1. Write a Business Plan
2. Create a Name for Your LLC
3. File Articles of Organization to Register LLC
4. Appoint a Registered Agent
5. Prepare an Operating Agreement
6. File for an Employment Identification Number (EIN)
7. Obtain the Business Registration Certificate

A business registration certificate West Virginia provides authorization for a limited liability company (LLC) to conduct business in the state. To obtain the business registration certificate, the LLC must first take several steps in order to comply with the regulations established by the West Virginia Secretary of State. These steps include registering the business with the state as an LLC, paying registration fees, and obtaining relevant permits and licenses.

When these steps are completed, an LLC may register the business with the West Virginia Department of Taxation. A blank business registration certificate application form and instructions on how to complete the application can be found at the Office of Business Registration webpage.

Let’s take a complete look at what’s involved in getting a business registration certificate in West Virginia.

Write a Business Plan

Strictly speaking, a business plan is not required by the state. However, it is an excellent way for you create a strategy for establishing your business. A well-conceived and written business is often the foundation for success. You can either hire a consultant to help you with the process, find guidance online, or find books that can give you great examples of business plans that may fit your business.

Create a Name for Your LLC

In West Virginia, it is required that all LLC business names contain the words “Limited Liability Company.” It is acceptable to use initials to abbreviate this designation, using either “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” “LC,” or “L.C.,” as well abbreviating the words “Limited,” as “Ltd.,” and “Company,” as “Co.”

It is important that your business name is unique and cannot be confused with the name of any other business operating in the state. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check any names you come up with against business names found in the Secretary of State business name database. Many business owners take the precaution of reserving a name for 120 days by filing an Application for Name Registration with the Secretary of State and paying the required fee to protect the name while they also investigate with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Even if the name is not being used in the state, it may enjoy federal protection, and the registration’s owner could pursue damages for trademark infringement if you’re using their mark.

File Articles of Organization to Register LLC

West Virginia requires all LLCs to file Articles of Organization in order to conduct business in the state. The Articles of Organization may be filed (and fees paid) online and must have the following information:

  • LLC’s name and address
  • Name and address of LLC’s registered agent
  • Name and address of each owner, referred to as a member with LLCs
  • Effective date of formation
  • LLC’s term of existence (whether limited or perpetual)
  • Whether the LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
  • A brief description of the LLC’s business purpose
  • Whether members will assume liability for the debts of the LLC

Appoint a Registered Agent

Every LLC doing business in West Virginia must have a registered agent. This can be an business registered to do business in the state or an individual who has accepted responsibility for service of process and to receive important legal and tax correspondence sent to the LLC. They must provide a street address. P.O. boxes are not acceptable.

Prepare an Operating Agreement

While an LLC can be formed in West Virginia without an Operating Agreement, it is highly recommended that the company draft one. It is an important document for establishing the terms under which the LLC will operate. A well thought out operating agreement may serve to help avoid misunderstandings that could arise during the operation of the business.

File for an Employment Identification Number (EIN)

Although it is not necessary for a single-member LLC to have an EIN, getting this nine-digit number from the IRS is a relatively simple step to take. The number would be required should the LLC eventually add more members or has more than one member at the time the LLC is formed.

Obtain the Business Registration Certificate

The Business Registration Certificate is good until the LLC is no longer in business, although changes in ownership, name, or location will require obtaining a new Business Registration Certificate. It must be prominently displayed at the business location, and the failure to do so is considered a crime and the LLC could face fines.

Receiving a Business Registration Certificate is the culmination of all the procedures an LLC must follow to do business in the state of West Virginia.

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