The deadline for businesses in West Virginia, both for-profit and non-profit, to file their annual report is only a few weeks away, yet West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner said many of the state’s roughly 148,000 businesses have yet to do so.
To help reach the businesses who have yet to file their annual report, which is due at the end of June, Warner is visiting several local chambers of commerce in the state to help spread the word and ensure no one gets stuck with a late fee.
On Tuesday, Warner visited the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce where he demonstrated how businesses can easily file using their online business portal.
According to information on the state’s website, rather than filing a registration renewal, businesses registered through Secretary of State are required to file an annual report between January 1 and July 1 each calendar year after the initial business registration to maintain compliance with Warner’s office.
The report provides administrative office information updates including officers/directors, addresses, business contact information and other miscellaneous business information and is available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website. The report does not include financial information reporting.
Businesses can file their annual report at business4.wv.gov.
Michelle Rotellini, the president/CEO at the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, said she appreciated Warner’s visit and the effort he is making to get the word out to local businesses.
“As a chamber, we wanted to get the word out to all of our businesses to be sure and go online,” Rotellini said. “It’s a very simple task. You just log in and pull up your business and you’re able to file within just a few minutes and save yourself a lot of time and penalties.”
Businesses pay a $25 fee when filing their annual report. Late filers are charged an additional $50 fee, Warner said.
Rotellini said they were informed by Warner that Raleigh County has more than 3,000 businesses and a larger number of those had not yet filed their annual report for 2022.
Warner said he decided to make personal visits to local chambers of commerce after noticing that fewer businesses than usual had filed their annual reports with his office.
He added that he’s not sure as to the cause, but its possible that many new businesses were unaware of this requirement.
“During COVID, we actually registered more businesses, new businesses, than we had in the previous month and so that kind of took us by surprise,” he said. “Those new businesses may not be aware . . . but I really don’t know why the numbers might be down.”
Warner said there are a number of reasons why it’s important for his office to make sure business file their annual report on a yearly basis.
He said it not only helps businesses prove their legitimacy when requesting loans or grants but it can also be used as a resource for the general public should they need to contact representatives from a business for any reason.
Warner said he also spoke with local chambers about the importance of their One Stop Business Portal which has many more uses for businesses than just filing their annual report.
Warner said the site, business4.wv.gov, also has resources for businesses just starting out or looking to expand.
“(The business portal) is interactive. It’s very user friendly and a lot of the questions that one might have about a business registration, deadlines and so forth, it’s all found on that one website,” he said.
Businesses with additional questions can contact the Business & Licensing Division at 304-558-8000.