If you want to start and run a West Virginia limited liability company (LLC), you'll need to prepare and file various documents with the state. This article covers the most important ongoing reporting and state tax filing requirements for West Virginia LLCs.
The State of West Virginia requires you to file an annual report for your LLC. You should file the report online through the Business4WV website. The annual report is due each year by June 30. For LLCs formed on January 1 or later, the initial report is not due until the following calendar year. The current filing fee is $25. There is a $50 penalty for reports filed late.
When it comes to income taxes, most LLCs are so-called pass-through tax entities. In other words, the responsibility for paying federal income taxes passes through the LLC itself and falls on the individual LLC members. By default, LLCs themselves do not pay federal income taxes, only their members do. West Virginia, however, imposes a business registration tax on LLCs when they are first formed. The tax is $30 and must be paid to the State Tax Department before your LLC begins conducting business. You can register and pay the tax online. In exchange for paying the tax your LLC will be issued a business registration certificate.
In some cases, the owners of an LLC choose to have their business treated like a corporation for tax purposes. This choice is made by filing IRS Form 2553 with the IRS. (See the IRS website for the form.) Unlike the default pass-through tax situation, when an LLC elects to be taxed as a corporation, the company itself must file a separate tax return. The State of West Virginia, like most other states, has a corporation income tax. In West Virginia, the corporate tax currently is computed at a flat rate of 6.5% of taxable income. Use Form CNF-120 to pay the tax. For more details, check Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Business Income Tax, or the State Tax Department website.
Does your LLC have employees? If so, you'll need to pay employer taxes. Some of these taxes are paid to the federal government (the IRS) and are not covered here. (But note that federal employer tax obligations start with obtaining a federal employer identification number (EIN).) However, West Virginia employers also must pay taxes to the state.
First, you'll need to withhold and pay employee income taxes to the State Tax Department. Begin by registering your business with the Tax Department via the Business4WV website. Once you've registered, you'll need to file withholding taxes on a periodic basis (typically quarterly using Form WV/IT-101Q). You'll also need to use Form IT-103 each year to reconcile your LLC's tax withholding. For more details, check the State Tax Department website.
In addition, you'll probably need to register to pay state unemployment insurance (UI) taxes. These taxes are handled through WorkForce West Virginia (WorkForceWV). You can register for these taxes online or by using Form UC-201-B (Employer's Initial Statement). Then, each quarter, use Forms WVUC-A-154 and WVUC-A-154 to report on wages and pay the UI taxes. For more information, check the WorkForceWV website.
If your LLC will sell goods to customers in West Virginia, you will need to collect and pay sales tax. This means you'll have to register for this purpose with State Tax Department and then make periodic sales tax payments for goods sold. Use Form WV/CST-200CU to file sales tax returns. For more information, check the Tax Department website.
If you will be doing business in states other than West Virginia, you may need to register your LLC in some or all of those states. Whether you're required to register will depend on the specific states involved: each state has its own rules for what constitutes doing business and whether registration is necessary. Often activities such as having a physical presence (a business location) in a state, hiring employees in a state, or soliciting business in a state (such as by telephone, print ads, mail, or the Internet) will be considered doing business for registration purposes. Registration usually involves obtaining a certificate of authority or similar document.
For more information on the requirements for forming and operating an LLC in West Virginia, see Nolo's article, 50-State Guide to Forming an LLC, and other articles on LLCs in the LLC section of the Nolo website.