Follow These Three Easy Steps:
Get Help Filing Your Articles of Organization:
Filing the Articles of Organization is Simple!
Step 1: Get Your Articles of Organization Forms
You can download and mail in your West Virginia Articles of Organization, or you can create an account and file online. For this first step, choose your preferred method below.
Get Your West Virginia Articles of Organization
Option 1: Create an account with West Virginia’s One Stop Business Portal. Select “Register a Business” from the top toolbar, then select the “Register a Business” button. Fill out the required basic information.
Option 2: Download the Articles of Organization PDF from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website. This form will need to be mailed to one of three Business Service Centers or submitted in-person.
Step 2: Fill Out the Articles of Organization
In this step, we will help you complete the West Virginia Articles of Organization form. There are ten main “Articles.”
You will need to know the following information to complete the form:
- Entity Name and Type
- Office Address
- Agent for Service of Process Information
- Organizer Information
- LLC Duration and Articles of Organization Effective Date
- Governing Authority Type
- Member Liability
- Business Purpose
- Veteran-Owned Status
Entity Name and Type
Having a creative and smart business name is important but not as important as having a legally correct name.
When you choose a name for your business, you have to make sure the name:
- meets West Virginia naming guidelines.
- is not already in use by another business in West Virginia.
Follow the West Virginia Naming Guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or “limited company” or one of their abbreviations (LLC, L.L.C., LC, or L.C.). "Limited" may be abbreviated as "Ltd." and "company" may be abbreviated as "Co."
- Your name cannot include any of the following: incorporated, corporation, company, limited, inc., corp., co., or ltd.
- Your name cannot contain any word or phrase which implies that the LLC is organized for any purpose other than the one stated in its articles of organization.
- The terms “banking” or “insurance” cannot be used in the business name if the business activity does not include “banking” or “insurance.”
- Words such as “engineer” or “engineering” may only be used if the purpose is to practice professional engineering and one of the principals is a registered West Virginia professional engineer.
- Some other licensed professions have specific requirements and prohibitions.
- Your name cannot include “911.”
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Your name must be distinguishable from any existing business in the state. This includes West Virginia reserved names.
Check Name Availability:
Is your name available in West Virginia? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the West Virginia Comptroller of Public Accounts website.
To learn more about naming your business, including best practices and creative branding, visit our How to Name a Business in West Virginia guide.
Register Your Domain Name:
We recommend checking to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website today, you may want to buy the URL to prevent others from acquiring it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
You need to provide the address of the company’s principal office, its designated office, and a mailing address if different.
Agent for Service of Process Information
An agent for service of process, known as a registered agent in most states, accepts and sends legal documents on your LLC’s behalf.
Your agent for service of process can be anyone 18 years or older that lives in West Virginia. Your agent for service of process must always be available at the registered office during normal business hours.
Your registered office address cannot be a P.O. box.
To learn more about choosing a West Virginia agent for service of process, read our How to Choose a West Virginia Registered Agent guide.
To learn more about what a registered agent does and how to choose one, read our What is a Registered Agent guide.
You must list the names and addresses of the organizers of the LLC.
LLC Duration and Articles of Organization Effective Date
Select whether your LLC will operate for an indefinite period or if there is a scheduled dissolution date and also state whether you would like the Articles of Organization to become effective immediately upon filing or at a later date.
You must state whether or not your LLC will have managers. If you do have managers, you must list each initial manager. If your LLC will be managed by its members, then you must list at least one member.
To learn everything you need to know about choosing your management structure, read our
State whether any members will be liable for any of the LLC’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.
In West Virginia, you can form a limited liability company for any legal or non-prohibited activity. You can state “General Purpose” under Article 4.
Keep in mind that a business purpose that involves licensing, tax-exemption, or tax-deductible status requires special language from the IRS or a professional license.
If your LLC meets the requirements to be designated as a “veteran-owned business,” it may be eligible for certain benefits.
Step 3: File the Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State.
There are two ways to file your Articles of Organization:
- Complete the form online.
- Submit a hard copy by mail or in-person.
File the West Virginia Articles of Organization
Option 1: Create or log into your account with West Virginia’s One Stop Business Portal. Select “Register a Business” from the top toolbar, then select the “Register a Business” button. Fill out the required fields and submit.
Option 2: Download and mail in the Articles of Organization PDF to one of three Business Service Centers or submit it in-person.
State Filing Cost: $100
Mail or Submit In-Person to:
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Turnaround Time: Immediately after payment when filing online; 5-10 business days when filing by mail unless expedited.
Steps After Your West Virginia LLC Is Officially Formed
Once you’ve filed your Articles of Organization, you should take the following steps:
Create an Operating Agreement
An LLC operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership structure and member roles of your LLC.
In West Virginia, you aren’t required to have an Operating Agreement to officially form an LLC, but it's still a good idea to have one. You can start your operating agreement before, during, or after you file your Articles of Organization.
Your operating agreement will be kept in your LLC’s private business records; you do not file it with the state.
For more information, read our West Virginia LLC Operating Agreement guide.
Get an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a social security number for your LLC. You will need an EIN if you want to hire employees or open business bank accounts.
You can get your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our What is an EIN article.
Open a Business Bank Account
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential to protect your business' corporate veil. When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued.
For reviews on some of our most trusted business banks, visit our 5 Best Business Bank Accounts for Entrepreneurs reviews on StartupSavant.com.
Get Licenses and Permits
When you are registering an LLC, you need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to remain compliant. On the federal level, there are a handful of business activities that require licenses or permits.
Find out how to obtain necessary licenses and permits for your business or have a professional service do it for you:
- Federal: Use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guide to federal business licenses and permits.
- State: Apply for or learn more about licenses, permits, and registration with West Virginia's Licenses, Permits, and Renewals website.
Local: Contact your local county clerk and ask about local licenses and permits.