Charleston, W.Va. – The number of business owners filing their annual reports online hit an all-time high in 2013, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant announced Monday.
The total number of online annual reports this year – 60,295 – is more than four times the amount filed online when Secretary Tennant took office in 2009. More than 72 percent of all annual reports filed in 2013 were filed online.
“This shows that entrepreneurs in West Virginia will take advantage of an easy to use and convenient tool to file some important paperwork and keep their business open,” Secretary Tennant said. “As someone who at one time owned a small business, I can tell you that online filing means more than being able to file an annual report when it is most convenient. It’s about government and entrepreneurs working well together to keep the doors of small businesses open. Our state is built on the solid foundation provided by our small businesses – and online filing means it is that much easier to stay in business.”
The popularity of online filing has increased every year since 2009. That year, 14,399 annual reports were filed online; 23,939 in 2010; 28,640 in 2011; and 46,775 in 2012.
Annual reports are required filings of each corporation and limited liability company in West Virginia. These documents contain information such as a company’s officers, service of process address, and the address at which they are conducting business. Annual reports do not contain any of a company’s financial information.
The number of annual reports filed manually in the Secretary of State’s Office has fallen dramatically – from 40,390 in 2009 to just 22,919 in 2013. Prior to online filing, each annual report had to be entered into a database by a Business and Licensing Specialist in the Secretary of State’s Office. That process took months – but now because of efficient programs like online filings business owners do not have to wait to receive confirmation that their annual report has been accepted.
“Online filing speeds up the whole process of taking care of business in West Virginia,” Secretary Tennant said. “We are helping to facilitate commerce by helping business owners focus on their product and not paperwork. I anticipate next year to have the same kind of positive growth in online filing, and in the end it’s the business owners of West Virginia who win.”