Welcome to the Start a Business tutorial for the creation of new corporations in the state of West Virginia. This guide will walk you through both the online and the paper filing processes and will provide you with all the information needed to get your entity up and running in this state. For those submitting their forms online, it will be necessary that you first create an online account before accessing the registration portal. We recommend employing the online filing system as it conveniently consolidates the Secretary of State, State Tax Department and the Unemployment Compensation Division registration processes into one, streamlined portal. Those submitting their documents through the mail will have access to the necessary PDF below. The filing fees for profit corporations will amount to $50 while non-profit entities need only pay $25.

Before registration, it is often wise to perform a Business Entity Search to ensure that your entity name is indeed available for use in West Virginia. If you need additional time with which to prepare for filing, you may want to reserve your entity name to prevent other businesses from registering under it. This process costs $15 and provides filers with 120 days of name security.

How to File a Profit Corporation (Online)

Step 1- In order to access to online filing portal, you will need to create an account. The account registration process has been highlighted in our tutorial here. Once your account is set up, you will be able to navigate to this webpage to login.

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Step 2- This homepage contains a drop down which features the option to register a new business as the topmost action. If you don’t see the below window on your screen, click on the Filing Cabinet link found in the menu on the far left of your screen.

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Step 3- The first group of questions titled “The Basics” will have you entering some preliminary questions which are asked of all entity types. Begin by choosing the For Profit option and clicking Continue

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Step 4- You will be required to select the category that describes your primary business activity then click Continue.

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Step 5- Select your primary business activity using the NAICS codes and subcodes on the first page. Next, indicate whether or not you would want that information to be made available to the public. In the third step, choose whether the previously mentioned activity accounts for 100% of the business. You will be required to supply secondary and tertiary activities if applicable.

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Step 6- Provide a description of the business activity in the paragraph field they’ve supplied on this page.

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Step 7- Here you will be able to indicate that you are indeed forming a domestic entity.

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Step 8- You will be given the option to check for exemptions to see if there is any reason for which you will not be required to file. As this is most likely not the case, select No and continue to the next step.

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Step 9- The ownership/control of the corporation should be indicated here.

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Step 10- Select the either the benefit, public or standard corporation option before continuing.

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Step 11- If you plan to have employees working in West Virginia, there will be a number of questions you will be required to answer later on in your application. Select Yes or No here and click Continue.

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Step 12- This page will feature all the information submitted in the previous section of the application. It will also indicate what to expect going forward. When ready, click Continue.

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Step 13- Provide the business name here to continue.

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Step 14- You will be given the opportunity to register for a trade name here. If you wish to simply use the previously mentioned title, select No and continue to the next step.

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Step 15- Indicate whether or not you currently have a business identification number (EIN, WV business number).

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Step 16- If you don’t currently have an Employer Identification Number, you will be required to apply for one before continuing. You may review our tutorial on the online application process here. Once obtained, enter it into the supplied field and click Continue.

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Step 17- The Secretary of State asks filers for a number of business addresses. You will be required to supply the address of the physical location in West Virginia, the mailing address for tax returns, and the principle office address over the course of the next three pages.

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Step 18- Provide the name and address of the agent of process here.

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Step 19- Here you will be able to supply the name and address of each officer involved with the corporation. Click Add Record to add an individual then provide their name, address, title and SSN on the secondary page. Once all officers have been supplied, you may proceed to the next step.

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Step 20- Now the incorporation information must be supplied in similar fashion to that of the officers. Once all have been provided, click Continue.

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Step 21- Enter the purpose of the entity and indicate the nature of the effective date.

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Step 22- Enter the number of shares of capitol stock, the par value of each share, and the total of the authorized capital stock before clicking Continue.

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Step 23- Indicate whether or not this is a subchapter-S corporation.

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Step 24- The domestic business background will first have you answering whether any of the owners have previously owned a business in this state. After this, select the phrase that best describes the business and click Continue.

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Step 25- It is here that you will begin answering the questions categorized under “Operations and Activities”. These questions will be posed by the State Tax Department. Begin by providing the date on which operations began or will begin.

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Step 26- The estimate of the annual gross income from this location should be indicated here. You will also be asked whether the income grossed over the previous year exceeded $4000.

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Step 27- Answer whether or not the business has a location from which you will make retail sales or do service/maintenance work.

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Step 28- Answer the next three pages regarding special product sales, special business activities and specialized services. On the fourth page you will be asked two more yes or no questions before you can continue.

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Step 29- Enter the taxable year end month here.

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Step 30- Answer Yes or No to whether the corporation is a subsidiary of a parent corporation.

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Step 31- This page is just letting you know that the following questions will be regarding unemployment insurance and withheld payroll taxes.

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Step 32- Our tutorial doesn’t go into the process of registering with the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Division. For those who selected Yes to the question posed on step 11, you will be required to go through a number of additional steps not covered in this guide. If you selected No, indicate once more than you don’t plan on hiring employees in the near future and click Continue to move to the next step.

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Step 33- Indicate where the payroll records are kept and on the second page provide where the payroll reports should be mailed.

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Step 34- Answer the questions posed on the next two pages and, when prompted, supply the company website address if one exists.

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Step 35- The State Tax Department will ask for an authorized name, date of filing and title of representative signing. Below that, the Secretary of State will have you entering your name, capacity and email address. Finally, enter your name and capacity to sign for the Unemployment Compensation Division before clicking Review Registration.

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Step 36- This final review page will provide you with the opportunity to review and edit any piece of information entered thus far. If all seems accurate, you may continue on to the payment of the filing fees.

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Step 37- Select your  payment option and, on the following page, review the summary of the fees and deposits associated with the online filing process. Note that your price will most likely look different than the one displayed in the example below.

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Step 38- Submit your billing info and click Proceed to e-Pay.

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Step 39- Before clicking Pay and officially submitting your application, you will be required to provide your name, address and card information on this page. This step will mark the completion of the online filing process.

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How to File a Non-Profit Corporation (Online)

Step 1- Before registration, you will need to register for an online account. Review our tutorial here if you need assistance in account creation. Once your account is set up, navigate to this webpage and log in.

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Step 2- Select the Register New Business option at the top of the drop down menu found on your home page. If you don’t see the drop down menu, click on the Filing Cabinet option found at the top of the menu on the left hand side of your screen.

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Step 3- Begin by selecting the Non-Profit option on this page.

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Step 5- To describe your primary activity, use the drop down menus to select the NAICS code and subcode. On the next page you will need to indicate if you want that information to made available to the public. The third page will ask you if the primary category covers 100% of the business. If not, you will need to provide supplementary activities.

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Step 6- Describe the business activity on this page before clicking Continue.

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Step 7- Here you will be able to indicate that you are indeed forming a domestic entity.

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Step 8- You may be exempt from filing and you will be given the opportunity on this page to check if this is the case. If you don’t want to check for exemptions, click No to continue.

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Step 9- Make sure you’ve read everything on this page before continuing.

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Step 10- Select which option applies to your corporation in regards to its ownership/control.

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Step 11- Select the business structure here and click Continue.

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Step 12- Indicate whether or not you plan on having employees work for you in West Virginia. If so, you will be required to answer a number of questions posed by the Unemployment Compensation Division later on in the application.

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Step 13- This summary page will feature all the information submitted in “The Basics” portion of the application. It will also notify you of the upcoming steps in registration. When ready, proceed to the next step.

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Step 14- Provide the name of your non-profit entity here.

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Step 15- You will have the opportunity to register for a trade name here.

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Step 16- Indicate if you have a FEIN or WV Number on this page before continuing.

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Step 17- You may be required to apply for an FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) before continuing. Review our tutorial on the online application process here if you’re unsure about the application process. Once obtained, enter it into the provided field and click Continue.

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Step 18- The Secretary of State asks filers for a number of business addresses. You will be required to supply the address of the physical location in West Virginia, the mailing address for tax returns, and the principle office address.

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Step 19- Provide the name and address of the agent of process here.

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Step 20- On this page you will be required to supply the officer information. To do so, click Add Record and enter the name, address, SSN, and title of each individual until each individual has been accounted for. Click Continue when ready.

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Step 21- The incorporator information should be entered in similar fashion to the officer information. You must supply the name of the individual or entity and the address for each incorporator before continuing.

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Step 22- The corporate purpose should be described on this page. You will also have the chance to provide a future effective date.

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Step 23- Enter whether or not your corporation will have members here.

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Step 24- If you are to have members, the designation of the class of members must be provided here. The management of the members must be included either here or in the corporate bylaws.

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Step 25- Read this IRS Non-Profit Statement before continuing to the next step.

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Step 26- The domestic business background will first have you answering whether any of the owners have previously owned a business in this state. After this, select the phrase that best describes the business and click Continue.

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Step 27- It is here that you will begin answering the questions categorized under “Operations and Activities”. These questions will be posed by the State Tax Department. Begin by providing the date on which operations began or will begin.

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Step 28- The estimate of the annual gross income from this location should be indicated here. You will also be asked whether the income grossed over the previous year exceeded $4000.

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Step 29- Answer whether or not the business has a location from which you will make retail sales or do service/maintenance work.

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Step 30- Answer the next three pages regarding special product sales, special business activities and specialized services. On the fourth page you will be asked two more yes or no questions before you can continue.

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Step 31- Supply the taxable year end month here.

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Step 32- If the corporation is a subsidiary of a parent corporation, you will need to indicate that this is the case here.

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Step 33- This page is just letting you know that the following questions will be regarding unemployment insurance and withheld payroll taxes.

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Step 34- This tutorial will not go into detail in regards to the registration process for the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation Division. There will be a number of additional questions not featured in this guide should you have selected that you plan on hiring employees. Once you’ve answered the question once again, click Continue.

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Step 35- Indicate where the payroll records are kept and on the second page provide where the payroll reports should be mailed.

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Step 36- The next three pages will have you providing your company website and answering whether or not you’re a scrap metal dealer or if your corporation is veteran owned.

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Step 37- This signature page will have you submitting your name, the date of filing and your title to the West Virginia State Tax Department. You must also submit your name, your capacity within the LLC and your email address for the Secretary of State, and you must provide your name and capacity to the Unemployement Compensation Division.

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Step 38- Review all the information submitted thus far and make edits wherever necessary. If all seems accurate, you may proceed to the next page.

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Step 39- Choose between payment by credit card or by ACH account. On the following page you will be able to review the cost of filing with all three departments. Click Checkout to continue.

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Step 40- Submit your billing info and click Proceed to e-Pay.

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Step 41- Here you will be required to submit your name, the card holder’s name, your address, your contact information and your credit card information.  When ready, click Pay and effectively submit your filing to the state government for review.

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How to File (PDF)

Step 1- To file a profit or non-profit corporation in the mail, you will be required to download this Articles of Incorporation.

Step 2- Once open, provide the following information:

  • 1- Name of corporation
  • 2- Address of principle office
  • 3- Physical address of principle place of business
  • 4- Name and address of person to whom notice of process should be sent

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  • 5- Email address
  • 6- Website address (if applicable)
  • 7- Whether you own or operate more than one business in West Virginia and, if yes, how many and in how many counties
  • 8- Whether profit or nonprofit
  • 9- Value of all capital stock, number of shares and par value per share (profit only)
  • 10- Purpose for which corporation is formed
  • 11- Whether corporation will have members and the designation of classes of those members (nonprofit only)

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  • 12- Name and address of each incorporator
  • 13- Whether corporation is veteran owned
  • 14- Number of acres of land it expects to own in West Virginia
  • 15a- Contact person name and phone number
  • 15b- Name of individual signing the document
  • 15c- Signature of incorporator and date of signing

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Step 3- Once all the information has been submitted, print off the form, provide the requisite signatures and attach to it the filing fee. This fee will amount to $50 for profit entities and $25 for nonprofit corporations and should be paid in the form of a money order or check made out to the West Virginia Secretary of State. Send both items to the below address to complete the registration process.

Secretary of State
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305

Tips

EIN– All corporations operating in the United States must apply for an Employer Identification Number at some point during the formation process in order to be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the federal government. Once obtained, this identifier will allow you to hire employees, open bank accounts, apply for credit cards and otherwise perform all variations of financial transaction while using the company name. Click on the heading of this paragraph to review our tutorial on the EIN application process. You will have the option of applying either Online using the IRS website or through the mail with a completed Form SS-4.

Corporate Bylaw– Though it is not legally required that you operate with the use of a corporate bylaw, the drafting of this binding agreement is always recommended. This document will allow you to delineate a number of crucial provisions, ensuring that your corporation is well managed and organized. Due to the legal complexity and implications of an agreement of this nature, it is wise to have your attorney present when drafting to ensure that all matters are relayed as effectively as possible. Click on the heading of this paragraph to visit our free agreement templates made available in both MS Word and Adobe PDF formatting.

Renewal– Corporations are required to renew each year in order to remain in good standing with the Secretary of State. Through the submission of an annual report, online or otherwise, they will be able to update the state authorities of any structural changes which may have occurred over the course of the previous year. Click on the heading of this paragraph to gain access to the online portal through which you can renew (an online account will be required). Those submitting their forms through the mail (address found below) will be required to download this PDF, print it off,  and attach to it a check made out to the West Virginia Secretary of State. All reports are due by midnight of July 1st.

Secretary of State
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, WV 25305