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How to Get a West Virginia Business License

4-minute read

Woman with short blonde hair wearing goggles and woodworking.
Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose

29 October 2020

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As a business owner in West Virginia, we know you don’t need another thing to add to your mile-long to-do list. You’re likely busy marketing your business, improving your product or services, managing employees, and so much more depending on the type of business you’re in.

The thing is, each business or individual entity in West Virginia is typically required to have a West Virginia business license from the State Tax Department. This process can be challenging if you aren’t sure where to start.

In this guide, you’ll find what you need to know about how to get a business license in West Virginia, as our team has done the research for you. That way, you know precisely what to do to get the license you need for your unique business.

Ready to get started?

Do I Need a West Virginia Business License?

According to the West Virginia State Tax Department, “Before engaging in business activity in West Virginia, every individual or business entity must obtain a West Virginia business registration certificate from the State Tax Department.”

In other words, if you’re engaged in business activity — or revenue-generating activity, whether directly or indirectly — you’re likely required by law to have a West Virginia business license.

So why does West Virginia require businesses to have licenses?

There are several reasons why state and local governments mandate business licenses, including keeping your business accountable for your actions in the event of a lawsuit, protecting the public, and tracking your finances for tax purposes.

But legalities aside, having a West Virginia business license is a critical part of growing your business. A business license is an essential document that not only keeps you legal, but it helps ensure that you set yourself up for long-term success.

It can help you reach important milestones like:

  • Opening another location
  • Building confidence and trust with your customers
  • Marketing your business to your target customers
  • Hiring employees
  • And more!

Although it may seem like a tedious task — and another thing to add to your to-do list — it’s a critical part of ensuring that your business is compliant today and in the future. You work hard to make your business the best it can be, and it’s important to protect that hard work.

That said, let’s take a look at how to go about getting a business license in West Virginia.

How to Get a Business License in West Virginia

1. Have your business documents on hand before you apply.

Before applying, make sure you have your business information and relevant documents ready. That way, when you apply for your West Virginia business license, you’ll have your ducks in a row and won’t need to dig around for your information.

What information are we referring to? Details like your business entity information, your business’s address and phone number, your business plan, your Certificate of Insurance (COI), and more.

2. Apply for a business license with the State Tax Department.

There are two ways to apply for a West Virginia business license:

Keep in mind that the state of West Virginia typically requires you to apply for a separate business license for each business located within the state. Therefore, you’ll need to send in a separate application for each business or location.

We know — applying for just one business license seems like a lot. But, you’ll already have your business details on hand, so it shouldn’t be too complicated.

If you ever need to make changes to your business — like updating the members of your firm, limited liability company, or corporation — you are not required to request a new business license certificate.

However, your business license is not transferable. So, if you ever decide to move your business to a different state, you'll need to surrender your business license to the West Virginia State Tax Commissioner.

3. Familiarize yourself with the additional licenses or permits you may need.

In addition to your West Virginia business license, you may need other permits or licenses to be fully compliant, depending on the nature of your business.

For example, if you run a contracting business, you’ll most likely need to obtain a contractor license. We’ve put a detailed guide together for information on how to get a West Virginia contractors license, which you can refer to during the application process.

For instance, if your business is in the upholstery industry, you’ll need to check out the Bedding and Upholstery regulations on the West Virginia Division of Labor website.

For more information on additional licenses and permits, visit the West Virginia Division of Labor One Stop Business Portal.

How Much Does a West Virginia Business License Cost?

As a business owner, you’re aware of how much money your business spends to sustain daily operations and grow each year. Your West Virginia business license is one such expense that you don’t want to forget.

The nature of your business will determine the cost of your business license. If your business falls into one of the categories listed on the West Virginia Division of Labor’s payment portal, you can pay online. This makes it easy to pay your fees, as it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

WV State Business License + Insurance Info

In the spirit of business compliance, if you don’t already have business insurance, it’s smart to look into getting a policy that will protect you and your hard work. Plus, depending on your business, it may be required by the state of West Virginia.

Workers' Compensation Insurance.

If you have employees who work for your business, you’re required to have a workers compensation policy. Workers compensation insurance keeps you, your business, and your team protected when there are costly accidents, lawsuits, and more.

For example, if an employee has an accident on your property and sues you for their medical expenses, your workers compensation policy will likely be able to cover the costs.

To learn more about workers compensation and file your coverage, visit the Employee Coverage Unit website.

General Liability Insurance.

In addition to workers compensation, you want to ensure that other facets of your business are protected as well.

General liability insurance can protect you and your business from paying out-of-pocket for lawsuits, property damage, medical expenses, and more. You never know what life will throw at you, which is why it’s best to be prepared for anything with general liability insurance.

Other types of business insurance.

Depending on your business, there may be other types of insurance you’ll want to have as part of your overall insurance plan. If you’re a private investigator, for example, you’ll likely need to carry additional insurance coverage.

Check out the West Virginia One Stop Business Portal for more information.

If you’re interested in learning more about what your business insurance policy options could look like, try out our free quote comparison tool.

Applying for an WV Business License?

You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.

That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $19.58/month.*

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Getting a West Virginia Business License Shows You Mean Business

A business license ensures you run a compliant business built for future success. It also ensures your customers that you’re trustworthy.

It may feel like another thing to add to your to-do list, but this essential business component can protect you and your business from unforeseen circumstances.

You know all too well that running a business can be a rollercoaster ride, so it’s best to be prepared for whatever comes your way!

Kat Ambrose

Written by

Kat Ambrose

I’m a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for eCommerce and SaaS companies and small businesses. When I'm not writing, I’m probably out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog.

Kat writes on a number of topics such as small business administration and business license requirements.

This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer

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