How To Get A Business License In West Virginia Forbes Advisor

West Virginia is a small state that is home to more than 113,000 small businesses. Starting a business in the state requires following the rules and regulations for business licenses and permits. While every business is required to register with the State Tax Department, there may be other types of licenses or permits that you need to operate legally. Follow along to learn how to get a business license in West Virginia, including any permits your business might need.

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Does West Virginia Require a Business License?

Before you can start conducting business activities, you must register your business with the State Tax Department and receive a sales tax license called a business registration certificate. This is required for all companies engaged in business activity that is considered a revenue-generating activity. This includes the sale of tangible property or the rendering of services to others. Registration is needed for each business location.

In addition to the business registration certificate, you may need other licensing or permits. Certain professionals may be required to complete a class or training and pass an exam to get professional licenses to render certain services such as barbering, insurance or accounting. In addition to professional licensing, some industries such as tobacco or alcohol require special permits and licensing to market, distribute and sell products.

When Do You Need a Business License in West Virginia?

A business license is needed before you start conducting business activities. This means that you cannot open a business or start marketing it until you have the right license(s) in place.

When it comes to professional licenses, you want to contact the state board in charge of licensing and registration to ensure that you have completed all requirements before applying for the license.

Types of Business Licenses

Every West Virginia business will need a sales tax license, which is obtained by completing the business registration form with the State Tax Department. Other types of business licenses include:

  • Professional licenses: Various state agencies manage the licensing for specific professions. The Division of Labor manages contractor licenses while the Secretary of State coordinates with specific state licensing boards to offer licensing for various professions, including chiropractors, engineers and social workers.
  • Liquor license: The WV Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (WVABCA) requires licensing for handling, servicing and selling alcoholic beverages.
  • Tobacco permits: Businesses distributing and selling cigarettes and tobacco products will register for a permit when they file for their business registration certificate.
  • Food license: Food permits are issued by local health departments, so check with your local office.
  • Local business licenses: Counties and municipalities require certain business licenses and permits, so be sure to check with your local government.
  • Hazardous waste permits: The WV Department of Environmental Protection requires permits to ensure the proper treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste.
  • Federal licenses: Federal licensing is required for certain industries. Check with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for details.

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Steps to Getting Your West Virginia Business License

To complete the West Virginia business registration, you can visit the online portal and register there to complete the application, or you can complete the following:

  1. Download the West Virginia New Business Registration Application.
  2. Complete the form, including the business’s physical address, what the business activity is and the business structure.
  3. Sign and date the form.
  4. Mail the completed application to:

West Virginia State Tax Department
Tax Account Administration Division
Registration & Account Correction Unit
P.O. Box 2666
Charleston, WV 25330-2666

How Much Does a Business License Cost in West Virginia?

It costs $30 to obtain a business registration certificate. There may be other licensing and permit fees for other licenses you are required to obtain. For example, it may cost as much as $22,650 for a liquor license in the state. Professional licenses vary by profession. A contractor license is only $90, while one for a chiropractor is $261. Check with the appropriate agency to determine the cost of your business license.

Bottom Line

In West Virginia, every business must register with the State Tax Department. If you offer specialized professional services or work in certain industries, you may be required to get additional licenses as well. Failure to comply with licensing requirements could result in penalties, and even the closure of your business, so find out what you need before you open your business. Learn more about how to start a business.

Find Legal Answers For Your Small Business

Nolo offers hundreds of consumer-friendly do-it-yourself legal products written in plain English.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is exempt from sales tax in West Virginia?

Certain services are exempt from sales tax in West Virginia. These services include advertising, college board sales, contracting, day care services, drugs and durable medical goods, summer camps and employee services. Personal services such as barbering or hairstyling are also exempt, as are professional services such as accounting. Check with the West Virginia State Tax Department for all exemptions.

Is an LLC considered a business license?

An LLC is a type of business entity that is formed by submitting documentation to the state. It is not the same thing as a business license. All LLCs in West Virginia must obtain a business registration certificate from the State Tax Department.

How do I renew my West Virginia business license?

Business registration certificates do not need to be renewed. Professional and industry-specific licenses are renewed through the state agency or board that issued them.

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