Taxes are considered the most complicated aspect of running a business. Very often new entrepreneurs can be confused by their complexity. But before you have to deal with taxes, there are many steps you have to take in order to run a business. In case you are interested in running your own business, this guide will, in short, show you how to register your new business in the state of West Virginia, as well as how to obtain a sales tax permit.
To start, we have to look at the steps that precede the official filing of the documents. More enthusiastic people will really want to jump straight into it and carve their own path in the business world, learning along the way, from their mistakes, failures, and successes. Others will take a more calculated approach. Even before they consider starting a business they spend years learning and gathering experience through a number of positions they occupy in various companies they work for. This is not a bad idea, learning all the tricks of the trade on the go, from someone else’s mistakes, failures, and successes in order to collect all the positives in one bundle. It is then just a question of following best practices and building up your business.
Reading it like this, it sounds easy but, successful entrepreneurs don’t just gather information and put it to work. They plan, research, probe, risk and work hard. In order to create a successful business, you have to work hard. And the hard work starts with selecting the type of business and the market you’d like to operate in. Many success stories are written by people who did what they loved the most. This certainly has to be everyone’s goal, because, if something makes you happy and you love doing it, it means you will not mind putting in the hours of hard work for your business to succeed.
But sometimes the market is such that chances are few and far between and you have to start small, picking and choosing your battles and finding and exploiting niche markets. This would probably be one of the first steps of a business plan, which is an essential part of success as well as an essential component of your efforts to secure additional funding for your business. No banks or investors will consider lending you the money unless you have a sound business plan.
So, to find the right market, try making a list of products or services you like to work with or would like to provide. Once you have the list complete, start researching. Use every possible option, online, trade fairs, magazines, events to feel out the market and see whether any of the products and services from your list are in demand. If you come across a product or a number of them that you’d be comfortable working with and there is a demand for these products and services you are pretty much good to move on to the next phase.
However, there are situations when you will not be able to find demand for the products you would like to work with. This is the time to turn your focus in another direction and try to find an undersupplied market to work with. This is often a good approach since it allows you to gather business experience if you are just a beginner or establish a name for yourself if you are someone who has been gearing up towards the point when you leave your old job behind and go alone. The reputation you build up over time will help you make the transition into new markets and even into those that have initially made your preferred list. It will allow you to build up a customer base and a budget that can support any sizeable investments in the future when you decide to venture into new markets.
A strong business plan will not focus only on potential markets, target customers and products and services, it will also look into potential expenses. These might include renting or buying an office space, a storage space and equipment. Also, if you plan on running a business that includes buying customer returns wholesale to resell on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, you will have to find the best suppliers, arrange the shipping and sell the products. This is also a part of your business start-up procedure that needs research. There a plenty of sources, whether online or maybe near your place of residence, from manufacturers, retailers to wholesale suppliers or liquidators.
All these are viable options, and which one you choose depends only on your requirements and personal preference. But the focus is on working with reputable partners and establishing sound business partnerships that will benefit your business. Those that have spent years as employees will know already what suppliers their company used, what carrier companies were employed and what the rates were. If you don’t have that information, make sure you gather as much of it as possible, compare prices and services. Make sure you pick the options that suit you best.
With all that set in place, your business plan is taking shape and will serve as a guide in the process of establishing your business. It is helpful to know what steps you have completed and what awaits you.
A step that we have not mentioned yet is actually the legal part of establishing a business in the state of West Virginia. It is often something that an employee-now an aspiring business owner might not have had the chance to observe. This is the reason we have set up this guide, to explain the process in short and point you to the relevant authorities. Keeping your business within the legal framework is essential.
The process of registering a business in West Virginia is similar to any other state and it can be perceived as a checklist of sorts. There are several steps a new business owner has to take before opening the doors to the business.
The first of the steps is to choose the legal structure of your business. This may depend on the number of people that will either own or operate in the company, the size, and scale of the whole operation. The option you choose will impact the tax filings and requirements you will have to deal with further down the line. The West Virginia Secretary of State notes that there are several legal business structures to choose and as well as registering them with the Secretary of State, you have to apply for registration with the State Tax Department.
Business structures include sole proprietorship, the most common and most simple form of business that is perfect for small businesses owned and run by a single person. However, the owner is responsible for all the business risks as there is no distinction between the company profit and personal income, as well as loss.
There are also the general partnership and joint venture systems, which include two or more people joining forces to conduct business for long-term (general partnership) or one project (joint venture).
There is also a transient vendor, a type of business structure suitable for people engaging in sale or purchase of tangible personal property in the state of West Virginia that is imported into the state by the vendor who does not maintain a physical location or residence in the state.
What all these business structures have in common is the fact that neither have to be registered with the Secretary of State. However, all have to file a business registration with the State Tax Department.
Business structures that do need to be initially registered with the Secretary of State, as well as the West Virginia State Tax Department are a Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Voluntary Association, Business Trust, Unincorporated Non-Profit Association.
Registration of your business structure, as well as the whole process of registering a business, can be completed online at Business4WV.com, the state of West Virginia’s online portal to business services.
Next on your checklist is the registration of the business with the appropriate state, county or local agencies, making sure you acquire all the appropriate permits. The Business4WV.com one-stop solution enables entrepreneurs to complete any other administrative filings such as registering a trade name or withdrawing a trade name, filing any address changes or business termination terminations or cancellations.
All businesses in West Virginia are required to register with the State Tax Department and obtain a business license ID. To apply for the certificate businesses have to file the WV/BUS-APP Form with the West Virginia Office of Business Registration. Depending on the business structure, you might also have to register for a Federal Employer Identification Number with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The state of West Virginia requires any business engaging in sales, lease or rental of tangible personal property as well as certain services. However, this is only applicable to business that has a sales tax nexus in the state of West Virginia. According to the West Virginia legislature, if a business rents, owns or maintains an office or a physical facility in the state, either on a permanent basis or through a representative it has a sales tax nexus. Even online transactions can be subject to sales tax. To determine whether your business is subject to collecting sales tax you can visit Avalara, an approved partner.
If you determine that your business is taxable, you will have to apply for a sales tax permit. The WV/BUS-APP form is your way of applying for the sales tax permit. It can be sent via mail (mailing address provided in the contacts section at the end of this article) or it can be completed online through the Business4WV.com website. In general, you will be required to provide personal information as well as business identification and the NAICS code. If you plan on purchasing merchandise in bulk for resale online, your NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code is 454110.
With the sales tax registration, every business must pay a $30 fee. This fee is not charged to non-profit organizations, the State or its subdivisions selling tangible property, admissions or services, any state agencies, persons engaging in agriculture business, foreign retailers volunteering to collect and remit use tax on sales in the state, out-of-state companies without a West Virginia nexus that employ a local resident as well as a West Virginia private households employing domestic help.
The sales tax permit does not have to be renewed as it remains valid until the cessation of the business or until it is suspended, revoked or canceled by the Tax Commissioner.
It has to be noted that some businesses and organizations are exempt from sales tax while making purchases for exempt business activities. Some of these activities include advertising, contracting, day care centers, drugs, and durable medical goods, etc. For a detailed list of tax-exempt services visit here. Some exemptions can be claimed by presenting a Certificate of Exemption (Form F0003) to the seller of tangible personal property or taxable services according to the West Virginia State Tax Department.
When purchasing tangible personal property or taxable services for resale or use in performing taxable services, you can avoid paying sales tax by presenting the properly filled Certificate of Exemption.
The same way you may present an exemption certificate to a seller, you might be presented with one upon resale. In this situation, you have to verify the validity of the resale certificate. This, unfortunately, cannot be done online in West Virginia. Instead, you will have to call a Taxpayer Service Representative at 1-800-982-8297.
The Revenue Center
1001 Lee St. E.
Charleston, West Virginia
Phone: (304) 558‐3333
State Capitol Office
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0770
Phone: (304) 558-6000
Fax: 304) 558-0900
1615 East Washington Street
Charleston, West Virginia, 25311-2126
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