How to Find the Best Registered Agent (Agent of Process) in West Virginia
What is an agent of process?
In other states, an agent of process is referred to as a registered agent or statutory agent. The West Virginia Secretary of State defines a registered agent as a person or business entity that accepts service of process and official correspondence on behalf of a business organization.
West Virginia Secretary of State requires you to appoint a registered agent so that they know someone is available during regular business hours to accept legal notices and important documents from the state, including:
- Articles of Organization – limited liability company (LLC) formation documents
- Articles of Incorporation – documents that a corporation files upon formation
- Annual report fee – due by July 1
- Certificate of Existence– proof of good standing in West Virginia
- West Virginia business franchise tax – expected by the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the taxable year
A registered agent is a West Virginia street address
An agent of process, or registered agent, has to have a physical presence in West Virginia to accept official documents from the West Virginia Secretary of State and other official correspondence.
The physical street address that a registered agent provides allows you to list them in the West Virginia public record rather than a personal address.
A registered agent is the point of contact between you and the state
The West Virginia Secretary of State requires a business to appoint a registered agent as a point of contact to ensure that someone is available to accept time-sensitive legal documents such as subpoenas.
In West Virginia, a person or business has 14 days to respond to a legal summons.
The registered agent you appoint will notify you when served with a subpoena so that you can promptly respond to avoid a default judgment.
A professional registered agent service is a state fee reminder
The annual report fee is due before or by July each year.
If a business misses the due date, it can result in losing good standing in West Virginia and any asset protection.
A commercial registered agent keeps a compliance calendar that tracks all state fees and reports due so that you can submit the documents on time.
Cost of a registered agent in West Virginia
The Secretary of State requires all registered agents to be at least 18 years old and have a street address in West Virginia.
For no charge to your business, you can appoint anyone you want as long as they meet the registered agent requirements.
- LLC member
Appointing an outside commercial registered agent service will cost a company between $50 and $500 annually.
When to appoint a registered agent
West Virginia states that all businesses formed must appoint a registered agent on the formation documents regardless of business structure.
A West Virginia LLC will provide registered agent information when they file the Articles of Organization.
Corporations use the Articles of Incorporation to list the registered agent’s name and address.
How does a West Virginia LLC appoint a registered agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will complete the West Virginia Articles of Organization form and submit it by mail or in-person to the Secretary of State.
One-Stop Business Center
1615 Washington St. E.
Charleston, WV 25311
North Central West Virginia Business Center
200 West Main St.
Clarksburg, WV 26301
Eastern Panhandle Business Center
229 E. Martin Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
If you prefer to file online, you will use the West Virginia One-Stop business portal.
Appoint your registered agent
The West Virginia Articles of Organization form will ask for specific information.
- registered agent name
- registered agent address
Pay your West Virginia filing fees
The cost to file the Articles of Organization in West Virginia is $100.
The Secretary of State does offer some expedited business filing services.
- 24-hour – $25
- 2-hour -$250
- 1 hour – $500
The cost to file your LLC Articles of Organization in West Virignia is $100.
How to change your registered agent in West Virginia
The West Virginia Secretary of State requires you to send an official notification if you change registered agents or if there is a registered office address change.
Submit the application to appoint or change process officers online
You will use the West Virginia One-Stop Business Portal to switch registered agents online with the Secretary of State.
Submit the application to appoint or change process officers by mail or in person
You will complete the application to appoint or change process officers or addresses by mail or in person.
The cost to switch registered agents in West Virginia is $15.
Submit the change of agent or address on the West Virginia annual report
If the change in agents comes near the annual fee filing date, you can update registered agent information using the yearly report.
How to resign as a registered agent in West Virginia
You will complete the statement of resignation of registered agent form and submit it to the West Virginia Secretary of State in person or by mail.
After the Secretary of State receives the notice, West Virginia will send a copy to the company you’re resigning from.
The resignation form will as you to provide information including:
- business name
- registered agent name
- statement of resignation
The cost to resign as a registered agent in West Virginia is $15.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in West Virginia
You shield your West Virginia liability protection
To maintain liability protection in West Virginia, you must remain in good standing.
You can become noncompliant if you submit your annual fee late or fail to respond to a subpoena.
By appointing a registered commercial agent, you’re accessing an up-to-date calendar that keeps tabs on due dates and helps you file the annual report fee on time.
You’re safeguarding your personal address
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners in West Virginia work from a private office or home address.
By appointing themselves the registered agent, the personal address becomes the business address listed in the public record.
The public can use the West Virginia Business Entity Search and search using some of the following information:
- business name
- registered agent
- business type
The appointment of an outside professional agent means you can list the service’s address in the West Virginia Secretary of State business database rather than a personal one.
You will maintain your good reputation
Process servers in West Virginia can come to your business unannounced to serve legal documents and summons.
A registered agent will accept documents that should remain private away from your business, providing peace of mind.
You’re free to work flexible office hours
Chapter 31 of the West Virginia Statutes mandates that West Virginia registered agents must be physically available in an office during normal business hours to accept official correspondence from law firms and state agencies.
If you appoint yourself, you’re responsible for the required availability.
Commercial registered agent services have resident agents on staff and in the office Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, so you can have a flexible schedule.
Constant access to the West Virginia Certificate of Existence
A bank will ask you to provide proof of your business’s good standing with the West Virginia Secretary of State to open a business bank account.
In West Virginia, the Certificate of Existence proves you’re compliant.
A registered agent service in West Virginia will provide 24-hour access to the Certificate of Existence and other formation documents to make doing business seamless.
You can begin foreign LLC formation today
A West Virginia business expanding into other states will be required to appoint a registered agent upon business formation.
Having a registered agent appointed already lets you begin the foreign LLC formation immediately and efficiently.
Does a registered agent have to live in the state of West Virginia?
According to the West Virginia Secretary of State, a registered agent must be a resident of the date, have a street address, and be at least 18.
Can I use a virtual address for my LLC in West Virginia?
You can use a virtual address for mail-forwarding and other business mail. However, the West Virginia Secretary of State requires you to list a street address as the business address on the registration.
Is a registered agent a member of a West Virginia LLC?
A registered agent doesn’t become a member of an LLC when you appoint them. But, an LLC member can become the registered agent for a limited liability company in West Virginia.
Can I use my registered agent’s information for the IRS?
You must provide the Internal Revenue Service with the physical address of your principal office when you file for the federal employee identification number. You cannot use the registered agent’s information for federal tax notices.
Do I have to pay a West Virginia registered agent to be my agent?
A business doesn’t have to pay the registered agent as long as they consent to the appointment. A commercial registered agent service will cost between $50 and $500.
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