West Virginia is a great state to set up your business. It’s one of the best business environments in the US. If you plan on setting up a business in the State of West Virginia, one of the foremost requirements of the state government is having a registered agent.
What is a Registered Agent?
A registered agent can be a business or an individual appointed to receive legal documents for your company. These legal documents include tax notices, subpoenas, lawsuits, and others.
All companies doing business in the state of West Virginia must have a registered agent to ensure tracking of all legal mail sent within the state. To become a registered agent in the state of West Virginia, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to receive mail during business hours at an office
- Be present to receive the legal mail intended for the business you represent
- Have a physical address within West Virginia. Note that making use of a P.O Box is not allowed.
Registered Agent in West Virginia, who can work as one?
A person must meet certain requirements before he/she can work as a registered agent in West Virginia. These requirements are made by the Secretary of the State of West Virginia.
- A registered agent can be an employee of the company or third parties such as lawyers and registered agent service companies that is a resident or an organization that is located in West Virginia and has a valid street address in West Virginia. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) cannot be their registered agents. However, if you are a resident and of legal age (more than 18) in West Virginia, you are allowed to register as your business’s registered agent in a case whereby you have a start-up business or you are a small business entrepreneur.
- If you are a business owner based outside West Virginia, you must first have the authorization to do business.
Changing your Registered Agent in West Virginia
If you have decided to shift to another agency or entity to represent your company in West Virginia, maybe because your previous registered agent moved out of the state, no longer wants the responsibility, or he left your company for another. Changing registered agents is easy, all you need to do is follow the following steps, as outlined by the Secretary of the State of West Virginia:
- Create an account on the West Virginia State One-Stop business portal. You can choose to complete the process non-electronically through the mail by filing Form AOO; you’ll focus on the number four section which is the Agent for Service of Process as the Form AOO has different sections for different business entity changes. You can also change your registered agent in the State of West Virginia by making changes to your annual reports which you submit every year. The annual report can be submitted online or on paper.
- The document you’ll fill online has step-by-step instructions on how to complete the form, you’ll need to include the names of the new and current registered agent and their addresses in the Form AOO, as well as the authorization signature of your new registered agent as his/her consent.
The form must be correctly filled, note that there’s a fee of 15 dollars that must be paid for the document to be processed. The payment can be made through a check (if you’re submitting through non-electronic means), or credit card (for which you’ll need to attach an e-payment authorization).
If you’re submitting by mail, the document and the check will be mailed to the address:
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington Street East
Charleston, WV 25311.
You can choose to submit through Fax to (304) 558-8381 alongside the e-payment Authorization.
You can also submit the documents alongside e-payment Authorization to the Email: CorpFilings@wvsos.gov (email@example.com, in case you’re making expedited filings)
You have to know that you cannot change your registered agent in the State of West Virginia by just making changes to your Articles of Organization.
In the state of West Virginia, it takes 5 to 10 working days to process your filing for a change of Registered Agent. You can also choose to use the expedited service to hasten the process. The expedited service costs 25 dollars for 24-hour, 250 dollars for 2-hour, and 500 dollars for 1-hour.
Should I Get a Professional Registered Agent Service Company?
Getting a professional registered agent company can reduce a lot of effort and time for any business owner. There are numerous benefits to it whether you are an established company or a small business owner. Some of these benefits are:
- Making use of their address instead of your home address, especially if you don’t have an office yet. This detail will be included in public records.
- Registered Agent processes paperwork for you
- Notify you immediately if you receive any new legal mail
- Notify you of mandatory filing of West Virginia annual reports
- Help you to avoid penalties for delayed filings
- Assist you with forms and instructions needed to set up your business
- If you operate a small business out of state, they fill in as your local contact in the state.
Several agencies offer registered agent services in West Virginia. However, you have to be careful in finding a trustworthy agent to handle your business.
Advantages of Using a West Virginia Business Address vs. Personal Address
- A business address minimizes exposure of your home address as public information
- Some city municipalities may not allow using home addresses as business offices
- Using your personal address can probably link you to business liabilities
- Using a business address can help you separate business and personal transactions
Having a registered agent is your gateway to setting up a business in the state of West Virginia. Doing it yourself is possible, but it can eat up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It is better to get a registered agent service and use the resources to build your business instead. Let them help you do business hassle-free in West Virginia.