A West Virginia Registered Agent or West Virginia Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of West Virginia. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that will accept legal papers (documents) on your behalf if it is sued. The registered agent or registered agent service must have a physical street address in West Virginia and be available during regular business hours.
In my West Virginia Registered Agent guide, I’ll walk you through the detailed process of when you should get a registered agent or registered agent service for your West Virginia business, how to pick one, if they are required and how to change one if needed. Typically you’re getting a registered agent when you setup your West Virginia LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a West Virginia LLC so you can make sure you’re following all the right steps in the process. If you are just looking for the professional service to help you – use Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness.
Best West Virginia Registered Agent Service
ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in West Virginia. They can also help you with getting your LLC formed so if you’re looking for the best option, check them out today!
When it’s time to think about getting a registered agent service for your business – go to ZenBusiness. There are other potential options for you but when you’re thinking about the best option, I always recommend using ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent.
They help 1000s of business owners on a monthly basis and it’s important to realize their volume is what allows them to have amazing customer service and a great experience for everyone. The other big piece to consider is that they will have a relationship with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. This is important because as you decide the type of service to use – you will need to be associated to the Secretary of State’s office.
What is a West Virginia Registered Agent?
A West Virginia Registered Agent is no different than any other state’s registered agent. All the US states require that you legally have a registered agent (except New York) to help provide some legal protection over your business. With the number of business owners on a monthly basis that are forming new businesses, it’s important that we find the best possible service you’d expect for a registered agent.
The traditional things that a registered agent (whether it’s in West Virginia or not) are going to be responsible for are:
- Receiving and scanning important documents for your business
- Making sure you’re getting the documents in a timely manner
- Filing annual reports
- Safekeeping of any other key documents that the state requires you to keep on file
- Have a physical address in West Virginia
- Be able to accept service of process (legal documents) during normal business hours
The last part is critical – because if you decide not to use a registered agent service that offers this, you’ll be responsible for maintaining these documents in a safe and secure place.
Additionally, some of the best registered agent services will actually help keep track of your annual reports and other key filing deadlines. This is critical because if you’re not staying on top of these things, your business could get shut down or fined by the state.
Why do I need a West Virginia Registered Agent?
The main purpose of having a West Virginia registered agent is to make your life easier – not harder. You’ll have legal coverage that will allow you to focus on growing your business vs. dealing with the difficult challenges of what a registered agent is going to be responsible for.
It’s legally required because the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office wants you to have legal coverage and make sure you’re going to be following the law.
Another important piece of the registered agent puzzle is that anybody in the world is able to search through the West Virginia Secretary of State’s business name search portal to find your registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address. If you think about the long term effects of what this means for you and your West Virginia business – it’s just another reason why you should have a registered agent service setup. Do you really want to have your home address and name showing up in the public record associated to your business? Anybody will be able to search that through the portal and then show up during normal business hours and serve you legal process papers because well that’s the law.
When should I obtain a West Virginia Registered Agent?
The best time for you to get a West Virginia registered agent is when you’re forming your Limited Liability Company. At the time of forming your business, you will need to elect a registered agent in order to form your business correctly.
If you just use a national provider like ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent, it’s going to make your life much much easier than trying to figure out who can be your registered agent (to keep your address and name out of public record).
I always recommend to new business owners that it’s important to have a registered agent setup as you’re building your business. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office will need something to associate your business to so it might as well be starting with the best service.
You can try and be your own registered agent if you want but it comes with the consequences we’ve been talking about and I just don’t recommend doing that. I believe it should not be allowed – it’s just not a good idea and nothing good can come from it.
Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In West Virginia?
Yes you can be your own registered agent. That’s the short answer but like we’ve been talking about, the better question is should you be your own registered agent? It might seem like a good idea on the surface but should we actually do it? Well as I’ve been telling you, I really don’t think it’s a good idea. You will have to handle quite a bit and legally make sure you’re following what the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office wants you to focus on.
The items you’ll be responsible for are:
- Having a physical street address in West Virginia
- Be able to accept service of process docs during normal business hours
- File annual reports & make sure your business is compliant with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office
You can do this on your own but it’s not just going to the UPS Store and going to get a virtual mailbox is just not what we need to focus on. If you go and try and setup a UPS Store mailbox as the solution for getting a registered agent setup, you’re not going to be in compliance. If you do this and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office finds out, you’re going to end up in some trouble and most likely have your business dissolved. The annual cost of getting a registered agent service in place is an added expense but well worth it when you think about the alternative of having your business dissolved if you’re not in compliance.
How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?
The range in cost is going vary depending on the direction you go to get your business setup. If you decide to be your own registered agent in West Virginia after everything I just went through – that cost is $0 on the surface but as we’ve talked about it’s going to cost a lot more in the time and energy of your business. The other options can range from $100-300 / year depending on how you’re planning on setting up your registered agent business.
The registered agent options in West Virginia are:
- Be your own registered agent (not recommended)
- Find a law firm in West Virginia that offers registered agent services (not recommended)
- Use ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent (recommended)
By using one of the registered agent services like ZenBusiness, you’re going to be getting the service needed to have a successful configuration of your business with West Virginia’s Secretary of State’s office.
If you go with one of these services, you’re typically going to get the first year included with your LLC formation. Use the formation services with ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent and they will help you get your registered service included for the first year.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In West Virginia?
In order to elect your registered agent in West Virginia, you’ll need to follow the traditional process of getting the Articles of Organization filled out.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent Online in West Virginia?
If you’re looking to do this online, you can do so with the West Virginia One Stop Business Portal (which has a $100 filing fee too). If you get an account setup – you’ll be able to elect your registered agent in this portal.
How Do I Elect A Registered Agent by Mail, Fax or In Person in West Virginia?
If you want to print out the Articles of Organization and submit it by mail, that is possible to do. You’ll need to get the registered agent’s name and address in Section 5 where you’ll need to fill out the details.
How Do I Change My Registered Agent In West Virginia?
If you have a reason to change your registered agent in West Virginia, there is an Agent Address and/or Officer Change form that the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office provides you can use. There will also be a $15 filing feel that you’ll need to submit in the One Stop Business Portal where I provided the link above.
West Virginia Registered Agent FAQ
Does West Virginia require a registered agent?
Yes, all businesses in West Virginia are required to have a registered agent.
Can I be my own registered agent in West Virginia?
You can be your own registered agent but it’s not recommended. If the state audits you and finds out that you’re not in compliance – they can dissolve your business.
Does registered agent mean owner?
No, being the registered agent for your business does not make you the owner of the business. The owner of the business is typically going to be referred to as the member or manager.
What is a registered agent service?
A registered agent service is going to provide you with the address and service that you need in order to have a successful business in West Virginia. This is important because if the state audits you and finds out that you’re not in compliance – they can dissolve your business.
Best Registered Agent
The best option for your registered agent service