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Doing Business in West Virginia

All construction contractors doing business in West Virginia must obtain a license from the West Virginia Contractors Licensing Board. Application for a license must be filed and a license issued prior to bidding work.


To become licensed in West Virginia, contact:

West Virginia Contractors Licensing Board

State Capitol Complex

Building 3, Room 200

Charleston, West Virginia 25305

(304) 558-7890

FAX (304) 558-3797


To obtain a license, a contractor must receive a passing score of 70% or more on the examination and have filed with the West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue for a tax identification number. The West Virginia Contractor Licensing Test Agent is Prov, Inc. For additional information on taking the test, visit or call 866-720-PROV (7768) or 801-733-4455 ext.4.


The West Virginia Contractor Licensing test agent is Prov, Inc. For additional information on taking the test, visit or call 866-720-PROV (7768) or (386) 518-6889.


The West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue is available at or (304) 558-3333. Contractors must also file with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s ( Business Registration System


There are nine categories of contractors in West Virginia:

General Building

General Engineering


Heating, Ventilating and Cooling







West Virginia Secretary of State’s One Stop Business Center


The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office has simplified business registration by creating the West Virginia One Stop Business Center. The interactive Business Startup Wizard provides information and guidance to assist with planning and business registration process, including links to the State Tax Department, Contractors Licensing and other state agencies. To access the Business Startup Wizard tool, visit





ADMISSION OF FOREIGN CORPORATIONS: Filing fee of $10 for certificate of authority, plus $5 for certificate for Brickstreet, plus pro rata share of annual license tax, of $250, and attorney fee of $10. Pro-rated fees effective October 1 through June 30 (Secretary of State).


SECRETARY OF STATE’S ANNUAL REPORT FEE:  While corporations are no longer taxed for a corporate license, the Secretary of State’s Office requires a $25 annual fee for the office’s annual report. This fee was formerly called the Attorney-In-Fact Fee.


SALES AND USE TAX: Contractors making capital improvements are required to pay sales tax on purchases of machinery, equipment, tools and materials for use in their contracting activity. Persons making repairs or alterations not considered capital improvements are providing a taxable service. Taxable service providers may claim an exemption for items which are to be resold and physically transferred to the customer in conjunction with providing the taxable service. This exemption is claimed by using a tax exemption certificate rather than a direct pay permit.


Contractors performing capital improvements for the State of West Virginia or its political subdivisions must pay tax on materials which will be installed in, affixed to or incorporated into the building (State Tax Department).


A contractor performing construction contracting for the following qualified businesses may assert the exemption for qualified purchases of services, machinery, supplies and materials for use or consumption in the performance of the construction contracting service:


(1) Business of manufacturing,

(2) Business of transportation,

(3) Business of transmission of liquid, natural gas or electricity by pipes or wires,

(4) Business of communication,

(5) Business of production of natural resources,

(6) Business of gas storage,

(7) Business of generation or production or selling electric power,

(8) Business of provision of a public utility service,

(9) Business of operation of a utility service or the operation of a utility business, or

(10) Nonprofit youth organization that has established an area of 6,000 contiguous acres within West Virginia.


With relation to purchases of tangible personal property, the exemption applies to purchases of tangible personal property that remains on the construction site after the construction activity is completed. It does not apply to purchases of tools, bulldozers, cranes, etc. that become the property of the construction contractor and removed from the site after construction is completed. However, rentals of cranes, bull dozers, and other equipment specifically for use on the specifically identified job by the contractor, or the hiring of a subcontractor to provide bulldozer services, crane services, etc., with an operator of the machine qualify for the exemption. Purchases by a subcontractor who is working for a prime contractor, where the prime contractor is entitled to the exemption, are also exempt in the same manner and with the same restrictions as are applicable to the prime contractor.


This exemption may be claimed by one of two methods:


(1) The contractor may pay the appropriate amount of Sales Tax and claim a refund from the Tax Department; or

(2) If the Principal has a direct pay permit, the contractor may use the Special Contractors Exempt Purchases Certificate issued by the Tax Department – form WV/CST-286.


For further information see West Virginia Tax Department Administrative Notice 2011-24.


FUEL TAX: Gasoline and diesel fuel, 35.7 cents per gallon with a 20.5 cents per gallon partial exemption available for non-highway uses claimed in statutorily specified minimum quantities.


BUSINESS REGISTRATION TAX: New businesses registering in West Virginia have to pay $30 for their business registration certificate.  As of July 1, 2010, businesses no longer have to periodically renew their business registration certificate. If a business registers after July 1, 2008 the business registration certificate issued is permanent.


CORPORATION NET INCOME TAX: The corporate net income tax rate for 2012 is 7.5% of federal taxable income allocated and apportioned to West Virginia. Effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, the Corporate Net Income Tax rate will decrease to 7.0%. The rate is scheduled to phase down to 6.5% in 2014 if the State’s Rainy Day Funds equal or exceed 10% of the State’s General Revenue Fund as of June 30, 2013.  Currently, the State’s Rainy Day Funds are approximately 20% of the State’s General Revenue Fund.  


CONTRACT RELEASE: All persons employing nonresident contractors and subcontractors are required to withhold a sufficient amount from payment of the contract to provide for unpaid taxes. The Tax Department recommends that 2.5%, of the contract amount (but not exceeding six percent of the contract amount) be withheld plus a percentage equal to the rate of any municipal business and occupation tax applicable to the contract. Certificates of release to the effect that all state tax liabilities have been paid should be obtained from the Tax Department (Administrative Support Unit) to avoid personal liability.


WV State Tax Department

Taxpayer Assistance

Within WV 1-800-982-8297

Outside WV 304-558-3333



Businesses can file their taxes online at MyTaxes


MUNICIPAL TAX: Municipalities are empowered to levy municipal business and occupation taxes upon the business of contracting up to a maximum of $2 per $100. Also, many municipalities require building permit fees and licenses, and most cities have sewer and water fees, inspection fees, city licenses, etc. These generally are modest but vary in amounts. A number of cities have a city consumer sales tax ranging from one half percent to one percent.


It is recommended that contractors working in municipalities investigate these charges when bidding. The Secretary of State's Office maintains a list of all municipalities.