Register Your Business

​Once you have decided the business structure you wish to form and the business name you wish to use, you must register the business with the appropriate federal, state, county and local city agencies. Visit the Name Availability and Requirements section to determine which state agency registers the type of business structure you’ve chosen to form or see the lists in the sections below.  

Online Registration

The fastest, most convenient way to register your business is online through the One Stop Business Portal. You may pay the filing fees using a debit or credit card​. Online filing completes your registration with:

  • West Virginia Secretary of State (if applicable, see list below; expedite service* available), 
  • West Virginia State Tax Department, and 
  • WorkForce West Virginia (Unemployment Compensation). 
Download the Business Registration Instructions to review and/or print a hard copy of the online filing instructions for your convenience.

Note: You must first register with the IRS to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) before registering your business online through the One Stop Business Portal.

*Expedite service is available for most Secretary of State filings in 1-hour, 2-hour and 24-hour processing times for an additional fee. After completing and paying for your online Secretary of State filing, download and complete the Customer Order Request form selecting the level of expedite service (1-hour, 2-hour or 24-hour). Be sure the business name on the request form matches the business name you registered through the online portal. Email the completed form to Expedite service does not apply to State Tax Department, WorkForce West Virginia, or Division of Labor filings.

Paper Registration

If you choose to complete a paper registration, you will need to contact each state agency separately below based on your business structure and the type of business you are conducting in the state to complete the appropriate registration applications and pay any associated filing fees.

WV Secretary of State LogoWest Virginia Secretary of State

The following business structures register through the West Virginia Secretary of State for the initial business registration. A separate business registration must also be filed with the West Virginia State Tax Department to be issued a Business Registration Certificate (i.e., Business License) only after the initial registration has been completed and approved through the Secretary of State.
  • Corporation (profit or non-profit)
  • Benefit Corporation (profit only)
  • Cooperative Association (agricultural products and/or services or broadband internet services)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Voluntary Association
  • Business Trust
  • Unincorporated Non-Profit Association 
Visit the Secretary of State Business Division online to download the appropriate application for one of the business structures above. 

WV State Tax Department LogoWest Virginia State Tax Department

Before engaging in business activity in West Virginia, every individual or business entity is required to register with the West Virginia State Tax Department to obtain a Business Registration Certificate (i.e., the "Business License") to obtain a business license identification number and maintain a State Tax Department account. The following business structures register through the West Virginia State Tax Department for the initial registration:
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Association
  • Joint Venture

The West Virginia Office of Business Registration paper application (Form WV/BUS-APP) is the primary form provided by that agency to apply for the Business Registration Certificate. For more information relating to all state tax registrations such as sales and use, license, severance, gasoline, withholding, and much more, visit the West Virginia State Tax Department Business Registration page. 


WorkForce West Virginia LogoWorkForce West Virginia (Unemployment Compensation)

If a business has employees or is a Corporation, Limited Liability Company (“LLC”), Limited Partnership (“LP”), Limited Liability Partnership (“LLP”) or Voluntary Association, you are required by law to register with WorkForce West Virginia. Upon completion of your registration, the agency will determine if your business meets the liability requirements associated with the Unemployment Compensation Program. 

WorkForce West Virginia will assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your responsibilities as an employer and the Unemployment Compensation Program. These questions may involve issues such as: reportable wages, submission of quarterly contribution reports, reporting due dates, tax rates or any other information you may need. Visit WorkForce West Virginia online to obtain the application for more information.

WV Offices of the Insurance Commissioner LogoWorkers’ Compensation

If you are registering a new business, reopening an old business, or purchasing an existing business, in whole or in part, state law requires employers to obtain workers’ compensation coverage for its employees in case of workplace injury. If you employ even one (1) person in West Virginia, except in very rare circumstances, you are required by law to obtain coverage. Failure to obtain and maintain proper Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage will subject you to a number of consequences.
Employers must apply directly to a private carrier for this insurance coverage. For more information regarding available insurers, contact the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner Employer Coverage Unit.

WV Division of Labor LogoWest Virginia Division of Labor Contractor Licensing Board

The Division of Labor Contractor Licensing Board regulates all independent contractors who perform work on construction projects in West Virginia. A contractor is defined as anyone who offers to or submits a bid to construct, alter, repair, improve, move or demolish any building, road or structure in exchange for wages or other compensation if that individual is not performing the work as an employee of another and the work performed will be valued at $2,500 or more.

If the services you provide meet this definition and can be categorized under any of the services described below, you must register in the state for a Contractor’s License. Contractors subject to licensing include:

  • Electrical contractor
  • General building contractor
  • General engineering contractor
  • Heating, ventilating and cooling (HVAC) contractor
  • Multifamily building contractor
  • Piping contractor
  • Plumbing contractor
  • Residential building contractor
  • Specialty contractor
To obtain more information, including an application for a Contractor's License, visit the Division of Labor New Application Contractor License online.
WV State Seal