West Virginia is typical of other U.S. states when it comes to forming a business organization. Filers interested in running a business or charity file with the Secretary of State. They can obtain forms online for creating either a business or nonprofit corporation. The filers then submit the incorporation forms and a filing fee to start a West Virginia corporation.
Create a business name for your West Virginia corporation. Your name must include one of the following words or a related abbreviation: Company, Corporation, Limited or Incorporation. You must use this whole name unless you create a separate trade name for use in West Virginia. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s forms page (linked to below) has a link for ordering a West Virginia trade name.
Call the number in Step 5 below to do a check for name availability. You may not use a name already registered with the state and the same or indistinguishable from your chosen West Virginia corporation name.
Access the “Online Filing and Form Index for Business Filings” page at Sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/Pages/FormIndexforBusinessFilings.aspx. On this page, you will find the two relevant links for “Articles of Incorporation” filing forms. Click on the “CD-1” link to start a for-profit corporation. Click on the “CD-1NP” link to start a West Virginia nonprofit.
Fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” for the West Virginia business entity you seek to form. In the case of nonprofits, make sure you include the provisions in the IRS attachment in your articles. You must include these to qualify as a tax-exempt organization. Read Publication 557 for additional information. You can find the full publication by running a search at the IRS.gov website.
Note that West Virginia corporate forms provide only the bare minimum for creating a business corporation or nonprofit. You should consult a West Virginia business attorney for specific business questions and filing advice.
Prepare the filing fee. As of 2010, the standard fees are $50 for a for-profit corporation and $25 for a nonprofit. Unlike the typical state, West Virginia also has something called an “acreage fee.” If the corporation holds more than 10,000 acres of land in West Virginia, you must pay an additional five cents per acre. Add that to the standard filing fees. Make checks payable to “WV Secretary of State.”
Mail in the incorporation forms and fee to the following address:
Secretary of State
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, WV 25305
Note: If you prefer to file online, you may visit Business4WV.com. Click on “Start a New Business” in the menu on the left and follow the instructions to file your West Virginia corporation and pay by credit card.
West Virginia Business and Corporation Filing Forms