How to Create a West Virginia LLC: A Step-by-Step Do It Yourself (DIY) Guide | Inc Authority
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How to Create a West Virginia LLC: A Step-by-Step Do It Yourself (DIY) Guide

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Establishing an LLC in West Virginia is an excellent way to obtain personal liability protection and may offer various tax benefits. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you form an LLC in West Virginia:

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STEP 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

Naming Requirements: Your LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.”

Uniqueness: The name should be distinguishable from existing businesses in West Virginia.

Name Search: Verify the name’s availability using the West Virginia Secretary of State‘s business name search tool.

Optional Name Reservation: You can reserve your desired LLC name for 120 days by submitting a Name Reservation form and paying the appropriate fee.

Time it Takes to name an LLC

Researching and deciding on a name: 1-2 hours

If opting for a name reservation: The act of filing can take about 10-15 minutes.

If opting for a name reservation: Filing can take minutes, but approval might take a few days to a week.

STEP 2: Appoint a Registered Agent

Your LLC must designate a registered agent in West Virginia.

This agent is responsible for receiving legal documents.

The registered agent can be an individual or a business entity but must have a physical address in West Virginia.

Time it Takes to be a Registered Agent

Registered Agents MUST BE at the Business Address everyday during business hours. This is why Home Addresses Are Not Accepted.

If you already have someone in mind (like an attorney or a service), this can be quick. If you need to find and appoint a registered agent: 1-3 hours.

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·       Legal Compliance: Avoid fines, penalties, and possible dissolution

·       Convenience: Serves as your public & legal business address

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STEP 3: File Articles of Organization

Submit the Articles of Organization to the West Virginia Secretary of State.

Provide necessary details like the LLC’s name, purpose, registered agent information, and duration (if not perpetual).

Pay the required filing fee. You can file online or by mail.

Time it takes to write the Articles of Organization

Preparing the document: 1-2 hours

Filing online: 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Waiting for confirmation/approval: This can range widely, but typically, online filings can be processed in a few days to a couple of weeks.

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STEP 4: Create an Operating Agreement

Though not mandated by West Virginia law, an Operating Agreement is essential to outline the operating procedures and member roles within the LLC.

This document remains within the LLC and isn’t submitted to the state.

Time it takes to write an Operating Agreement

If using a template and making minimal changes: 1-3 hours

If drafting from scratch or having extensive negotiations among members, it could be considerably longer, but for our purposes, we’ll stick with the 1-3 hours range.

If drafting from scratch or having extensive negotiations among members: Several days to weeks.

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STEP 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes.

You can apply for an EIN online at no cost through the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

The EIN will be used for tax filings, opening bank accounts, and hiring employees.

Time it takes to get an EIN / Tax ID

Filling out the online form and receiving the EIN: Approximately 0.5 to 1 hour (the online process is relatively quick if there are no complications).

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SO HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE TO FORM AN LLC MYSELF? DO IT MYSELF (DIY) an LLC?

Total Time Investment (Minimum): 5 hours (if you exclude the higher range estimates and name reservation)

Total Time Investment (Maximum): 11.5 hours (if you include the higher range estimates and name reservation)

This gives a ballpark range of 5 to 11.5 working hours for an individual, excluding all waiting times. It’s worth noting that these times can vary based on the person’s familiarity with the processes and any specific details or challenges related to the business being set up.

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