Charleston, W.Va. – A record-breaking number of entrepreneurs across West Virginia have taken advantage of business friendly initiatives offered by the Secretary of State’s office.
There were 56,443 annual reports filed online this year during the January to June filing period, compared to 43,381 last year.
The number of annual reports filed online has increased every year since 2009, when Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant took office. That year, there were 14,300 annual reports filed online. In 2010, there were 23,939 and in 2011 there were 28,640.
The online filing website, www.business4wv.com, also provides a tutorial video that takes a business owner step by step through the online filing process.
Annual reports contain information such as a business’s managers and officers, service of process address, and business address. There is no financial information contained in an annual report. These documents also allow a business owner to provide an email address that can be used to notify them if an unknown person has modified their annual report without their knowledge, which could suggest business identity theft.
The staff of the Business and Licensing Division entered 16,256 annual reports by hand. There are 16,301 organizations that have not filed annual reports and that now face a late filing fee and possible dissolution later this year.
“There are tens of thousands of business owners in West Virginia who are taking advantage of these online services that save them time and money, while offering a more efficient government,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said. “They were able to file this important document with our office when it was most convenient for them – whether it was late at night or on a weekend. They didn’t have to fill it out by hand, go to the post office, and wait for it to arrive here in Charleston to be entered by hand. The best way for this office to facilitate commerce in West Virginia is to make it as easy as possible on the business owner to actually run their business, and that is what online filing does.”
"These numbers are very exciting to our Business and Licensing staff,” said Penney Barker, Director of the B&L Division. “We have worked very hard to reach out to the business community and inform them of the advantages of filing online. With more people filing online it frees up the staff to work on other business friendly initiatives, as well as assist business customers in other ways making State of West Virginia an even better place to do business.”
In addition to online filing, the Secretary of State’s Office offers an online chat feature, where a business owner can be connected to a Business and Licensing Specialist.