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Forming an LLC in West Virginia

When you begin to make business plans for your limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to be informed of all the requirements to get it formed in your state. The specific process for LLC formation resides within each state's business statutes.

Once you understand the process for forming a West Virginia LLC, you may be able to get your business up and running on your own. You'll need to take quite a few steps, but the formation process is relatively simple.

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Forming an LLC in West Virginia

Step 1: Name Your LLC

The name that you choose for your LLC is important because it affects how potential customers view your business. Is your name striking? Does it describe your products or services in a way that stands out? Will your target audience connect with it?

Your LLC name is also essential because you'll need to make sure it complies with state LLC laws. In West Virginia, there are several naming requirements to consider.

Under Section 31B-1-105 of the West Virginia Code, your LLC name must contain one of the following terms, phrases, or abbreviations:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company
  • LLC
  • L.L.C.
  • L.C.
  • LC

Additionally, you must make sure that the name you choose for your business is distinguishable from all other names registered or reserved with the state of West Virginia. To find out if the name you'd like to use for your business is available, you need to check the West Virginia Business Database for name availability. If you find out, through your name search, that the name you'd like to use is already taken, you need to come up with a different name. If you settle on a name you'd like for your LLC but you're not ready yet to file, you can do a name reservation.

Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent

You'll need to select a registered agent who can accept legal papers on your behalf if the company gets sued. Your registered agent must be a person who's a resident of West Virginia or a corporation authorized to do business in West Virginia. Your West Virginia registered agent must also be available during regular business hours, and they must have a physical street address in the state of West Virginia. P.O. Boxes are not acceptable.

Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization

You have to file Articles of Organization with the West Virginia Secretary of State to form your LLC. Many entrepreneurs take advantage of the option to file online through the West Virginia One Stop Business Portal. If you don't want to file online, you can download the form and submit it by mail.

West Virginia Articles of Organization should include:

  • The name and address of the LLC
  • The name and address of the registered agent
  • The name and address of each organizer
  • The LLC's purpose
  • Whether the LLC term is perpetual or limited
  • Whether the LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
  • Whether the members will assume liability for the LLC's debts

The filing fee for your West Virginia Articles of Organization is $100. However, if you already have an LLC in another state and seek authorization to do business in West Virginia as a foreign LLC, the filing fee is $150.

Step 4: Draft an Operating Agreement

LLC operating agreements are important, even though they aren't filed with the Secretary of State. An operating agreement is an internal document that describes how the LLC is governed. Without it, LLC laws of the state of West Virginia would apply in a dispute. Through an operating agreement, you can spell out how the LLC handles:

  • Distribution of profits and losses
  • Ownership of the LLC
  • Admission of new members to the LLC
  • Voting powers
  • Dissolution

Step 5: Get an EIN

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) or Tax ID number is a number that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) assigns to businesses for identification purposes. It's similar to a social security number (but for a company). You'll need an EIN to hire new employees and open up a business bank account. Apply for your EIN online for free.

Step 6: Open a Business Bank Account

You'll need to have a separate account for your business funds to maintain your personal liability protection. The liability protection that an LLC provides is important because it keeps your personal assets safe in case of a lawsuit against your company.

Get a business bank account and a credit card dedicated solely to your business to keep your business and personal funds separate. It also makes it easier when you start handling tax preparation and accounting for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions on West Virginia LLC Formation

1. How much does it cost to form an LLC in West Virginia?

It costs $100 to file your formation documents with the West Virginia Secretary of State. The cost is $150 if you already have an existing LLC and wish to do business in West Virginia.

2. Do I need a DBA for my West Virginia LLC?

Trade names or fictitious business names are names other than the legal business name that a business owner uses for conducting business. If you're only using the LLC name that you filed with the State of West Virginia for conducting business activities, then you shouldn't need to register a trade name.

3. Do I need a business license or a business permit for my limited liability company?

You may need to get state or local licenses or permits for your business, depending on the type of business you're operating and the company's location. Contact your local and state agencies to ensure that you have the appropriate licenses or permits for the type of business you're running.

4. Do I need to fulfill any annual obligations for my LLC in West Virginia?

You need to file an annual report and pay the filing fee of $25 for your filing. Your LLC may be dissolved if you don't keep up with the deadlines for your annual filing.

5. What do I do about business taxes for my new business?

The West Virginia State Tax Department handles state taxes for business entities. You'll need to decide if you want to make an election for your federal taxes. As an LLC owner, you could choose to be taxed as a corporation.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Forming an LLC in West Virginia?

Fortunately, forming an LLC can be a straightforward process with FindLaw’s Business Formation Service. However, if you run into any problems with complex formation issues or have any questions, an attorney is available for help. Connect with an experienced West Virginia business organizations lawyer near you for more information.

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