WV Secretary of State business registration is a requirement for all companies wishing to do business in the state of West Virginia, with few exceptions. You will need to follow correct procedures in order to file and register your business in the state of West Virginia.

How to Register a Business With the Office of the West Virginia Secretary of State

In order to do business in the state of West Virginia, domestic and foreign organizations, LLCs (Limited Liability Companies), LPs (Limited Partnerships), and LLPs (Limited Liability Partnerships) must first register with the Office of the Secretary of State.

There are, of course, exemptions to this requirement:

  • Sole Proprietors — that is, businesses that are run by one person working alone — are exempt from registering. Although, if a trade name registration is desired then even sole proprietors must register.
  • The office of the Secretary of State may grant an exemption for an entity that conducts a single transaction within 30 days.

It is clearly wiser to determine eligibility for exemption than to assume an exemption.

Note that every company, whether exempt or not from registration, is required to register with the Tax Department, complete the appropriate form, and submit it along with a $25 fee.

The state offers an incentive to the film industry here: any company producing for the film industry is exempt from the State Consumers Sales and Use Tax.

Once a business has registered with the Secretary of State and/or the Tax Department, a direct pay permit application must be submitted to the Tax Department. Once this is processed and approved, the applicant business will then receive a direct pay permit (otherwise known as an exemption certificate) to present to other vendors in the state.

State Unemployment Office in West Virginia

The state's unemployment agency is called WorkForce West Virginia. In addition, the agency collects the required unemployment insurance. For more information about how to make a claim, state laws around unemployment and reporting relating to unemployment, refer to its handbook. When an employer is liable or applies for voluntary coverage, it is WorkForce West Virginia that issues an Employer's Certificate of registration and assigns the necessary ten-digit account number.

Workers' compensation coverage is mandatory for organizations with employees in West Virginia with very few exceptions. Workers' compensation insurance must be purchased by employers from private insurance carriers. In order to do this, you will need to consult the list of registered workers' compensation insurance carriers.

An individual who is employed out of state but who then enters the state to work for fewer than 30 days in a year will be covered by the extraterritorial workers' compensation from the other state if it includes West Virginia. The company is not required to purchase additional coverage with a private West Virginia insurance carrier.

Employers who wish to self-insure employees' injury claims may register under "Guaranteed Cost and Self-Insurance Coverage."

Additional Information

In particular situations, you may be required to obtain licenses before registering your business:

  1. If you are a licensed professional wishing to establish a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), or a medical or legal corporation, then approval must be granted from the professional licensing board prior to the registration of your business. The West Virginia Secretary of State cannot accept a PLLC registration without prior approval from the licensing board.
  2. If you are establishing a business that requires special licensing, such as selling lottery tickets, alcoholic drinks, or other regulated materials or services, then you will need to find the correct contact in the Apply For Licenses And Permits section of the West Virginia business website and check for the requirements and limitations.

If you need to know if a particular business has, indeed, registered with the office of the Secretary of State, you can check this on the website. You will need to search by name of the entity and then click on the correct record to view the information that is in the public domain.

Useful Addresses When Registering A Business In West Virginia

West Virginia Tax Department

1001 Lee Street

East Charleston, WV 25301

Business Registration Unit: 304-558-8614

Sales Tax Unit: 304-558-8639

Website: www.wvtax.gov


WorkForce Virginia

112 California Avenue

Charleston, WV 25305

Phone: 304-558-7024

Fax: 304-558-1343

Website: workforcewv.org


West Virginia Secretary of State

Building 1, Suite 157-K

State Capitol Complex

1900 Kanawha Boulevard

East Charleston, WV 25305-0770

Website: www.sos.wv.gov

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