
Charleston, WV 25311
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (304) 558-8381
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 14 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in West Virginia. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in West Virginia. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in West Virginia.
Step 4: Create Your West Virginia LLC Operating Agreement
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is a document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to filing a West Virginia LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve West Virginia LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing a West Virginia LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in West Virginia LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for West Virginia foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in West Virginia. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your West Virginia LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get a company business bank account
- File West Virginia business permits & licenses
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees.
- File a West Virginia LLC annual report or biennial report
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Cost of West Virginia LLC
LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in West Virginia must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in West Virginia,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee||$15|
|Articles of Organization Fee||$100 (Online & by mail)|
|LLC Annual Fee||$25|
In West Virginia, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $15.
In West Virginia, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $25. Also, the State of West Virginia requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 6% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in West Virginia for more information.
West Virginia Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in West Virginia then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the West Virginia Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the West Virginia SOS to form your foreign LLC in West Virginia. To know more in detail, check out our guide on West Virginia Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in West Virginia
With a GDP of $67.83 billion, West Virginia has become one of the best places for new businesses. A recent report by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research says energy industries are the backbone of the economy. Around $3.7 billion was generated through exports in the same industry.
Apart from that, there are several benefits like various business funding options and incentives like reducing tax liabilities the West Virginia government provides to the new LLCs and businesses. These programs are available here to encourage operation, job creation, and development of the state economy.
The first and foremost tax incentive is available in the energy sector. Under this program, LLCs involved in such industries will receive tax credit and benefits from the West Virginia state government.
Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone
New LLCs, domestic or foreign LLCs doing business in West Virginia, may receive a tax credit or incentive. Under this program, any business will receive a loan facility or tax incentives if they operate in empowerment zones.
In West Virginia, several locations fell under the Opportunity Zone. If a new LLC is setting up their business or operating their business in those areas, then they may receive a massive tax rebate, incentives, and so on. The program was introduced by the US Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Services (IRS).
Community Development Program
Under this program, several other programs such as Land & Water Conservation Funds, Small Cities Block Grant, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program are available. Under all these programs, any form of business will receive loans and funding facilities from the government.
Tax Exemption – Sales & Use Tax
For any LLC in West Virginia, there is an exemption on Sales and Use tax. Read more on West Virginia’s classification of LLC tax. Following are the services on which the LLC will get sales tax exemption:
- Daycare service
- Real property development, construction, repair, and/or decoration
- Television or/and Radio broadcasting sales
- Newspapers, magazines advertisements
Top Businesses in West Virginia
If you are looking forward to forming an LLC in West Virginia, then, first of all, you should know about the economy of the state. Many competing businesses contribute hugely to the state. Here is the list of businesses.
Mining businesses are the largest contributor to the GDP of West Virginia, which is around $10.68 billion. Approximately 12,556 people are working in close relation with the industry, either directly or indirectly. If you look at the products that are mined out of the fields of state, then coal is making the maximum contribution making it the second-largest coal mining state of the USA.
Apart from that, there are natural gas reserves also in the soil of the state, which helps in gaining 20% of the mining income.
The chemical businesses are the most established manufacturing units in the states. It is helping out in creating 1/5th of the state’s jobs and gives 40% income to manufacturing businesses. The list of chemicals that are produced in the state are:-
- Adhesives and plastics
- Industrial based chemicals
The total contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP of the state is $7.94 billion.
There is a golden agriculture history in the state of West Virginia. The mountain state produces agricultural income through livestock like broilers, cattle, sheep, and lambs. The crop produced the most in the state is hay, dried, and used as fodder for their own livestock.
Some people are not willing to invest so much in the business. for them, some of the small-scale businesses that are working well in the state are:-
- Reviewing website
- Reputation management agency
- Equipment renting
West Virginia LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in West Virginia. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your West Virginia LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In West Virginia, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC in West Virginia. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in West Virginia but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in West Virginia
West Virginia LLC formation can be completed within a span of 2 weeks through mail. When filing online, the procedure is completed instantly, once the payment is received.
When you want to form an LLC in West Virginia, there are several options for you. You can do it on your own or you can hire a professional. But whether you do it yourself or hire a firm, you should do it properly. In addition, you should protect your identity. This can be done by using a registered agent, which is someone who can accept legal documents on your behalf.
The first step to starting an LLC in West Virginia is to choose your company name. Your business name can be a trade name, a fictitious name, or a legal name. If your company has a unique name, you should check with the state of West Virginia to make sure the name is not already registered. Also, you should consider your target markets. Once you have your business name, you can register it with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
After registering your business name with the Secretary of State, you can begin forming your LLC. Normally, it will take 14 days to form an LLC if you use online forms, but it can take much longer if you file by mail. To speed up the process, you can also request for expedited processing. However, you will have to pay an additional fee.
Unless you are very experienced in business formation, you should seek professional assistance. A good service can help you with everything, from choosing a name to preparing your articles of organization. They can also prepare an LLC formation kit. It is a complete package, containing your company’s registration materials and a bank account for your business.
Another benefit to hiring a registered agent is that they can provide you with an EIN. An EIN is your federal tax ID. Most companies will offer you this. Whether you decide to form your LLC on your own or hire a company, you should invest in technology for your business. For instance, you can purchase a website or advertising space.
To file your business’ Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State, you will need to fill out the appropriate form. These forms are available on the state’s website. You can submit them by mail, phone, or electronically. Make sure that all of your information is accurate and that you have completed the paperwork completely.
Then, you must select an address to mail your paperwork to. It is important that the address you choose is in West Virginia. While it is acceptable to use a post office box, you should choose a physical address. Additionally, your mailing address should be one that will receive mail during normal business hours. Otherwise, you may run into problems with your LLC’s operation.
Finally, you will need to pay your filing fees. These are payable to the Secretary of State and are tax-deductible. Every LLC owner in West Virginia must pay these fees. There are no exemptions. However, you can ask the Secretary of State to expedite the process for an additional fee.
If you are a resident of West Virginia, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $100 (domestic LLC) and $150 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in West Virginia include $25 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 6% every year.
It takes no time to get a West Virginia LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes up to 14 business days to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness which has impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $25 to the West Virginia Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for the LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you will obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the West Virginia Classification of LLC Tax.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups can easily start their LLCs in West Virginia at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.