The first decision in forming a new business requires choosing the legal business structure to form - sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, etc. The business structure you choose influences everything including daily operations, taxes, and how much of your personal assets are at risk. Changing a business structure after it has been established can be very time consuming and costly involving multiple application procedures and various filing fees, so be sure to plan accordingly when making your decision. The structure you choose will depend on various factors, such as:
Visit the following links to learn more about the various business structures and their features:
The lists below include the possible business structures from which to choose when forming a business and the state agency through which the business must initially be registered. When a business entity forms through the West Virginia Secretary of State, it must also complete a business registration with the State Tax Department.
West Virginia State Tax Department
West Virginia Secretary of State
Another excellent resource for business start-up information and assistance is the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Many of their services are provided at no cost to the public and they specialize in coaching and mentoring new business applicants throughout the life of the business. For more information or to speak with a business specialist, visit West Virginia SBDC online or call 1-888-WVA-SBDC (1-888-982-7232).
In some cases, you may be required to obtain special licenses before you register your business. For example:
Before engaging in business activity in West Virginia, every individual or business entity must obtain a West Virginia business registration certificate from the State Tax Department. Business activity is broadly defined. Learn more about the requirements by visiting the West Virginia State Tax Department Business Registration.
It's important to know the tax calendar due dates associated with the filing frequency assigned by the West Virginia State Tax Department. This way you'll be prepared and can plan accordingly.
West Virginia has changed some of the due dates for the filing of returns by corporations, partnerships and composite returns to reflect some of the due date changes made at the federal level. These changes are effective for returns filed for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015. Review the highlights of the changes here.
Certain business activities require registration with the West Virginia Division of Labor. Below is a list of activities which require licensing with the Division of Labor.
With the exception of those companies that qualify for an exemption, every employer engaged in construction or the severance, production or transportation of minerals (excluding railroads and water transporters) in the state of West Virginia must furnish a wage bond to the Division of Labor to protect the wages and benefits of its employees. Visit the WV Division of Labor Wage Bonding section for more information. Email WageandHour@wv.gov or call (304) 558-7890.
Any business operating in WV servicing or installing weighing or measuring devices to be placed back in service for legal trade must have accurate and traceable standards and certify that each agent who performs work is trained in the applicable area of expertise. They are also required to notify the West Virginia Division of Labors Weights & Measures office within 24 hours of conducting repairs or service to devices. Visit the WV Division of Labor Weights and Measures section for more information. Email Weights@wv.gov or call (304) 722-0602.
Any business operating in WV servicing or installing elevators must have a specialty contractor license. More information from the WV Division of Labor Licensing section. Email: Licensing@wv.gov Phone: (304) 558-7890. If they are employing elevator mechanics, they must be registered with the Division of Labor Safety section. Visit the WV Division of Labor Consumer Safety section for more information. Email Safety@wv.gov or call (304) 558-7890.
Any business operating in WV operating amusement rides, ziplines and/or canopy tours must be registered with the West Virginia Division of Labor and have those devices inspected before initial operation and on a yearly basis. Visit amusement rides information and required forms and ziplines and canopy tours information and required forms for more information. Email Safety@wv.gov or call (304) 558-7890.
All manufacturers, renovators and sterilizers of bedding and/or Upholstery materials are required to register with the West Virginia Division of Labor. Visit the WV Division of Labor Weights and Measures section for more information. Email Weights@wv.gov or call (304) 722-0602.
Looking for qualified employees for your business? Or perhaps you're needing to file Unemployment Compensation for your existing employee base? The place to begin your search is WorkForce West Virginia, the one-stop center for all your workforce resource needs. Employers can post job listings, search for qualified employees, analyze labor market information, locate business services and register their required unemployment compensation account.