How to find a registered agent in West Virginia
West Virginia registered agent requirements
Registered agents in the State of West Virginia must meet certain requirements.
Being your own registered agent
If you plan to be a registered agent yourself, you must be at least 18. You must also be a West Virginia state resident and have an address located in the state. This address must be a physical street address. It cannot be a P.O. box address.
All registered agents in West Virginia, regardless of whether they are an individual or a business, must accept the responsibility of being reliably available at their physical address throughout the week. They must be at this address during normal business hours, which are generally regarded to be as follows: Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Hiring a registered agent service
If you hire a registered agent service to be your appointed registered agent in West Virginia, they need to be legally registered in the state, and they need (like any individual registered agent) to have a physical address in the state as well.
Recommended registered agent services
Why you need a registered agent
According to state law in West Virginia, every business needs to appoint a registered agent. If you’ve never heard of a registered agent before, you’re not alone. Many new business owners find out about this important position when they are first incorporating their new LLC (limited liability company) or corporation.
So, what is a registered agent?
A registered agent is a business entity or a person that is appointed to receive and handle necessary tax, government, and other important correspondence related to your company. Their main role is to make sure that any time-sensitive correspondence from the state, courts, etc. reaches you quickly and efficiently. The state wants to know that you’ll be notified if you are being sued, subpoenaed, or otherwise contacted in an official manner.
When you need a registered agent
Selecting your registered agent will happen during the incorporation or business formation process. Once you have decided what type of business you’d like to form in West Virginia, you need to fill out a set of documents called your Articles of Organization (sometimes known as Articles of Incorporation).
Your Articles of Organization are a critical part of the formation process in West Virginia. This document will include the new name you’ve chosen for your business, who your Board of Directors will be, what your corporate bylaws will be, and, of course, who your registered agent will be. It will also have information about stocks to be issued and who your LLC or corporation will be managed by.
It’s important to include the full name and address of your registered agent in your Articles of Organization. Once you’ve completed this document, you will submit it to the Secretary of State of West Virginia. Then, if you have done everything correctly and included the required filing fees, the formation of your business will be complete.
Why use a registered agent service
Here are the top reasons to consider hiring a registered agent service:
You can keep your home address private. You won’t have to list your personal address and keep it on public record as your company’s registered agent address.
Hiring a registered agent service will free up your time. As a business owner, you’ll be free to move about as you wish instead of having to be in one place all the time in case service of process arrives.
You can expand your services and products to other states by keeping the same registered agent service company and having them incorporate your business in other states. This will help you keep everything in one place and ensure you stay organized.
A registered agent will also help you stay compliant and in good standing with the government.
Registered agent companies offer quick updates about incoming service of process and other legal documents. Many companies provide same-day mail forwarding and online accounts where you can immediately access your documents.
West Virginia registered agent costs
It costs money every year to hire a registered agent company. Of course, some business owners choose to be their own registered agents. This position can be filled by an individual such as yourself or even a husband, wife, close friend, or employee of your business.
Just keep in mind that when an individual takes on the position of registered agent, they must be present at their physical registered agent address during normal business hours throughout the week (generally regarded as 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday). This is a large responsibility and one that most individuals won’t want to take without payment.
For this reason, it may be a good idea to simply go with a registered agent company. Most registered agent services charge an annual fee of somewhere between $50 and $300. For more advanced services such as notifications about upcoming Annual Report due dates, tax deadlines, and more, you can opt to pay for a higher tier of service.
If you are a new business owner and just starting out with your company, however, you may decide to get the most basic package. This usually includes an online account, and, sometimes, a certain number of same-day notifications about incoming legal documents.
How to change your West Virginia registered agent
Changing your registered agent in West Virginia is a relatively straightforward process. You will need to go to the West Virginia Secretary of State, Business Division to obtain an Application to Appoint or Change Process, Officers and/or Addresses.
This form must be filled out in its entirety and include the name and complete address of whoever your new registered agent will be.
Some registered agent companies will complete this change of agent filing for their clients. This can save you some money (as there is a processing fee associated with changing a registered agent in West Virginia), and it can also save you time and some hassle.
If your new registered agent will not perform this filing for you, however, or, if you prefer to perform the filing on your own, here’s how to change your registered agent in West Virginia:
Tell your old registered agent you are hiring a new individual or company. Ask them to provide you with any documents related to your business they may still have in their possession.
Get an Application to Appoint or Change Process, Officers and/or Addresses from the West Virginia Secretary of State, Business Division.
Complete the application. Provide the new name and address of your registered agent.
Pay the filing fee. This can be done by money order, check, or credit card.
Submit the application to the West Virginia Secretary of State, Business Division, by mail, in person, or by fax.
List of forms
Take a look at the forms and government pages linked below to help you as you register your business in West Virginia and choose a registered agent.
Where can I find a registered agent in West Virginia?
There are numerous registered agent companies in West Virginia to choose from. Many companies offer different levels of service as well, so if you’re only interested in basic registered agent services, you can choose a basic plan.
As your business grows, you can expand these services to correspond with your business needs. Of course, individuals can also be registered agents.
How much does it cost to change your registered agent in West Virginia?
The Secretary of State of West Virginia currently charges a filing fee of $15 if you would like to change who your registered agent is. If you don’t want to pay this fee and you plan on moving to a registered agent company, you can request that your new company pay the filing fee and perform the filing on your behalf.
Why do I need a West Virginia registered agent?
The state deems it important that if your business needs to be served legal documents, these will reach you in a timely manner. Without a registered agent address on file for your business, it can be difficult to contact you about important matters like lawsuit notifications. You don’t want a default judgment to be made if someone is suing you.
Can I be the registered agent for my West Virginia business?
Yes, individuals can be registered agents for their own businesses. You may choose to be your own registered agent as a business owner, or you can select your spouse or another individual to take on this position. Keep in mind that registered agents in West Virginia must be at least 18 years old, residents of the state, and in possession of a physical address in the state.
How will my registered agent get served?
If you are served legal paperwork notifying you that you are being sued, service of process is the action that proves you were served. The service of process documents goes directly to your registered agent. When your registered agent is served on your behalf, it is usually a law enforcement officer who will deliver the documents they’ll need to sign.