How to Start a West Virginia LLC

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Last Updated: August 17, 2022

Overview

Welcome to my guide on how to start a West Virginia LLC. Before we jump into all the steps it’s going to take for you to get your Limited Liability Company setup in West Virginia – I’d like to make sure you know the LLC formation cheat code.

I highly recommend you get Northwest Registered Agent to help you get your LLC formation completed. I recommend them for anyone looking to skip over all the steps here and just do it without the headaches you may go through on your own.

Recommended: Northwest Registered Agent 

Use Northwest Registered Agent and they will also give you the first year of their registered agent service included too. Go check it out and you’ll appreciate that you did.

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The other thing I want to make sure you’re aware of is know what West Virginia is known for and the business ideas that come from that.

The top business ideas I’d recommend based on what West Virginia is know for are:

  1. Start a Backcountry Skiing Company
  2. Start a Guided Hiking and/or Mountain Biking Company

As you start thinking about what your Limited Liability Company is going to be, make sure you’re thinking about the top business ideas and what your business name should be. That is the first step so let’s jump into the details.

Name Your West Virginia LLC

There are some West Virginia naming guidelines you’re going to need to follow and those are:

  • Your LLC name must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “L.L.C.” or “LLC.”
  • Your LLC name must be distinguishable from any other business entity on record with the WV Secretary of State.
  • You can check business entity availability on the Secretary of State website.
  • Your LLC name may not contain certain restricted words without additional documentation, such as Bank, Insurance, Corporation, Incorporated, University or Institute.

You’re going to want to make sure you follow these guidelines when you’re thinking about your business name and then once you have some names you like, you’re going to want to continue on and see if the website domain name is available.

Before you jump into making sure you can get your Limited Liability Company name as a website domain, make sure you check out the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office search portal for your business name:

https://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/corporations/

Once you’ve done this we can move on to making sure you’re going to have the right website for your business.

Get a Website Domain for Your LLC

The next thing you need to do after you have some names in mind for your new West Virginia LLC is check and see if the website domain name is available. I recommend using GoDaddy to get your domain and using their website builder to quickly get a site setup.

It’s the easiest way for you to get your business name rolling and you’re going to have it setup in one place. After you’ve made sure the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office is going to consider this business name something you can use – you’ll need to setup your registered agent so let’s get into it.

Choose your registered agent

The next thing you’re going to want to do is setup your registered agent. They will help with some of the paperwork and keeping everything organized for you as you go through this process of starting a new business.

I recommend using Northwest Registered Agent because they have great service and are easy to work with. If you’re going to be using them for your LLC formation service, you’ll get the first year of their registered agent service included for free.

This is important because it can add up pretty quickly depending on your business structure, how you conduct business, whether you’re trying to be your own registered agent or just use a service like this.

I also think it’s important for you to check with local law firms and determine if they have a service like this that you can use. It’s important to check with the local West Virginia law firms first before being your own registered agent.

Now that we’ve covered the registered agent service, I’d recommend we move into how the filing the right paperwork to validate your business.

Prepare and File Articles of Organization for your West Virginia Limited Liability Company

You’re going to want to prepare and file your Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. This is going to be a simple form that you can easily complete online in most cases.

In order to do this, simply go to the website and look for the business entity filing forms.

The steps and rules you’re going to need to follow are:

1. The LLC’s name and address;

2. The LLC’s registered agent and registered office; and

3. The LLC’s duration, if not perpetual.

4. The names, addresses, and signatures of the organizers.

5. Include a statement that the LLC is organized under the LLC Law.

6. The effective date of the articles, if delayed.

7. If the LLC will be managed by managers, include a statement to that effect and the names and addresses of the first set of managers.

8. If the LLC will be member-managed, include a statement to that effect.

After you have all of this information, you’re going to want to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is $100 and it can be paid online or by check.

Once you’ve done this we get to move into my favorite part of an LLC formation which is your operating agreements.

Create an operating agreement

An operating agreement is the life blood of any organization that has multiple members or if your LLC owners are thinking about putting in personal assets. It really makes a big difference whether you’re building up an individual or business entity. As a professional limited liability company, you’re going to want to have the right business structure and setup an operating agreement that keeps your West Virginia business organized the right way.

Typically you’re going to find an operating agreement contains the following items:

1. The name and address of the LLC;

2. The duration of the LLC, if not perpetual;

3. The names and addresses of the members;

4. The LLC’s registered agent and office;

5. A statement that the LLC is organized under the LLC Law;

6. The LLC’s purpose;

7. The powers of the LLC and the limitations on those powers;

8. The manner in which the LLC will be managed, including whether it will be member-managed or manager-managed;

9. The authority of members and managers to bind the LLC and the circumstances under which they may do so;

10. The LLC’s fiscal year;

11. Provisions for admitting new members;

12. Voting rights of members;

13. Restrictions on the transfer of membership interests;

14. Buy-out provisions in the event of a member’s death, disability, retirement, or other significant life event; and

15. Any other matters the members wish to include.

While it’s not required, I would highly recommend you get an operating agreement in place as soon as possible. If you wait too long, people will start to come into the LLC and change the rules on how business is conducted.

Once you’ve setup your operating agreement, you’re ready to move on and get your Federal Tax Identification Number – the lifeblood to any West Virginia LLC.

Get an EIN for your West Virginia LLC

The final step to getting your West Virginia LLC setup is to get your Employer Identification Number. You’re going to want to use this number when you open up a business bank account, hire employees and filing your taxes.

The good news is that the IRS has made it really easy to get your Employer Identification Number. There is a simple portal you can go to that you can apply during business hours in the IRS website.

Here is the portal to get your EIN

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

This number is extremely important for as you think about taking business revenue from your business website. You’re going to need to think about West Virginia Business Taxes and this is one of those things the Internal Revenue Service is going to want from you.

Open A Business Bank Account

Now that you’ve got your Employer Identification Number, it’s time to open up a bank account. This is going to help you keep track of your finances and make sure you’re handling your money in the right way.

I always recommend getting setup with Lili.co. It’s the easiest and fastest way to get your business up and running. As you start thinking about your LLC online, website address and all the business activities you’re going to start – a business owner’s lifeblood is going to be their bank account.

Once you’ve gotten your bank account setup, go get a business credit card which you can do with the help of Lili or go get an American Express setup for your business.

Get Small Business Insurance

There are many different types of business insurance that you’ll need to consider.

The traditional types are:

  • General Liability Insurance – this protects you from any lawsuits that might come in
  • Property Insurance – this protects if you have any physical property that’s damaged
  • Product Insurance – if you’re selling a product, you need to make sure that it’s insured properly
  • Professional Liability – if you’re giving advice or doing any type of consulting, you need to have this
  • Workers Compensation – if you have any employees, you need to have this

There are other types of insurance that you might need depending on your business. Make sure to talk to an insurance broker to get the right coverage for your business.

Get a Business License

Depending on the type of business you have, you might need to get a business license. The best way to find out is to go to your city hall or county courthouse and ask them what kind of business licenses you need.

There are also some national businesses that require special licenses. For example, if you’re going to be a real estate agent, you need to get a license from the National Association of Realtors.

You can also check with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office on the right business licenses you’ll need.

Alright – once you’ve done all this it’s time to file your annual report and make sure you’ve got the everything covered for your LLC members!

File an Annual Report

Every year, you’re going to have to file an annual report with the Secretary of State. This is just a simple form that asks for some basic information about your LLC.

Once you’ve filed your West Virginia LLC’s annual report at:

https://business.wvsos.gov/Business/AnnualReport

You’re all done! Congratulations on starting your LLC in West Virginia! This is a big accomplishment and will help you protect your personal assets as you grow your business. Remember – always consult with a lawyer or accountant to make sure you’re staying

Pay Annual Taxes

There are two different types of taxes that you need to be aware of as a business owner in West Virginia – state income tax and state sales tax.

State Income Tax

As a business owner in West Virginia, you’re going to have to pay state income tax on any money that your LLC makes. This is true whether you’re an LLC with one member or multiple members.

The state income tax rate in West Virginia is 6.5%. So if your LLC makes $100,000 in a year, you’re going to owe the state of West Virginia $6,500 in taxes.

State Sales Tax

In addition to state income tax, you’re also going to have to pay state sales tax on any products or services that your LLC sells. The state sales tax rate in West Virginia is 6%.

So if your LLC sells a product for $100, the state of West Virginia is going to collect $6 in sales tax.

You’re also going to have to collect state sales tax from your customers and then send it to the state. This can be a little bit tricky, so it’s important to keep good records and stay organized.

The bottom line is that you need to make sure you’re paying both state income tax and state sales tax every year. Failure to do so can result in some hefty penalties.

FAQs

Do I need to submit an operating agreement to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office?

No, you do not need to submit an operating agreement to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

Can I have a one-member LLC in West Virginia?

Yes, you can have a one-member LLC in West Virginia.

Do I need to hold annual meetings for my West Virginia LLC?

No, you do not need to hold annual meetings for your West Virginia LLC.

How often does my West Virginia LLC need to file an annual report?

Your West Virginia LLC needs to file an annual report every year.

The bottom line is that starting a West Virginia LLC is a pretty simple process.