How to Start an LLC in West Virginia
Famed for its mountains and hills, West Virginia is a state rich in natural resources, with an active outdoor culture. Located in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., it is ideally placed for many types of businesses.
If you want to start your own business in West Virginia, one of the best ways to do so is by forming a West Virginia LLC. Limited liability companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. West Virginia LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.
Briefly, the benefits of starting a West Virginia LLC include:
- Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
- Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulation and administration of your West Virginia LLC
- Easy tax filing and potential advantages for your tax treatment
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure here.
Six Steps to Filing an LLC with the WV Secretary of State
We’ve got lots of useful information on starting a business in WV. On this page, you’ll find the basic steps for starting a West Virginia LLC, with more in-depth content throughout the rest of our guide.
STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members
First, you need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.
STEP 2: Choose a Unique Business Name
You will need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in WV. To find out if another company is using your chosen business name, carry out a business entity name search on the WV Secretary of State website.
There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to naming your West Virginia LLC.
Learn about West Virginia LLC business naming rules.
STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your LLC
Every West Virginia LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address must be inside the state of West Virginia, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
STEP 4: Assign a West Virginia Registered Agent
Every LLC must have a “Registered Agent.” This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the West Virginia Secretary of State. In WV, Registered Agents can also be known as an Agent of Process.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your Registered Agent must have a physical street address in West Virginia and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a West Virginia Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
Learn more about West Virginia Registered Agents.
STEP 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You will need an EIN to identify your business with the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the West Virginia LLC business formation process.
STEP 6: File Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the WV Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your West Virginia LLC. Here’s what is typically included:
- Your business name and address
- Details of your Registered Agent
- Names of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
- Addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
- Name of the incorporator
You can file your West Virginia Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in West Virginia, but you only need to file your Articles of Organization once.
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Additional Information from the West Virginia Secretary of State
The Secretary of State has plenty of other information on forming and running a business in West Virginia. You’ll find other useful information below.
Special Types of West Virginia LLCs
A regular West Virginia LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.
Professional LLCs in West Virginia
Some states, including West Virginia, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have special requirements and licensing. Here are the occupations that the WV Secretary of State allows to form professional LLCs:
- Osteopathic physicians and surgeons
- Social workers
- Land surveyors
Foreign LLCs Doing Business in West Virginia
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to West Virginia, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.
More information on West Virginia filing and licensing requirements here.
What to Do After Forming Your West Virginia LLC
Want to know your next steps after creating a new LLC in West Virginia? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to understanding your ongoing requirements, setting up new bank accounts, protecting your business name, getting accounting in place and more.
More Information About West Virginia LLCs
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the West Virginia business registry of the Secretary of State and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving a West Virginia LLC name and more.
How to appoint a Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching forWest Virginia Registered Agents.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and West Virginia rules. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), West Virginia and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.
How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and West Virginia government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment, and West Virginia taxes like sales tax and income tax.