STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in West Virginia, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of State, and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your name must contain words like “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company” or “Limited” or the abbreviations “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Co.,” or “Ltd.” If needed, file an Application for Name Reservation with the Sec. of State that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $15

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A West Virginia Registered Agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours. On behalf of your brand they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They’re essential and required by law.

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get an agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLC

Once you have a registered agent and the company is ready to become an official business entity, file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. It comes with extensive directions and declares the basics of your brand for the public record including:

  • Corporate name and address;
  • Registered Agent name and address;
  • The number of stock shares authorized for issuance;
  • Each of the incorporator’s names and addresses, etc.

Filing Fee: $50

STEP 4) SET-UP A CORPORATE RECORDS BINDER

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) ELECT DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 Director who among other things will oversee the West Virginia corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) SETUP A CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

In your initial meeting you and the board should have discussed where to set up your corporation’s financial groundwork – where to bank. This is no simple matter. If you aren’t a/haven’t hired a qualified CFO or accountant, then you need to check out a good number of different local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions.

To get your research going, check out this short free quasi-guide to Business Checking Accounts from the more big bank perspective. It should help give you a basic idea of the numbers involved.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesAs a legally operating corporation in West Virginia, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least dedicate time to knocking this out yourself and doing the homework. That said, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Clarksburg Small Business Admin office and set up an account Business4WV.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional business license research services that handle the legwork for you.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

If you’d like help forming a Corporation, here are two great options:

IncFile ($49 + state fees) is ideal if you’re on a budget but refuse to sacrifice quality. However if you’d like access to an attorney past incorporation Rocket Lawyer ($99 + state fees) is the best option.

Visit IncFile Or Visit Rocket Lawyer

Note that this article on how to form a West Virginia Corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a West Virginia Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.