Form a Limited Liability Company in West Virginia
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How to Form a West Virginia LLC in 10 Steps
When forming a company, you’ll have several business structures to choose from. One structure is called the Limited Liability Company or LLC. These companies have the following qualities:
- Profits will be passed down to individual members.
- One or more individuals can own portions.
- There is limited liability exposure.
- Separate tax returns do not need to be filed.
If you are considering forming a new LLC, you will want to follow the steps below.
1. Choose Your Company Name.
You need a company name that no other business has the rights to use. See our SunDoc article Is My Business Name Available? for help conducting your own name search, or SunDoc can run your name search for a reasonable fee. At a minimum, your preferred name must be available in the State of West Virginia. It is also wise to check for a registered trademark on your preferred name as well.
2. Understand the LLC Organizer Requirement.
An LLC organizer can be absolutely anyone, from an attorney who assists with the formation of your business to a filing service like SunDoc.
By preparing on-line with us, SunDoc Filings will be your organizer. If you choose to prepare and upload your filing with SunDoc, you can name your own organizer.
3. Designate a Registered Agent.
On your Articles of Organization form, you must name a registered agent (can be an individual or a firm). This entity is required. To learn why, we recommend referencing this SunDoc article: Registered Agent Service.
4. Decide Your Ownership and Management Structure.
The Articles of Organization form asks whether your West Virginia LLC will be managed by one manager, multiple managers, or all the members. You must decide whether you want to be a member-managed or a manager-managed LLC. To help you decide, we have created guides for each method: the Member-Managed LLC or the Manager-Managed LLC.
5. Create an Operating Agreement.
Almost all LLCs need to file a document called an operating agreement. This is a critical document that drives your business legally and outlines fundamental rules and regulations for things like:
- Paying out profits
- Managing voting, liability, and fiduciary constraints
- Outlining financial and functional decisions on your business's behalf
- Outlining business provisions
- Managing working capital
Most of all, the role of an operating agreement is to govern internal operations. These provisions should all meet the specific needs of your owners.
Questions about operating agreements? Check out the SunDoc guides Member-Managed LLC and Manager-Managed LLC. These are an excellent source of information, but you may also wish to consult an attorney for advice.
6. File the Articles of Organization.
The next step is to file your Articles of Organization. This is required by most states. SunDoc would be happy to assist and help with the filing of your Articles of Organization.
The Articles of Organization simply outline specific company details for the state. Your company will be officially created once the State of West Virginia has accepted your Articles.
Several pieces of information will be required for your Articles of Organization form. These include the following:
- Your company's name
- Your company's address
- Who your registered agent will be
- Who your LLC organizer will be
- Management method.
- Member names (occasionally required)
7. Obtain an EIN and Open a Business Bank Account.
Congratulations! You are now a registered West Virginia LLC. Any LLC with more than one member must file with the IRS for an EIN, Employer Identification Number, whether or not you have employees. You can file with the IRS yourself, or SunDoc can file for you.
Once you have an EIN, you can go straight to the bank and open a financial account that is for your business only. This business account should also pay out any reimbursements that need to be made for business members who paid out-of-pocket in the past. Always keep your receipts if you pay out-of-pocket from now on.
After opening a business account, consider hiring an attorney to handle your business financial matters as you’re just starting out.
8. Pay West Virginia State Taxes.
Each year your LLC may be required to pay necessary fees and taxes to your state, possibly including in your first year of operation. If you sell goods in West Virginia, you may be required to collect sales tax. You can find more state tax information on the State of West Virginia’s tax web site.
9. Determine Necessary Licenses and Permits.
You'd be surprised to learn what business licenses or permits you need in order to operate your business on the county level and on the city level in your specific region of West Virginia. If you don't have these permits and licenses, you will almost surely be charged hefty fines. It's better to simply go to your state’s business website to see what is required of you.
10. File an Annual Report (Biennial Report or Initial List).
Usually you must file an Annual Report, Biennial Report, or other such document soon after forming an LLC in West Virginia, and thereafter an updated report every year or two years depending on your state’s requirement. The Annual Report is a simple form that keeps the state up to date on your company information. And down the road when you make changes to your company, it will invariably be one of the forms you’ll need to file with the state.
It is absolutely essential that you file this report on time. If you wait too long, you risk paying a hefty late fine. To save you time and worry, SunDoc can file this report on your behalf — on time and reliably. We can also take care of other filings for you.
All LLC forms, including the report form, can be located on the West Virginia business web site.
Important Notice: It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss your potential insurance needs, or matters relating to employees. You should consult an attorney or accountant with any questions about legal or financial matters. Please note that nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice.
For additional learning, please visit our LLC FAQs.
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