You did it. Your West Virginia LLC is officially up and running, ready to take on challenges, roll in the profits, and change the world.
There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time in your business journey. After starting your LLC, it’s easy to get carried away in all the excitement and expectations. After all, as a new business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But the state does too. They need to keep updated records on thousands of businesses so that they can effectively reach out with any important tax or legal communications down the road. How do they do it? With your cooperation, of course.
In West Virginia, an LLC’s annual report consists of two parts: a Franchise Tax and a Public Information Report. Each LLC must submit these filings to the West Virginia Comptroller every year to keep their information current. Unsure how to go about it? Never even heard of it? No worries at all. That’s why we’re here. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
For brevity’s sake, we’ll refer to these two combined filings as the “Annual Report” in this guide.
What is the West Virginia Annual Report? Why is it Important?
Consider an Annual Report the state’s yearly checkup on your LLC. It’s similar to a census in that its purpose is to collect the necessary contact and structural information about each West Virginia business.
Each state has its own annual reporting requirements, and some don’t even require them. But in most states, you’re required to submit one per year that includes your LLC name, principal office address, agent of process information, and member/manager names and addresses. Whether you run a domestic or foreign LLC, you should plan on submitting an Annual Report.
Don’t be intimidated, but it’s not something you want to take lightly. This is how the state updates your LLC’s record with the most recent information. They need to know how to reach you with important information about your business status, upcoming filings, taxes, and service of process.
For example, if you change your agent of process, or your current agent resigns, you’ll need to keep the state informed so they can update their contact information. Miss one of their communications and your LLC in West Virginia might end up falling out of good standing or, even worse, administratively dissolved.
Moreover, keeping your information current will help other businesses and potential customers find you. If the Secretary of State has the most updated data on record, anyone – including future partners and/or clients – can find your business by performing a name search.
How Much Does the West Virginia LLC Annual Report Fee Cost?
If you’re putting together a budget for all your LLC’s costs – like formation costs, name reservation fees, and initial operating expenses – it’s important to include annual filings like this one, just so that there are no surprises.
Costs vary from state to state. Some are free while others can be several hundred dollars. Thankfully, West Virginia’s fee is pretty cheap – just $25 per report.
Due Date and Frequency for an Annual Report in West Virginia
To keep your business in good standing with the state, you will need to file an Annual Report once per year. It’s due by July 1st, but you can file as early as January 1st.
Your LLC’s first report is due during the year following the calendar year it was formed. So, if your Articles of Organization filing was approved on March 21, 2018, your first Annual Report would be due between January 1, 2019 and July 1, 2019.
What Happens if You Don’t File?
You might be thinking, “that sounds like a pain. How bad could it be if I just fly under the radar?” The short answer: don’t try it. Failing to file your Annual Report can yield some serious consequences.
If July 1st comes and goes and you haven’t filed your LLC’s Annual Report, you’ll be hit with a $50 late fee. If you haven’t filed 60 days after the due date, the state can administratively dissolve or revoke your business, at which point you would need to file for reinstatement before doing business again.
Now for the real nuts and bolts of the guide, what West Virginia’s Annual Report actually looks like. Before you file, it’s a good idea to take stock of the required information. Here’s what you’ll need:
- LLC name
- Date and state of organization
- Tax ID number
- Principal office address
- Principal mailing address
- Agent of process name and address
- Business email address
- Number of employees
- Number of West Virginia residents
- Whether or not the LLC is minority or woman-owned
- How many businesses you operate in the state
- Whether or not the LLC employe veterans
- Member or manager names and addresses
This might seem like a lot of information, but it’s all easily accessible in your LLC’s online record or in your other business documents. When you have everything together, the form shouldn’t take long at all.
If you’ve gathered your information and it’s between January 1st and July 1st, you’re ready to file! The Secretary of State provides two methods: online and by mail.
Online Filing: You can complete the entire process through the Secretary of State’s One Stop Business Portal. You don’t need an account to file Annual Reports, but you can create one for future filings if you’d like. Already have an account? Just sign in and click “SOS Annual Report.” If none of your business information has changed, choose the “Annual Report No Changes” option. Otherwise, choose “Annual Report With Changes.”
If you’d rather not create an account, click “Guest Annual Report Filing,” then select either “File Annual Report” or “File Annual Report No Changes.”
The Secretary of State provides an in-depth, step-by-step guide here.
Filing by Mail: Download the hard copy Annual Report and fill it out. Include a check for $25 (payable to West Virginia Secretary of State) and mail it to one of three filing addresses:
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311
North Central WV Business Center
200 West Main Street
Clarksburg, WV 26301
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Does the State Send Reminders?
Reminders are always nice. They help you stay on top of your business requirements and ensure that you won’t fall out of good standing.
To help ensure that you don’t forget about the July 1st deadline, the Secretary will send a courtesy reminder postcard to your agent of process or business email address. But considering the severity of the state’s late report consequences, we recommend setting your own reminders on your phone, in your planner, or anywhere else you won’t forget to look.
Can I Hire a Service to Handle it?
You probably have a full plate as it is, and the thought of adding one more responsibility to your to-do list might make you shudder. You’re not alone.
Plenty of other LLC owners have outsourced their reporting duties to LLC services. These companies will take the entire process off your hands, handling your Annual Report each year. If that piques your interest, we recommend ZenBusiness, which is an experienced and trustworthy LLC company.
But their services aren’t restricted to forming an LLC or managing Annual Reports. They can also help you form your business, draft an operating agreement, handle agent of process responsibilities, and much more, all for a reasonably low price.
If thinking about your LLC responsibilities ties your stomach in knots, let ZenBusiness take some of those worries off your plate.
There you have it, everything you need to know about West Virginia’s reporting requirements. Follow this guide to a T and your LLC will be prepared to operate smoothly and in good standing long into the future.
And remember, if at any point it seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. A good LLC service like ZenBusiness (or LegalZoom) can be a valuable resource, taking care of all the little details, so you can focus on growing your business.