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How to Form an LLC in West Virginia: The Benefits of Doing Business as a West Virginia LLC

There are many requirements that go into getting your West Virginia LLC up and running, some of which can be overwhelming when starting a new business.

However, with the right support, you’ll be able to successfully form your West Virginia LLC so you can start doing business as a limited liability company. Below you will find everything you need to know about how to form an LLC in West Virginia:

The West Virginia LLC formation process has eight easy steps:

What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

A limited liability company (LLC) is a type of business entity that limits the legal liability for you as its owner. This means that if the company is sued or goes into debt, your personal finances won’t be affected. An LLC also provides other benefits such as allowing flexibility in the operation and management of the company.

If you’re looking to start a business in the state of West Virginia, it’s wise to start doing business as a limited liability company so you can enjoy the many benefits offered by the LLC business structure. Contact LLC Formations if you have questions along the way. Our professional team can help you handle the paperwork so you can focus on growing your business.

Types of LLCs in West Virginia

Before beginning the legal process of registering your LLC, it’s important to determine the type LLC you need. You have three options for an LLC depending on the type of business and partners you have:

  • Single-Member LLC: This type of LLC is formed by one person. You have no other members.
  • Multi-Member LLC: You form a multi-member LLC when you have more than one member in the company. These multiple members want to appoint one or more managers to run the daily tasks of the company.
  • Multi-Member LLC: A multi-member has more than one member in the LLC. However, it is different from the multi-member LLC because they want to run the company together.

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1. Choose a Name for Your West Virginia LLC

Choosing an LLC name is the first step to forming an LLC in West Virginia. You want to choose a name that complies with West Virginia LLC naming requirements. These guidelines are:

1. Your company name must include the phrase LLC, L.L.C. or “limited liability company.”

2. You are limited to the type of words you can use. For example, you can’t use attorney, bank or university in your LLC without additional licenses and forms.

3. Your LLC name can’t include words that will confuse your company with a government agency such as the Secretary of State, FBI or Treasury.

Conduct an LLC Name Search for Your West Virginia LLC

Once you’ve picked your business name, make sure it’s available to use via the West Virginia LLC search. You cannot use a name that already exists so the name must be fully available. West Virginia has an online database with all the current and past business names.

When you input your potential LLC name in the search box and yield no results, then you can use the name for your West Virginia LLC. If the search does yield results, then you must determine if the name is active or if the name is not being used.

Reserve a Domain Name and Email for Your West Virginia LLC

It’s also recommended that you determine if your business name is available online. Although you may not plan to use a website, it is important to buy the URL to prevent someone else from buying it. If you ever decide to use a website, your business name must match your domain name or you could lose potential customers to confusion.

After registering your LLC name, set up a professional email account with your LLC name. If you want your customers to see your business as legitimate, your LLC name must be within the email address, and preferably through a server instead of a public email service.

West Virginia

2. Choose a Registered Agent for Your West Virginia LLC

A registered agent is a third party given the task of receiving service of process notices and correspondence on behalf of your West Virginia LLC. The notices and correspondences include tax forms, lawsuit notices and information from the West Virginia Secretary of State. Choosing a registered agent is one of the mandatory LLC requirements, so be sure to have one in mind when you’re ready to start your West Virginia business.

Registered Agent Requirements

There are a few requirements to keep in mind when choosing a registered agent for your West Virginia LLC. This person or entity must be a West Virginia resident and be located in the state of West Virginia.

Your chosen agent must have an office address or a home address in order to receive legal mail. The registered agent for your business in West Virginia must also be over the age of 18 in order to legally be an agent for service.

Who Can be a Registered Agent?

It’s important to choose a responsible person to be the registered agent of your LLC in West Virginia. This person will be handling all of the legal mail for your limited liability company, and if mail is missed, you can be fined or shut down.

Although you can choose a friend or family member to be the registered agent of your business in West Virginia, there are a few better options. As the business owner you can be your LLC’s registered agent, but it’s not recommended. Instead, the typical business owner will choose to hire a service to help them form and organize their business entity.

Hiring a Service for your West Virginia LLC

It’s important to have a third-party designated to perform this vital role. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you won’t miss an important document when you go on vacation or leave the office.

Additionally, you’re granted more privacy as the business owner when you choose to hire a service for your business in West Virginia because their office address will be listed instead of your personal address. Visit the LLC Formations home page for more information.

Using the West Virginia Secretary of State as Your Registered Agent

If you don’t nominate a registered agent, the West Virginia Secretary of State will act as your registered agent. This means that the Secretary of State receives all files and notices from your company for you at their office in Charleston, WV.

It’s best to pick a service who can receive important documents on your behalf. A professional service is one affordable way to manage all your government filings for your business. For many LLCs, a professional registered agent service is typically more affordable than the annual costs of other alternatives once you form an LLC.

3. File Your LLC Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization outlines the details of your West Virginia LLC. The document essentially acts as a birth certificate for your business in West Virginia and is filed with the Secretary of State. Once the Articles of Organization is filed, it means that your LLC has been officially formed in the state of West Virginia. The common type of information needed includes:

  • The name of your LLC in West Virginia
  • The description of your business
  • The mailing address of your primary place of business
  • The name and address of your registered agent
  • Information about the LLC owners, officers and managers

Filing the Articles of Organization as a Foreign LLC

You may have to file additional paperwork depending on if you already have an existing LLC in another state. West Virginia requires all existing LLCs formed outside the state to register as a foreign LLC. There may be additional requirements when registering as a foreign LLC, such as completing additional forms.

How to File the Articles of Organization

West Virginia LLC registration requires you to file your Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of state. You will need to include whether your LLC in member managed or manager managed, along with other important information about your West Virginia LLC.

You will also need to pay a state filing fee to the Secretary of State in order to receive the approval and the certified copy of your business registration certificate. The certified copy of your business registration certificate proves that your LLC has been approved and should be kept in a safe place with other important LLC documents.

File by Mail or Online

You can register your Articles of Organization either by mail or online with the Secretary of State. The process time for the state to register your LLC depends on how you send your Articles of Organization. If you file online, then the registration is completed immediately after receiving the filing fee and you can pay by credit card. If you file the Articles of Organization by mail, then you’ll wait approximately two weeks to complete the LLC registration process and will need to pay by check or money order.

It is not automatic that the Secretary of state will register your Articles of Organization. The office can reject the Articles. Typically, Articles of Organization are rejected because there’s an issue with the LLC’s name or if there are typos on the document.

If you need help to file Articles of Organization so you can form an LLC, contact the professionals at LLC Formations. We can handle this part of the LLC formation process for you so you can work on getting your business up and running.

4. Create the Operating Agreement for Your West Virginia LLC

An Operating Agreement is a document that outlines specific terms such as the financial and functional decision-making structure of your West Virginia business. In other words, it customizes the terms of the business according to your specific needs.

The Operating Agreement contains information such as:

  1. The name and address of the business
  2. members’ percentage of ownership
  3. The members’ voting rights and responsibilities
  4. The duties and powers of each member
  5. How losses and profits are allocated among each member
  6. Any issues related to the LLC’s management
  7. The rules regarding taking votes and holding meetings
  8. The rules regarding new members
  9. The purpose of the LLC’s business
  10. How the LLC is taxed
  11. How long the LLC intends to operate

Organize an Original Operating Agreement for Your LLC

A boilerplate LLC Operating Agreement form has the standard language needed to have an agreement. Unfortunately, it is a one size fits all type of document. It’s best to work with a service to write the agreement instead of using a boilerplate form. You can avoid major mistakes and outline all the terms of your LLC.

An Operating Agreement isn’t one of the formation requirements required by state law. That doesn’t mean you should not have one. In fact, the state’s Corporations Code Chapter 31B Section 1-103 recommends that every LLC should have an Operating Agreement to outline operating procedures and ownership of your company. Without one, you increase the risk of future conflicts within your LLC.

If you’re a single-member LLC, you especially need an Operating Agreement. It will help keep your limited liability status in court. In addition, it’ll add more credibility to your company. If you need help with creating an Operating Agreement for your West Virginia state business, contact the professionals at LLC Formations.

5. Obtain an Employment Identification Number (EIN) for Your LLC

An Employment Identification Number is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. This number is similar to your Social Security Number (SSN) but for your business. An EIN allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to track your company’s tax reporting and it can be obtained through the IRS website.

It’s important to form your LLC prior to getting an EIN. The reason for this is because you are expected to provide the federal government with the date your LLC was formed. Also, you want to ensure that your LLC has been approved before filing for an EIN. If your business is a sole proprietorship with no employees and no obligation to file pension plan tax returns, you’re not required to obtain an EIN.

If your LLC is a multi-member LLC, you will need to file for an EIN. Your company is required to get an EIN because you’re required to file a partnership return. You’re also required to provide the K-1s to all LLC members. Each LLC member will use this form to pay taxes to the IRS on their tax returns.

The Benefits of Obtaining an EIN

It doesn’t matter the industry or type of business you operate. It is always recommended that you obtain an EIN. Some advantages include, but are not limited to:

Preventing identity theft: Using an EIN is more private than using a SSN. Also, it’s peace of mind knowing that if someone hacks your accounts, your personal information and finances are separate and safe so there is less liability.

Opening a bank account: The majority of banks require you to have an EIN to open a business bank account. Once you open a bank account, you can also build business credit and qualify for business loans.

Hiring employees: You will need an EIN to hire an employee. Having an EIN will help you set up payroll and allow the IRS to track your payroll taxes. It is also one of the necessary requirements in order to register for your West Virginia employer taxes.

How to Apply for an EIN

The simplest way to obtain an EIN for your LLC is to go to the IRS website and apply. Keep in mind that the IRS website maintains online hours of operation. You can only apply if you meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, you have to a business in the United States or any of the U.S. territories.

Once you complete the online form for your employer identification number, you’ll immediately receive an EIN as long as you satisfy the requirements. However, you can only apply for an EIN once per day. If it takes longer than 15 minutes for you to complete the online form, your session will expire. The session can’t be saved. Thus, you’ll need to start the application again.

You can request an EIN during the day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can also request an EIN via mail. Print, complete and fax or mail an SS-4 form to the IRS. The questions on the form are the same as the online version. You must answer questions about your business structure in order to complete the application.

6. Get the Required Insurance for Your LLC

Business insurance assists in growing your LLC. For example, general liability insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects your LLC from business lawsuit. This type of insurance is for most small businesses.

Professional liability insurance is more specific insurance for professionals such as accountants and consultants. It covers your LLC against malpractice claims and other types of business errors. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is another type of business insurance your LLC may need if it has employees.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides coverage for any job-related injuries, deaths or illness. West Virginia requires any company with more than one employee to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. An “employee” is considered LLC members and corporate officers.

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7. Obtain West Virginia Business Licenses and Permits

The process of obtaining business permits and licenses will depend on your business entity type and the type of services you offer. To operate an LLC in West Virginia state, you must comply with local, state and federal regulations. To do this, you must file the correct forms and pay the according state fees.

For instance, if your LLC operates a restaurant, you’ll most likely need building permits, health permits, and signage permits. The fees for permits and business licenses vary according to the type of permit or license required by West Virginia state.

If you operate as a licensed professional, the LLC requirements in terms of business licenses and permits may be different. It’s best to check with a professional service so you can be sure that your LLC is in compliance with all of the laws.

Contact LLC Formations if you need help with determining which business licenses and permits apply to your limited liability company in West Virginia.

8. Complete the Tax Requirements for Your LLC

When forming an LLC, it’s important to keep in mind how you will pay your taxes at the end of the year. In addition to required state filing fees for other parts of the LLC formation process, taxes can also be a significant area of spending so it’s important to be prepared. In addition to state tax, there may be a few more tax obligations required of your LLC.

Your LLC in West Virginia may require registering for one or more state tax forms and you may have to complete different filings depending on the services you offer. For example, if you are selling a physical product in the state, you’ll need a sellers permit.

You can obtain a sellers permit via the state’s tax department. The permit allows you to collect sales tax on products. This sales tax is levied by counties, states, and municipalities on the exchange of taxable goods.

If you need to consult a tax professional who can help you understand the tax requirements for your specific business, contact the team at LLC Formations so we can connect you with someone in our tax department who can help you understand state fees and other tax requirements.

How Can LLC Formations Help You?

Although it can feel like a lot of work, opening up an LLC is a very important step towards growing a successful business because of the many benefits offered by the LLC business structure.

You have the option of using a professional service like LLC Formations to set up your LLC for you so you can focus on growing your business. Our Wisconsin LLC guide is another great resource to check out.

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