Maria Young Published

Deadline Looms For Thousands Of W.Va. Businesses To File Annual Reports

A person's hands are seen typing on a laptop computer.
Most business owners in West Virginia file their annual reports online, which should take about five minutes.
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Whether you want to do business with them – or file a lawsuit – anyone trying to reach a West Virginia business, charity or nonprofit can typically go to the Secretary of State’s website.

They’re all required, under state code, to file updated and accurate reports each year. 

“This is for our citizens, they want to find an address or find out who an officer is of a particular business or corporation,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner. 

“But it’s also for out-of-state. Say somebody, there may be a lawsuit and you want to file service or process on a business. This is the one place you can go” to get that information, Warner added.

But the deadline to file those reports is 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, and so far, just over 60 percent of the businesses in West Virginia have checked that box and paid the $25 fee.

With nearly 150,000 businesses across the state, that leaves nearly 60,000 that still need to file online. 

“If you want to do it by paper, you can fill out the paperwork and send it in. But it’s kind of like an absentee ballot – has to be postmarked by June 30,” said Warner. 

Those who miss the deadline will be fined a $50 late fee.

Warner said they’ll also be listed as not-in-compliance – which could affect their business activities.

“Let’s say you’re in a business deal, say closing on some real estate or getting a bank loan. And they want to know that you are in compliance. …They will check that website. And if it shows non-compliance, then the red flags go up. ‘Why aren’t they in compliance?’” said Warner. 

He added that some third parties will send out an official-looking letter offering to handle the paperwork for a fee of $125. 

Warner said it’s not exactly a scam but it’s taking advantage of people who can just as easily file the same information themselves.