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1. Choose a Name for Your West Virginia Corporation
Check on Available Names in West Virginia: You are going to need to choose a name for your corporation if you are preparing to incorporate your small business. You should choose a name that is not in use by another corporation that is registered in West Virginia. You can do a search of online records and other records and catalogs to see if the name that you have chosen is available. You might want to start by searching the database of registered West Virginia corporations available online at West Virginia Corporation.
Reserve a Corporate Name: You do not need to reserve the name that you have chosen for your corporation before you file to incorporate your small business. However, if you want to reserve a certain name for your corporation before the time that you file to incorporate, you should submit a name reservation application to the office of the West Virginia Secretary of State. You can download a name reservation application form online at Reserve a West Virginia Corporation Name. The name that you have chosen will be reserved for a period of 120 days. You will be required to pay a filing fee of $15.00 to reserve a name.
Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: Even though the name that you have chosen for your corporation might be available in West Virginia, the name could be in use by a corporation in another state. There could be restrictions on how you use the corporate name that you have chosen. An attorney can inform you of what these restrictions could be and what you can do to trademark the name of your corporation.
West Virginia Corporate Name Requirements: When considering names for your corporation, remember that in West Virginia corporate names need to include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company,” or an abbreviation of one of these words.
2. Find a Registered Agent in West Virginia
Before you can file to incorporate your small business in West Virginia, you are going to need to find a registered agent. Registered agents are agents for service of process. Your registered agent will receive all legal and tax documents for your corporation. An adult resident of West Virginia, a corporation in West Virginia, or a corporate services company could be your registered agent.
3. File Articles of Incorporation with the West Virginia Secretary of State
Minimum Requirements: Once you have chosen a corporate name and a registered agent, you can create Articles of Incorporation for your corporation. You will submit this document to the West Virginia Secretary of State. You can find a form for this document online at File a West Virginia Corporation. The Articles of Incorporation of your corporation needs to include the name of your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, the address of your principal office and your main place of business, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, and the name and address of each of the incorporators. You can also include your business e-mail address and website. The form also asks how much land in acres you intend to hold. The Articles of Incorporation must be signed by each of the incorporators before you submit the document to the Secretary of State.
Other West Virginia Legal Provisions: When you create Articles of Incorporation for your corporation, consider including other legal provisions in addition to the minimum requirements. An attorney can assist you in deciding what additional legal provisions will be the most important and beneficial for your corporation.
Where to Submit Form: You can submit the signed Articles of Incorporation document to the office of the Secretary of State, 1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K, Charleston, WV 25305.
Filing Fee: The initial filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in West Virginia is $50.00.
4. Create Other West Virginia Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)
Once you have created Articles of Incorporation and submitted the document to the Secretary of State, you can prepare to take other actions in your corporation like appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring the appropriate business license. You could also create corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what will happen if an owner decides to leave the company. These kinds of corporate documents are especially useful for corporations with multiple owners. An attorney or a professional corporate service company can help you to draft these important documents so that you can be sure to be in compliance with all legal requirements.
5. Qualify Your West Virginia Corporation to Do Business in Other States
You will need to qualify your corporation before you can do business in other states. If your main corporate office is located in another state you need to qualify your corporation before you can do business there. Most states will require some kind of qualification and will require you to pay taxes in your home state. You can learn more about qualifying your corporation to do business in other states online at Doing Business in other states.
6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in West Virginia
Corporations that are registered in West Virginia are required to file an annual report by June 30th of each year. You can find information about this report at West Virginia Corporation Fee. In the report you will indicate the name and address of your registered agent and the names and addresses of the principal officers and directors of the corporation. There is a fee of $25.00 for this report if filed on time.
Your West Virginia corporation will be subject to state income taxes. You must file income taxes each year and pay the required taxes. You can learn more about the corporate tax in West Virginia and download tax forms at the official website of the West Virginia State Tax Department at West Virginia Corporation Tax. An accountant can help you to avoid mistakes in your tax documents that could cost you extra taxes.
There are many complicated decisions that you will need to make when you are in the process of incorporating your small business, especially if your corporation has multiple owners. You should consult an attorney and an accountant during the incorporation process so that you can feel more confident that the paperwork for your corporation is being prepared correctly.
This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. This information is derived from various sources and should not be relied on as an official source of information. All information should be independently verified. You should consult a legal or accounting professional before incorporating your business.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.