How to Start an LLC in West Virginia

How to start an LLC in West Virginia in 6 easy steps

Whether you have an existing business in West Virginia or you are interested in starting a new one, the process of setting up an LLC can seem rather confusing at first. With the many requirements and all of the paperwork that needs to be completed, it can seem downright overwhelming at times. Fortunately, our guide is here to make the process simple for you. As you progress through the steps of setting up your LLC, you’ll come to realize that is not as difficult as you would think. Our guide will give you the information on what needs to be done to legally establish your LLC in West Virginia and keep it running for as low as $130!

Step 1. Naming Your West Virginia LLC

The name that you choose for your West Virginia LLC must be completely unique and different from any other business in the state. There are also a few other more detailed requirements that you should pay attention to.

Legally Required Designation

According to West Virginia LLC law, your LLC name must contain either the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the abbreviations below:

  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • LC
  • L.C.
  • Limited Company
  • Ltd Co.

Unique Name

As we mentioned above, it is required that your West Virginia LLC has a name that is completely different from any other business in the state. You can perform a search of available business names by using the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

If you want to reserve a name ahead of filing for LLC establishment, you can fill out an Application for Name Reservation and hold your desired name for up to 120 days before filing. You must send this application to the address located on the form, and there is a $15 fee associated with it. There is an extra $25 fee if you would like the form expedited.

After you choose an LLC name, you may also want to perform an available domain name search. Securing a website name ahead of time can help save you future stress even if you aren’t sure that you want a business website right away.

Restricted Words

When choosing an LLC name, you are not allowed to include any words that run the risk of confusing your business with a government entity. This can include words like “IRS,” “Treasury,” “FBI,” or “State Department.”

Additionally, using words such as “bank,” “attorney,” or “acupuncturist” may require the presence of a properly licensed individual in your LLC, and a requirement to file additional paperwork.

Using an Assumed Name

In West Virginia, you are allowed to conduct business with your LLC under an assumed name or DBA (doing business as). This is a good option for anyone who wants the name that the public associates with their business to be different from the legal LLC name that will be used on every official form.

To apply for a DBA name, you must fill out the West Virginia Application for a Trade Name online through the One Stop Business Portal. There is a $25 fee when filing this form.

Step 2. Choosing a Registered Agent

Also known as an Agent for Service of Process, every LLC established in West Virginia must appoint a registered agent. The registered agent can be an individual or a business entity. They will be responsible for receiving all legal documents, government communications, and necessary tax documents, acting as a contact point between your LLC and federal agencies or the state of West Virginia.

You can appoint either yourself as a registered agent, any member of your LLC, or a registered agent service that is authorized to conduct business in West Virginia. As long as your registered agent has a valid West Virginia street address and is available during regular business hours, they are eligible to be your registered agent.

Step 3. Filing the Certificate of Formation

After you have chosen the name and registered agent for your LLC, you can file your Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State to officially establish your business. Below, you can see some of the information that is required on this form.

  • Your LLC’s name
  • If your LLC is a regular or professional LLC (such as one offering the services of an attorney, acupuncturist, or cosmetologist)
  • Your LLC’s address
  • The name and address of your LLC’s registered agent
  • Your LLC’s email and website address (when applicable)
  • If you own another business or LLC in the state
  • The names and addresses of all of your LLC’s organizers
  • Whether your LLC’s establishment is perpetual or has a time period
  • Whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed, and the names of members or managers
  • Whether the LLC members will assume liability for LLC debts
  • Your LLC’s purpose
  • If your LLC is a scrap metal dealer
  • When you wish the Articles to be effective (either immediately or at a later date)
  • If your LLC is veteran-owned
  • The signature of your LLC’s organizer(s)

There is a $100 filing fee for the Articles of Organization, and they can be filed either online or through the mail.

You can also choose to pay an expedited service fee of $25 for 24-hour processing, a fee of $250 for 2-hour processing, or a fee of $500 for 1-hour processing.

If you plan to request expedited services, you will need to email the completed form to [email protected] or submit it through the mail.


You can file your Articles of Organization online either through the West Virginia One Stop Business Portal or by emailing the completed form to [email protected].

Standard processing time for the form will take 5 to 10 business days, but if you choose one of the expedited service options, it could take as little as an hour.

By Mail

If you want to file your Articles of Organization by mail, you will need to print out and complete the form before sending it to one of the three business centers below. All centers accept standard (5 to 10 days) and expedited (24 hour) service requests.

Make sure you include a $100 check (plus any additional expedited fee) made payable to the West Virginia Secretary of State with your form.

Charleston Office

One-Stop Business Center

1615 Washington Street East

Charleston, WV 25311

Phone: (304) 558-8000

Fax: (304) 558-8381

Clarksburg Office

North Central WV Business Center

200 West Main Street

Clarksburg, WV 26301

Phone: (304) 367-2775

Fax: (304) 627-2243

Martinsburg Office

Eastern Panhandle Business Center

229 E. Martin Street

Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: (304) 356-2654

Fax: (304) 260-4360

Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is not required for an LLC in West Virginia, but it is a good idea to consider creating one anyway. The operating agreement establishes clear and set guidelines for how exactly your LLC is managed, the rights that members or managers have, and what to do in the case that your LLC dissolves or experiences a lawsuit.

You will most likely need an operating agreement on hand to open business bank accounts or receive funding from lenders, and the agreement can help to establish your LLC as a separately operating business entity.

If you do not create an operating agreement for your LLC, West Virginia LLC law will dictate how your LLC is managed in the event of a dissolution, conflict, or lawsuit. This is something that will likely not be in your best interests.

You may choose to give copies of your LLC operating agreement out to members or managers to ensure all participants are kept up to date with how your business is run.

Step 5. Getting an EIN/Tax ID Number

Once the Articles of Organization has been processed and your LLC has been legally established you will need to apply with the IRS for a Tax ID number, also known as an EIN (Employer Identification Number). An EIN is required for any LLC that has more than one member, or for any single-member LLC that wants to hire employees or chooses to be taxed as a corporation.

It is free to apply for your EIN with the IRS, and you can file the application online or by mailing it in. Keep in mind that if you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, you will need to file for your EIN through the mail.

You will use your EIN to identify your business to the IRS on all tax documents and necessary government filings; the number acts much like a social security number for your LLC. If you want to hire employees, file federal taxes, open business bank or credit accounts, or apply for business funding, you will need an EIN.


Visit the IRS website to apply for your EIN for free. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply for an EIN, and you will receive your number once your application is complete.

By Mail

When applying for your EIN by mail, you will first need to fill out this form. Leave section 7b blank if you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number. Mail the completed form to the address below.

You can ask any questions about the application by calling the IRS at (267) 941-1099.

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running

Once your LLC has been legally established, there are a few state and federal requirements that you need to keep up with in order to keep your LLC running.

Pay Annual Registration Fees

Every LLC that is operating in West Virginia must file an annual report. The report is due between January and July 1st of the calendar year after the LLC’s establishment and costs $25 to file. If you file the report after July 1st, it is considered late and an additional $50 filing fee will be added, making the total $75.

You can file the annual report form online for quick processing. Failure to file the form altogether may result in the dissolution of your LLC.

Separate Your Business Finances

A business bank account is not required by the state of West Virginia, but it can be a good idea to establish one. A business credit or debit account can help keep your LLC’s finances separate from any personal ones, establishing the LLC as an independently operating business. This is very helpful for protecting your assets in the case that your LLC is facing a lawsuit.

To open a bank account for your business, you will most like need to show your Articles of Organization, Operating Agreement, EIN, or possible other LLC documents. Some banks may also request a West Virginia Certificate of Good Standing from the State Tax Department to ensure that your LLC is active and legally running.

Make sure to compare all of your options before making a choice on accounts, as different banks will have different minimum required balances or credit spending limits; you want to be sure that you select something that is the best for your LLC’s needs.

Keep up With Federal and State Taxes

It is important to keep up with the requirements for federal and state taxes for your LLC to keep it running without penalties or major issues.

Federal Tax Requirements

After your LLC is established, there are several different tax structures you can choose from that may meet different company needs. This article can help you gain an in-depth understanding of the differences between each type and help you decide which is best for you.

In general, most LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships or partnerships. This means that they will be expected to file an individual income tax return with the IRS that also contains a Schedule C, where the LLC’s income is reported.

When using this tax structure, you should keep in mind that you will most likely need to pay self-employment tax (at a rate of 15.3%) in addition to any income tax. You may also need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid any IRS fines.

If you want, you can choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation, including an S Corporation or a C Corporation. You will need to fill out IRS Form 8832 and IRS Form 2553 to declare this. After these forms have been processed, your LLC will be treated as a corporation and expected to file a separate corporate tax return with the IRS.

It may be a good idea to consult with a professional financial advisor or accountant to help you decide which tax structure is the best for you and to make sense of any federal tax obligations, so you don’t miss any requirements and get hit by unexpected IRS penalties.

West Virginia State Business Taxes

West Virginia does not have a state-wide business tax requirement as long as your LLC is taxed like a sole proprietorship or a partnership, meaning that you report the income from your business on your individual income tax return. There, it will be taxed at the regular state income tax rate.

If you choose to have your business taxed like a corporation (either C Corp or S Corp), you will need to pay an additional flat corporate tax at a rate of 6.5%. Your LLC’s corporate income tax returns will typically be due on April 15th, but you can check with West Virginia State Tax Department for more information.

West Virginia Sales Taxes

If your LLC will be selling goods or services, you will be required to collect sales tax and then pay sales and uses taxes to the state. You can register for this tax with the West Virginia State Tax Department here, where you will also find more information about filing taxes and payment schedules.

State Employer Taxes

If your LLC has employees, you will likely be required to pay withholding tax and unemployment insurance tax. You can find out more information about withholding tax on the West Virginia State Tax Department website, and more information about unemployment insurance tax through the Workforce West Virginia website.

Keep in mind that you may also be required to pay federal withholding and unemployment insurance tax, so be sure to check the federal requirements or consult with a professional tax adviser if you are confused about what you owe.

Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses

Every business that is operating in West Virginia must file for a business registration certificate before conducting business in the state. There is a $30 fee for filing this form, and it can be completed using the West Virginia State Tax Department’s website.

Additionally, you may be required to obtain further permits or licensing depending on the city and county you are in. You can use the business startup wizard offered by the West Virginia Secretary of State here to figure out any local requirements.

You may also be required to obtain certain permits and licenses for your LLC on a federal level. Whether this is needed depends mostly on the type of business you are running and the services you are offering. For help determining if you need to meet additional federal licensure requirements, you can use the directory on the US Small Business Administration’s website.

West Virginia LLC Resources

This list of West Virginia LLC resources can help you through every step of the way of establishing your business in the state.

West Virginia LLC FAQs

The answers to these frequently asked questions may help you understand more about starting up and running your West Virginia LLC.

Setting up your LLC in West Virginia will cost you $100 to file the Articles of Organization and $30 to file for the business registration certificate. You may also pay extra fees for reserving an LLC name ahead of time, applying for a DBA name, or for paying for any expedited filing services.

The cheapest way to start your West Virginia LLC is to file the Articles of Organization online at the standard processing time, without reserving an LLC name or filing for a DBA name. This will cost you $100. You can then file for the business registration certificate online for $30, bringing your total cost to just $130.

How much your West Virginia LLC pays in taxes depends on the tax structure that your entity chooses. In addition to federal taxes, you may also need to pay state corporation, sales, and employer withholding taxes, depending on the type of business that you are running.

You will need to file a report annually with the West Virginia Secretary of State. This report costs $25 to file, is due between January and July 1st each year, and can be submitted online.

If you are done conducting business with your LLC in West Virginia, you will need to file Articles of Termination with the West Virginia Secretary of State. This can be done online and has a $25 filing fee.

You will also need to consult your operating agreement for the applicable section on how to tie up loose ends and finish operating your LLC.

Team BusinessNerd

Our team of legal experts and business professionals have years of experience and are dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information to our readers.

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