Skip to content

How to Incorporate in West Virginia

Let Bizee do the work for you $0 + state fee

Bizee can take care of all your WV corporation formation paperwork — and we’ll do it for free. Just pay the required West Virginia state fee ($100).

Learn how to form a WV corporation yourself

Read our DIY guide to West Virginia incorporation, with information on agents of process, naming rules, business licenses and more.

Woman carpenter working in a workshop

Why 
Start a WV Corporation?

The state of West Virginia offers a range of business incentives, giving businesses in West Virginia a competitive edge. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets qualifying criteria.


For example, the Economic Opportunity Credit can offset up to 80% of the corporate net income tax and personal income tax (on flow through income only) attributable to qualified investment.


For most entrepreneurs looking to start a larger business, WV incorporation may be the best choice. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.

Is an LLC 
Better Than a Corporation?

It all depends on your goals. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are usually a better option. An LLC is easier to set up and receives many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.


Learn more about forming a West Virginia LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.

Benefits of Forming a West Virginia C Corporation

It offers you numerous advantages including, but not limited to:

  • The strongest form of liability protection possible by insulating your personal assets and finances from business debts, obligations, damages, bankruptcy or other liabilities

  • The ability to issue more than one type of stock

  • The ability to sell stock to investors inside and outside the U.S.

  • Several options to create, buy, sell or transfer stock, including publicly

  • The ability to raise more funds by issuing more stock

Benefits of Forming a West Virginia S Corporation

It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:

  • Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp

  • Simpler rules than those that apply to C Corporations

  • The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax

  • The capacity for up to 100 shareholders

  • Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock

In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting an agent of process, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the Secretary of State in West Virginia.

Start a Business in West Virginia Checklist

To help you along the way, use our Starting a Business checklist to keep track of everything you need to do to get your business up and running.

How to Form a WV Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps

Video placeholder
Step 1: Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search

Every West Virginia business must have a unique name that isn't already being used by another business in the state. If you’re having difficulty coming up with a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the West Virginia Corporation Names page.


Once you’ve picked a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in West Virginia. To see whether another company in the state is using your desired business name, use our tool to do a West Virginia entity search.


You can also carry out a name search on the state's website.

We Can Check West Virginia Corporation Name Availability for You

Use Bizee's Business Name Search Tool
Business Name Search Tool
Step 2: Provide an Official Business Address for Your Corporation

All WV corporations must have a designated address. It could be your residential address (if you’re running the company from your home), a building where your office is located or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of West Virginia and can be a P.O. Box.


You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address published as part of your business public record.

Step 3: Assign an Agent of Process

Someone who receives official correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the West Virginia Secretary of State is known as an Agent of Process. Every West Virginia corporation is required to have an Agent of Process.


You can fill this position yourself, assign another manager in your business or use an Agent of Process service. If your Agent of Process in West Virginia is a person, they must have a physical street address in West Virginia and must be available during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your company. You'll appoint your Agent of Process when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and formally create your corporation.


All of Bizee’s business formation packages include Agent of Process service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.

Step 4: File Your Articles of Incorporation with the West Virginia Secretary of State (SOS)

Once you've gathered all the information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. This will officially create your business.

Here’s what is typically included:

  • The corporation name
  • The principal address of the corporation
  • Name and address of the corporation's Agent of Process
  • Email address for correspondence
  • Website of the corporation if you have one
  • The corporation’s capital structure (number of shares to be issued)
  • Your corporation's purpose

Your Articles of Incorporation can be filed online via the state's digital portal. You can also mail the form to the Office of the Secretary of State, or Bizee can file it on your behalf. The WV Corporation filing fee is $100.Your Articles of Incorporation can be filed online via the state's digital portal. You can also mail the form to the Office of the Secretary of State, or Bizee can file it on your behalf. The WV Corporation filing fee is $100.

File by Mail:

Clarksburg Office

One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311

Clarksburg Office

North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301

Martinsburg Office

Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in West Virginia once, but once a year thereafter, you'll also need to file an annual report with the Secretary of State in WV. Bizee can remind you about this every year, or we can do it for you if you have us handle the paperwork.

Let Bizee Handle All the UT Incorporation Paperwork for You for $0 + the State Fee

Incorporate Now for Free
Business Formation
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in West Virginia?

State Fee

$100

State Filling Time

6 Weeks

Expedited Filing Time

11 Business Days*

*Expedited Filing Time: 24 hour ($25 fee), 2 hour ($250 fee), 1 hour ($500 fee).

Annual Report

Frequency

Annually

Due Date

June 30th

Filing Fee

$26

Step 5: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service

You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Bizee can get one for you as part of the WV corporation creation process.

Step 6: Write Bylaws

A set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, bylaws detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.


Some states legally require companies to create bylaws, and the state of West Virginia is one of them. You don't need to file your bylaws with the Secretary of State, but keep them with your other business records.


It's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.

Types of WV Corporations

C Corporation

When you file to start a corporation, by default, it's a C Corp. This is the choice for large businesses that will trade shares in the stock market.


A West Virginia C Corporation will offer you several liability protections, but it will also be required to adhere to numerous strict rules and regulations. It will also likely have a substantial amount of administrative overhead, and won't enjoy as many tax advantages as other corporation types.


Learn more about C Corporations.

S Corporation

Technically, an S Corporation isn't a business entity the way LLCs and C Corporations are. It's a tax filing status. An LLC or a C Corporation can be an S Corporation. It's just a matter of filing a form with the IRS.


The main reason to file as an S Corp is to save money on self-employment taxes. To get an idea of how much money you might save, use our S Corp Tax Calculator.


If you want your West Virginia C Corporation to be treated as a West Virginia S Corporation, file the IRS Election by a Small Business Corporation form, also known as Form 2553 or an S Corp Election form.


Consult with your tax advisor or accountant to determine whether this is your best option.


Learn more about S Corporations.


Compare S Corp vs. C Corp to learn the benefits and drawbacks of both, and decide which one will best suit your needs.

Professional Corporation

Some states, including West Virginia, allow certain occupations to form Professional Corporations. West Virginia Code, Chapter 30 lists several of the occupations permitted to for a Professional Corporation which includes but may not be limited to:

  • Attorneys-at-law
  • Physicians and Podiatrists
  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Accountants
  • Veterinarians
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
  • Chiropractors
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Acupuncturists

Check with the Secretary of State to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.

Foreign Corporation

If your business operates in another state and you want to expand into West Virginia — or vice versa — you’ll need to form a Foreign Corporation.


Learn more about West Virginia Foreign Corporation registration.

Nonprofit Corporation

Charitable organizations can incorporate as nonprofit corporations. This means all the profits they generate are donated to the organization supported by the charity, minus administrative costs.


A nonprofit corporation is also exempt from federal and state taxes, allowing more of the profit to benefit the charity.


Note: Everything in this guide applies to for-profit corporations, and mostly to C Corps and S Corps. Items listed as requirements for forming a corporation may or may not also apply to nonprofits.

Limited Liability Company

Depending on the kind of business you want to start, or your personal circumstances and goals, an LLC may be a better option. For example, you may only want to build a small business that you yourself will run with just a few employees and you may not need the options to buy and sell stock.


A West Virginia LLC is usually a better option for a smaller business. It's easier to set up, but it still offers you certain advantages you'd get from a corporation. You can even have your LLC treated as an S Corporation for tax purposes to save you money.


Regardless of which direction you decide to go, we can help you with your West Virginia business registration.


Learn more about limited liability companies.

Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

These are the simplest types of businesses to set up. That's because there's no real setup to do. If you don't choose to form a separate business entity, by default, you'll have either a sole proprietorship (just you) or a partnership (you and one or more other people).


Neither of these options provide you with any special benefits or liability protections and can leave your personal assets vulnerable. For these reasons, we don't recommend them.


Compare business entity types to decide which one is best for you.

Helpful Resources from the State of West Virginia
More Information in This Guide

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

West Virginia Corporation Names

How to search the state business registry and find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, trade names, reserving names for WV corporations and more.

West Virginia Agents of Process

How to appoint, change and search for Agents of Process. Also includes the duties they fulfill and the rules they’re required to follow.

West Virginia Incorporation Fees and RequirementsWest Virginia Incorporation Fees and Requirements

Details the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details about Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.

West Virginia Corporation Taxes

Covers the various taxes you’ll have to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details about state taxes such as sales and income, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment.

incorporate now

Launch your business with bizee

No Contracts. No Surprises. Only $0 + State Fee to Launch Your Business.