West Virginia Startup

Forming a new West Virginia startup business is a matter of drafting the appropriate form and submitting it to the state—but how do you determine which form should you file?

The type of startup business you select will influence your taxes, liability, and startup costs. It's important that you make an informed decision so you know that you're making the best choice for your specific circumstances.

Incorporate in West Virginia

If your business incorporates in West Virginia, it will be considered a new, legal entity, financially separate from its individual owners. Provided the corporation acts properly and within the law, the assets of the individual owners cannot be seized to pay for debts or obligations of the corporation. This legal separation is what is known as the corporate veil.

West Virginia Foreign Corporation

Registration as a West Virginia foreign corporation is necessary for any for-profit or nonprofit foreign entity—that is, one that has registered in another state and wishes to do business in the state.

To register in West Virginia, the foreign corporation must submit an Application for Certificate of Authority along with a Certificate of Existence from its original state. There are additional requirements for charitable organizations or insurance agencies.

Just as with any other business in West Virginia, the name must be available for use. It's important to check the state database for conflicting names before submitting your document to avoid unnecessary rejections.

West Virginia LLC

A West Virginia LLC is formed by filing Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. An LLC, like a corporation, is considered a legal entity and separate from its owners.

The LLC is a relatively new entity type; the IRS does not have a set tax classification for LLCs, so they allow LLCs to select the tax classification that works for them from those available based on the amount of owners (single-owner LLC versus multiple-owner LLC).

West Virginia Nonprofit Corporation

A 501c3 nonprofit corporation is one that is formed for one of the following purposes:

  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Charitable
  • Scientific
  • Literary
  • Testing for Public Safety
  • Fostering National or International Amateur Sports Competition
  • Preventing Cruelty to Children or Animals

Eligible corporations will first submit Articles of Incorporation to register as a West Virginia nonprofit corporation, and then apply for 501c3 status from the IRS.

West Virginia Trade Name

A corporation or LLC within the state, if it chooses to do business under a name other than its legal corporate name, will file a West Virginia trade name. A trade name does not create a new business entity; rather it creates an official record with the state that the corporation or LLC is doing business under another name in the state.

The trade name selected for use must be available within West Virginia; trade names are subject to name availability limitations.