Charity Frequently Asked Questions

Registering as a Charitable Organization


Persons or organizations who intend to solicit the public for contributions for charitable purposes in West Virginia are required to register, unless the organization is exempt. In addition, any organization that authorizes another to solicit on its behalf in West Virginia is required to register, even if the members of the organization itself do not solicit.


The registration is valid for one year, and may be renewed for additional one-year periods.

  • $15 for single organizations collecting under $1 million

  • $50 for organizations collecting over $1 million

  • $50 for parent organizations with affiliates under same registration

See Forms and Fees.

*The above annual fees are in addition to the Secretary of State Annual Report filing fee required for corporations, cooperative associations, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership. See File Annual Reports for more information.


Exemptions from registration are set by WV Code §29-19-6.


When a charity has a main organization which has control over a number of affiliates, chapters or branches, the law allows the main or parent organization to register and make financial reports on behalf of all affiliates.


Send a letter to this office describing your organization, how money is raised, and how much revenue is expected during a year. The Secretary of State will notify you whether you are exempt or have to register based on the information provided. However, if your group decides to change its fundraising practices, you may be required to register later. 


The answer depends on how your group is organized.

  • If registering as a non-profit organization, you must also file with the Secretary of State’s Business Division. See Start a WV Business for registration information. You must also obtain a business license from the State Tax Department. Your organization will not be treated as a non-profit for tax purposes in West Virginia until you obtain a 501(c) tax-exempt status from the IRS.

  • If you are a small community organization that just wishes to keep a simple organizational structure, you may want to consider organizing an unincorporated non-profit association. The group is required to file an agent for service of process with the Secretary of State. It must also obtain a business license from the State Tax Department.


Yes. See the information below

  • If your charity:

    1. is a corporation, cooperative association, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, voluntary association or business trust, and

    2. will have any physical presence in the state, even for a short time, you must apply for a certificate of authority through Secretary of State.

    See Register an Out-of-State (Foreign) Business page for more information. Registration with the State Tax Department is also required.

  • If your charity is not one of the types of organizations named above but you will have a physical presence in the state, registration with the State Tax Department is still required.

Contact the Charities Division for further assistance regarding charitable organizations.

If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us:  304.558.8000   toll free 866.767.8683  email: