West Virginia Sales Tax Guide
🌄🚞 West Virginia, the Mountain State, is the final state in our series on sales tax, which is somewhat ironic given that West Virginia was the first state ever to issue a sales tax! Mostly covered with forests, the state also features the highest average altitude east of the Mississippi. The birthplace of stars like actor Don Knotts, Olympian Mary Lou Retton and test flight legend Chuck Yeager, West Virginia also has the oldest median age of any US state. If you’re one of the lucky small business owners who calls West Virginia home, you’re going to want to be sure your business stays in line with West Virginia's sales tax laws. Fret not! That’s why we have assembled this all-in-one guide; so that you can more easily meet the sales tax compliance requirements for a small business in West Virginia.
After reading this guide, you will have learned:
- How to be prepared for your call with the West Virginia State Tax Department.
- How to contact the West Virginia State Tax Department.
- When to charge sales tax in West Virginia.
- What goods, products, and services are taxable in West Virginia.
- When you establish a sales tax nexus with the state of West Virginia, and the nuances of various thresholds.
- How to register for a sales tax license in West Virginia.
- How to collect sales tax in West Virginia.
- How to file and pay sales tax in West Virginia.
If, after reading, you still have any questions to help you determine your tax sales obligations in West Virginia and how to fulfill them, we are here for your small business bookkeeping needs!
West Virginia Sales Tax Contacts
✅ Do you need to get in touch with the West Virginia State Tax Department?
✅ Are you uncertain about whether to visit, call them, or contact them through their website?
✅ Do you wonder what information you should have ready before you contact them?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please read onward, as we have just the information you need! :)
The West Virginia State Tax Department is reachable by phone at 304-558-3333.
You can also visit one of their six taxpayer service locations or email them a question. If you are hoping for the fastest response, we always suggest that you call rather than visit in person or sending an email.
When you do call the West Virginia State Tax Department, you will want to have some information on hand. It will save time to have the following information easily accessible before you call:
- Taxpayer Name
- Sales & Use Tax ID Number
If you plan on having a third party contact them on your behalf, you’ll want to be sure to have completed a power of attorney form (2428, PDF). If you don’t have a completed form they won’t be able to assist someone else on your behalf.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us so we can assist you with your sales tax needs.
West Virginia Sales Tax Registration
Are you a new business selling tangible property in West Virginia? If yes, you are going to want to register your business with the West Virginia State Tax Department so that you can pay your sales tax on time.
You need not fret as this is a relatively simple process and one for which you’re about to be fully prepared. We are going to outline the steps below so you are totally ready to register for your sales tax license.
Here we go! Remember...
Preparation is key.
Let’s get started!
How do I register to collect sales tax in West Virginia?
You can apply or register for a West Virginia sales tax permit by visiting the Business4WV site and following the instructions provided.
West Virginia prefers online registration but offers an old school paper based form (PDF) (instruction booklet, PDF) you can print and mail in. We suggest that new businesses who are able to do so register online, as the mail-in version can take six weeks to process.
What information do I need to register for a West Virginia sales tax permit?
Before you sign up for West Virginia sales tax permit you’ll want the following information on hand:
- Business name
- Business entity type
- Description of business activities
- Date business activities began or will begin
- Business address and mailing address
- Business contact information
- Associated business entities
- NAICS code that best matches the business
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
- List of business officers, partners, managing members, and/or trustees
Don’t forget! Preparation is key. When you have all this information ready, you can go online and register for your permit at the Business4WV site.
How much does it cost to register for a West Virginia sales tax permit?
West Virginia charges $30 to register a new business sales tax permit, but nothing to renew an existing one.
Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number or EIN to register for a West Virginia sales tax permit?
Quite right! For anything but a sole proprietorship, you will most assuredly need one. If you don’t already have one and need to get a new EIN, it’s a painless process. You can register for a Federal EIN right here :).
Which agencies in West Virginia do I need to additionally register with?
You may need to check with some of the following agencies or resources:
- West Virginia Small Business Research Guidance
- West Virginia Department of Labor
- West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
You’ll want to give this some thought and do a little research or investigating; since every business is unique, and there are such different rules, regulations, and laws that may apply.
We suggest contacting the West Virginia State Tax Department to verify which additional government agencies you may be required to register with.
You are now prepared to register for your West Virginia sales tax permit in West Virginia.
Let’s summarize what we have covered:
- Have all the required information easily accessible before registering online.
- Acquire a tax ID or EIN before registering for a West Virginia sales tax permit.
- Register online at the Business4WV site.
- Look into what other agencies you may have to additionally register with.
Registering for your West Virginia sales tax permit will be stress free as long as you are prepared. We recommend organizing all the essential information in a folder, preferably using a system like Box.com.
West Virginia Sales Tax FAQ
By now, you may have already contacted the West Virginia State Tax Department and applied for a West Virginia sales tax permit.
Once you have a license to collect and remit sales taxes in West Virginia, you will probably be asking yourself two questions:
- When do I charge a sales tax in West Virginia?
- What goods and services are subject to sales taxes in West Virginia?
We are going to go over some common questions that our clients have asked. We believe these questions will help you appreciate the nuances of taxable goods so you can be confident in fulfilling your tax obligations.
Let’s start with the first question…
What goods and services are considered taxable in West Virginia?
The following items are all taxable in the state of West Virginia:
- Sales of tangible goods at retail.
- Repairs or alterations of tangible personal property.
- Property rentals, leases, or licenses [e.g. commercial, mini-warehouse]
- Selling service warranty contracts.
- Short-term rentals for living accommodations (e.g. motel/hotel, beach houses, condos, timeshares, vacation homes, or RV homes).
- Rental/lease of personal goods (e.g.: machinery, vehicles, equipment, or other property).
- Charges for admission to any place of amusement, sport, or recreation.
- Manufacturing or producing goods for retail sales.
- Operating vending machines or amusement rides.
- Most services are taxed, though data processing is exempted (PDF)
The bottom line is …
Your business must pay taxes on sales of any non-exempt goods, and some taxable services.
Let’s now review some of our clients’ frequently asked questions:
- Is West Virginia an Origin or Destination sales tax State?
- What creates a sales tax nexus in West Virginia?
- What is the economic threshold in West Virginia?
- Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in West Virginia?
- Does West Virginia have a Click-Through Nexus?
To best understand your tax obligations, new businesses need to consider how they are doing business and the type of relationships they have with buyers and any third parties to their transactions.
Let’s discuss some questions that will help you understand the nature of your small business and the subsequent tax implications.
Is West Virginia an origin or destination-based sales tax state?
West Virginia is a Destination-based sales tax state. This simply means you’ll want to have your Point-of-Sales system configured to track sales tax based on your buyer’s location vs. that of your business.
Protip: Charge sales tax based on your buyer’s location rather than your location
What creates a tax nexus with the state of West Virginia?
Having nexus, also known as "sufficient business presence,” with West Virginia means your business has established a taxing connection with a state. When this happens, you are required to collect and remit sales tax in West Virginia because you created a sales tax Nexus.
Even if your business maintains its main headquarters in another state, you may still have to charge and pay sales tax to the West Virginia State Tax Department even if you never step foot in West Virginia.
So, how do you create a sales tax nexus in West Virginia?
A business establishes a nexus in West Virginia by:
- having a business location in West Virginia;
- having property stored in West Virginia;
- employing any person in West Virginia;
- contracting with a salesperson or other agent in West Virginia;
- leasing equipment used in West Virginia;
- performing services in West Virginia;
- licensing the use of intangible property in West Virginia, or transporting property in West Virginia using the taxpayer’s vehicles.
Let’s talk a bit more specifically about where your goods are stored, such as in the instance of an Amazon warehouse.
Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in West Virginia?
None at this time, no.
This is relevant for our customers that sell on Amazon or through Amazon’s FBA program.
In such cases we can help guide a small business through this regulatory maze! We use tools like A2X and Wherestock to identify where our clients' inventory is currently being held and shipped from so that we can keep them in compliance.
Does West Virginia have economic nexus?
Yes! As of January 1st, 2019, remote sellers are liable to pay sales tax beyond a certain threshold. This means that even businesses without a physical presence or other traditional nexus can be required to register for, collect, and pay sales taxes.
The threshold for registering is having a cumulative gross revenue of over $100,000 or 200 transactions in a year to West Virginia purchasers.
For more information see the West Virginia DOR remote sellers page here.
Does West Virginia have click-through nexus?
No, not at this time. This means if you earn revenue by referring sales you do not have to worry about an extra tax hit [for now].
Is West Virginia a streamlined sales tax state?
Yep! Since October, 2005 West Virginia has been a full member of Streamlined Sales Tax.
If you are planning on taking advantage of the Streamlined Sales Tax as a business, it is recommended that you use a Certified Service Provider though businesses may opt to register themselves without a CSP. Ultimately the aim of streamlined sales tax is to simplify payment to multiple different states of sales and use tax. It isn’t required that you utilize them, but it can significantly reduce complexity to do so, especially if your business sells in multiple states.
More effectively manage your tax needs by keeping this guide handy.
You and your business can be better equipped to avoid situations like paying fines, paying back taxes that you did know you had to pay in the first place, or facing an audit by the tax authorities in West Virginia.
Collecting Sales Tax in West Virginia
By now you know if you are a business that has established a nexus with West Virginia. So you have an understanding about whether, or when, you are required to collect sales tax. Knowing this is just half the battle! Now, we are going to help you with the next half of the battle: how to navigate the process of collecting taxes.
Let’s review some common questions our clients have asked regarding their West Virginia Sales Tax obligations.
- How do I collect West Virginia Sales Tax?
- Who is eligible for West Virginia Sales Tax exemptions?
- What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in West Virginia?
- What happens if I lose a West Virginia nontaxable transaction certificate?
After reading this, you will be better equipped to determine when --and when not-- to collect sales tax in West Virginia.
How do I collect West Virginia sales tax?
Because West Virginia is an Destination-based sales tax state, your business should charge sales tax at the time of the transaction based on the business location rather than that of the buyer.
What are the current West Virginia sales tax rates?
West Virginia’s state-wide sales tax rate is 6% at the time of this article’s writing, but local taxes bring the effective rate to 7% depending on municipality. We advise you to check out the West Virginia State Tax Department Tax Rate page which has the current rate and links to lookup specific municipal rates. Any changes will be reflected on that page.
It always helps to be accurate and up to date with this type of information! :)
What is exempt from West Virginia sales yax?
Here is a sample list of exemptions:
- Non-prepared food
- purchases for resale
- Industrial Machinery
- Medical supplies
And that’s it! Most items of tangible property are taxable in West Virginia. They go into detail about it in this West Virginia sales tax exemption PDF.
Who are eligible for West Virginia sales tax exemptions?
At this point, you should know what products are exempt from sales tax in West Virginia. You also want to know who may be exempt.
Under West Virginia law, the type of buyer or the way the goods will be used can qualify can buyer for a sales tax exemption. A good example of this is a merchant purchasing goods for resale, aka a wholesaler.
Other common examples of an exempt buyer may include:
- Government agencies
- Non-profit organizations
- Religious groups
- Out-of-state buyers (should their business not have nexus in their home state).
Note that a non-profit status doesn’t instantly confer tax exemption.
What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in West Virginia?
Purchasers who are tax exempt must have completed exemption certificate (PDF) and must present their completed exemption certificate at the time of purchase. It is then incumbent upon the seller to hold on to this exemption certificate. Failure to do so may leave you unable to justify tax exempt sales.
Remember, you always want to collect and file a copy of the exemption certificate. Such certificates must be produced upon request to justify tax-exempt sales in the event of an audit.
What happens if I lose a West Virginia Sales Tax exemption certificate?
Obviously this issue is best to be avoided! Imagine finding out you’ll be audited and discovering you cannot produce an exemption certificate for a buyer... That nightmare scenario would mean you could be held liable to pay all taxes on behalf of the buyer. This is a bad scene and can be avoided by taking proper care of your paperwork... Which happens to be one of our areas of expertise! :)
Does West Virginia have a sales tax holiday?
Nope! No break from sales tax in West Virginia at this time. Boo!
We have now covered who you need to collect sales taxes from, how to determine whether goods for sale are deemed taxable, what goods and services fall under tax exemptions, who is eligible for tax exemption certificates, and, finally, the process of collecting sales tax in West Virginia state.
Now that we’re this far down the rabbit hole there’s only one thing we need to learn about next… how to pay the piper!
Filing and Paying Sales Tax in West Virginia
It is time to talk about filing and paying your sales taxes in West Virginia. In this section, We are going to cover the following frequently asked questions from our clients:
- When is West Virginia Sales Tax due?
- What are the West Virginia Sales Tax thresholds?
- What if a West Virginia Sales Tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?
- How do I file a West Virginia Sales Tax Return?
- How do I correct a West Virginia Sales Tax return?
- What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?
- What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?
- Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in West Virginia?
- If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?
- Does the West Virginia State Tax Department offer a discount for filing on time?
By the time you finish reading this, you will feel confident enough to file and pay your West Virginia Sales Tax.
When is West Virginia sales tax due?
West Virginia sales tax payments are due based on the filing interval and type. Filing intervals are based on the company’s tax liability [detailed ahead, be patient! :p] and the type refers to paper vs. online.
The state of West Virginia requires payment by no later than the 20th day of the month following the reporting period for paper and electronic filing.
What are the West Virginia sales tax filing interval thresholds?
The thresholds for filing intervals are based on the expected or actual tax liability owed:
Average Tax Liability Owed Monthly*
From $250.01 and up
*anticipated if new business, actual if existing company
Not sure how to determine your tax filing frequency?
You can review your eCommerce or Point-of-Sale Software to see the volume of sales you have generated.
Don't worry though! The state will let you know when your due dates change. :)
Keep an eye out for notices in your mail from the State of West Virginia so that you don't miss any shift in deadlines.
What if a West Virginia sales tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?
The deadline is moved to the next business day, typically the Monday following the weekend or the day after the holiday. Where possible, we always suggest filing well before the holiday, of course ;).
How do I file a West Virginia sales tax return?
Paper: Fill out form CST-200 and mail to the address on the form.
Electronic: File online via West Virginia MyTaxes site and submit payment via EFT.
How do I correct a West Virginia sales tax return?
Paper: Fill same form as above but check “Filing an Amended Return” option on the first page, mail to address on the form.
Electronic: Amend the return within the West Virginia MyTaxes site.
What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?
If you were required to collect sales taxes and failed to do so for whatever reason, that’s a major no-no! Ultimately the business would be held liable for the due tax. Always be sure to collect sales tax at the point of sale. Attempting to collect after the fact will be time consuming and most likely unsuccessful.
Protip: You are still responsible for remitting sales taxes even if you failed to collect them.
What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?
West Virginia's Department of Taxation charges penalties for late filing and late payment:
Late filing or payment results separately in a penalty of anywhere from 5-25% of tax due, depending on how late it is.
Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in West Virginia?
Yep! West Virginia requires businesses file a “Zero-Tax” return even when they have no sales during a taxing period.
If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?
Yes, West Virginia requires businesses to file a “Final sales tax” return when closing their doors.
Does the West Virginia State Tax Department offer a discount for filing on time?
Nope, no discount for filing or paying sales tax early! Avoiding a negative penalty is a kind of reward, if you look at it right? :)
Now that we have covered all our bases for filing and paying sales taxes in the state of West Virginia, you should feel more at ease about the process.
Some things to remember:
- Due dates are important. If anything, file and pay your taxes early.
- There are three payment plans for filing and paying your sales taxes depending on how much you collect in sales tax on average in a month.
- You can file and pay your taxes electronically or by mail
- If you need to amend a return, you may do so electronically or by paper.
- If you don’t collect sales tax and you were supposed to, you (not the buyer) is liable to pay the sales tax to the state of West Virginia.
- You will have to pay late fees if you fail to file your tax return on time and/or if you fail to make your tax payment on time.
- Even if you collect no sales tax, you still need to file a return.
- You need to file a “Final sales tax report” when you close your business.
Now, you are ready to file and pay your sales tax in West Virginia. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.
Please note: This blog is for informational purposes only and the information is accurate as of 11/26/2019. If you want legal advice on sales tax law for your business, please contact a Sales Tax professional. Keep in mind that sales tax regulations and laws are subject to change at any time. While we strive to keep our blog current, this blog possibly may be out of date by the time you review it.