Thursday, July 19, 2018
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Start a New Business

Starting a new business or bringing your business to West Virginia?  Learn more about one-stop online registration and find other help with important business startup decisions.

You may now register online at Business4WV if you are:
-- Starting a brand new business or organization in West Virginia;
-- Acquiring a business from another company;
-- Expanding your out-of-state business to West Virginia; or
-- Registering to withhold taxes from your employees who live in West Virginia.
(NOTE: If you have already filed your charter documents with the Secretary of State, online filing is not currently an option.)

Select a topic for more information.

Registering a New Business Online

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Online business registration offers an interview process that will lead you quickly through all the questions required for your business start-up.  Remember these important points:

  • Before you can begin a business registration, you must first sign up for a user account.  This free account requires only contact information, and allows you to maintain your own secure storage of filings and information.  Go to User Registration, or click CREATE NEW ACCOUNT in the Business4WV section at the top of the left menu when you are ready to sign up.

  • At this time, online registration may not be used if you have already filed charter documents with the Secretary of State. The online process concludes with filing and fees for all participating agencies.

  • When you begin the interview, you may interrupt the process at any point and return to complete it later.  The information you enter is saved as you leave each screen.

  • When you are ready to submit the registration, you will pay all filing fees and employer deposits using a credit card.  Business4WV does not store your credit card number or expiration date.

  • Your new business registration will be processed by the major business registration agencies, depending on the type of business you select and whether you will have employees.  Each agency will send the documents certifying your registration directly to you.

Before Beginning Business Registration

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In some cases, you may be required to make decisions or obtain licenses before you register your business.

  • Are you a licensed professional starting a professional limited liability company, medical or legal corporation? If so, you must apply for approval from your professional licensing board first. The Secretary of State cannot accept a PLLC registration without approval of the licensing board. See Professional Licensing Boards for contact information.

  • Are you beginning a business that will require special licensing, such as the sale of lottery tickets, alcoholic beverages or other regulated materials or services? Find the appropriate contact in the Apply for Licenses and Permits section and check on the requirements and limitations that may apply.  For example, rules of the licensing agencies may affect the type of business you choose, or who may serve as officers of the new business.

A few specific activities do not require business registration.  Check out this information before you start registration.

  • If your activity does not seem to be 'business activity', you may be exempt from registration.  If you want to learn more about exemptions before you start your registration, see Exemptions to Business Registration to learn more.

  • Visit the Secretary of State resource Welcome to WV for an overview of steps required for various business types.

Making Key Decisions About Business Structure

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Your decision about business structure will be very important to the future of your business. 

  • Eleven different business structures are defined by West Virginia law.  These structures provide different ownership configurations, differences in liability protection and other differences.  Some can be owned by an individual, some by one or more people, and others only by multiple people or companies.

  • Some licensing bodies require certain business structures before the company may be licensed to provide those services or products.

  • Visit our Resources section, Get Startup Help for assistance. The decision you make will affect the information you must provide when you begin the registration.

Expanding an Out-of-State Company to West Virginia

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If your company is already established in another state and you plan to do business in West Virginia, this information may help.

  • Are you planning to establish a business location in West Virginia?  The resources and links to state and local licensing requirements may help you find answers to questions about how to get started.

  • Is your business contact with WV is limited, so that you think you might be exempt from registration?  If you want to learn more about exemptions before you start your registration, see Exemptions to Business Registration to learn more.

  • Visit the Secretary of State resource Welcome to WV for an overview of steps required for various business types.
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