The Employer’s 2024 Guide to Hiring New Employees in West Virginia

Barbara C. Neff

The priority when hiring new employees is often to get them onboarded and contributing as soon as possible. But new hires bring with them more than just their experience and skills—they also trigger a multitude of legal obligations under both federal and West Virginia laws. Following the steps laid out below can help you reach and maintain compliance.

1. Register with the tax authorities

If you haven’t already done so, you need to register as an employer with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state of West Virginia.

The first step is to obtain a federal employer identification number (FEIN). You can apply for that using IRS Form SS-4, “Application for Employer Identification Number.”

Once you have your federal employer identification number, you can register with the West Virginia Tax Division online. This method allows you to simultaneously register with the West Virginia Secretary of State, WorkForce West Virginia, and the State Information Data Exchange (SIDES). You register with WorkForce West Virginia and SIDES for unemployment insurance purposes (see step 6 below).

To register with only the Tax Division, use Form BUS-APP, “West Virginia New Business Registration Application.” You’ll mail that to:

West Virginia State Tax Department
Tax Account Administration Division
Registration and Account Correction Unit
P.O. Box 2666
Charleston, WV 25330-2666

For security and processing purposes, the West Virginia State Tax Division won’t accept forms or other documentation by email or fax.

The Tax Division will determine the tax types you must pay. For each tax you’re responsible for, you’ll be assigned an account ID number. You’ll also receive your West Virginia Business Registration Certificate and a list of West Virginia tax accounts and their identification numbers. Tax returns will be mailed prior to their due dates. After your business is registered, you may choose to file and pay taxes online at MyTaxes.

2. Check employee eligibility

Every new employee must complete the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification.” Under federal law, the employee is required to fill out Section 1 of the form by their first day of employment. Employers must complete Section 2 by the end of the third business day after the employee begins work, and keep it on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after the employment ends, whichever is later.

West Virginia’s verification rule is stricter, though. It requires employers to verify a prospective employee’s legal status or authorization to work prior to employing the individual.

Note that West Virginia requires you to keep the records for at least two years after an employee has “separated” from employment. You should establish procedures to ensure you comply with both the federal and the state record retention requirements regarding employee eligibility.

3. Submit a new hire report

Under the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), all employers must report certain information on their newly hired employees to a designated state agency. In West Virginia, that’s the Department of Health and Human Services. The information is used to track down individuals who are delinquent on their child support obligations.

You must report the following employees:

  • New employees: Employees who reside or work in West Virginia to whom you anticipate paying earnings—even if they work only one day and are terminated before you can report.
  • Re-hires or re-called employees: Re-hires, or employees who return to work after being laid off, furloughed, separated, granted a leave without pay, or terminated from employment, as well as any employee who remains on the payroll during a break in service or gap in pay and then returns to work. A re-hired employee includes anyone who you previously employed but who has been separated from that employment, including seasonal workers.
  • Independent contractors: Contractors who are paid $2,500 or more per year.

Reports must be submitted within 14 days of the hire or re-hire date. (Employers that submit reports magnetically or electronically must submit the reports in two monthly transmissions not more than 16 days apart.)

Reporting options include:

  • Electronic
  • New Hire Reporting Form
  • IRS Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Certificate”: The form must have your name, FEIN, and address written at the top of each form, along with the date of hire inserted in any available blank space on the W-4 form.

4. Prepare for your state withholding responsibilities

Every employer that pays wages or salary subject to the West Virginia personal income tax must deduct and withhold the tax and remit the tax withheld to the State Tax Department.

The amount of tax to be withheld is determined based on the employee’s Form IT-104, “Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate,” and West Virginia’s Employer’s Withholding Tax Tables. The withheld tax is due on or before the 15th day of the succeeding month.

Form IT-101Q, “West Virginia Employer’s Quarterly Return of Income Tax Withheld,” is due on or before the last day of the month following the end of every quarter, with the first quarterly return due Apr 30. You must also file Form IT-103, “West Virginia Withholding Year End Reconciliation,” on or before Jan 31.

Employers whose average monthly payment of withholding tax for the previous calendar year (or portion of a year if not in business for the entire year) is $100,000 must make an accelerated withholding payment. It’s due by June 23 and equals the tax attributed to the first 15 days of June. The amount of the accelerated payment can be the actual amount due or half of the May liability. The remainder of the June liability is due by July 15.

On the other hand, if you withhold less than $600 annually, you must file only Form IT-101A, “West Virginia Employer’s Annual Return of Income Tax Withheld,” and pay the withheld amount annually; you’re not required to file a quarterly return. The due date for the annual return is Jan 31 of the year after the year for which the withholdings are deducted and withheld. Annual filers don’t need to file a separate Form IT-103—the forms are combined.

Taxpayers remitting any single West Virginia business tax of $50,000 or more during the previous fiscal year must pay and file returns electronically for all business tax types unless expressly excluded. Any employer required to file a withholding return for 25 or more employees or that uses a payroll service must also submit all data electronically.

5. Understand your federal payroll tax obligations

West Virginia state income taxes aren’t the only amounts you’ll need to withhold from your employees’ pay—you generally must withhold federal income tax from an employee’s paycheck, too.

Collect IRS Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Certificate,” from each new hire on the day they start work. Like its West Virginia counterpart, the form is used to determine how much of their pay you should withhold for federal income taxes. Make sure your employees complete it properly.

You don’t have to worry about submitting Form W-4 to the IRS, but you must keep a copy on file for at least four years. It verifies that you’re withholding federal income tax according to the employee’s instructions and must be available for IRS inspection upon request. 

You must also withhold each employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). FICA is a federal tax that employers and employees split.

The 2024 tax rates for both employees and employers are 6.2% of the first $168,600 of an employee’s earnings for Social Security (for a total tax of 12.4%) and 1.45% of all wages for Medicare (a total of 2.9%). 

You may also be required to withhold the Additional Medicare Tax, which is 0.9% of an individual’s wages exceeding $200,000 in a calendar year.

You must deposit federal income tax withheld and both the employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes. You should determine which schedule you’re required to use—monthly or weekly—before the beginning of each calendar year.

You’ll also need to pay federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) if you:

  • Paid wages of $1,500 or more to employees in any calendar quarter during the current or previous tax year, or
  • Had one or more employees for at least some part of a day in any 20 or more different weeks in the previous year or 20 or more different weeks in the current tax year, counting all full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

The tax due is 6% of the first $7,000 of an employee’s wages during the year.

Deposits for the federal unemployment tax are required for the quarter within which the tax due exceeds $500. Deposits must be made by the end of the month following the end of the quarter.

You’ll want to stay on top of your reporting, as well as on your deposits, on all of these. You do that on IRS Form 940, “Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment Tax Return,” and IRS Form 941, “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return.”

Form 940 is due by Jan 31, but if you deposited all FUTA tax when due, you have until Feb 10 to file.

File your initial Form 941 for the quarter in which you first paid wages subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes or federal income tax withholding. The form is due by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter.

If you made timely deposits in full payment of your taxes for the quarter, you can file Form 941 by the 10th day of the second month that follows the end of the quarter. For example, you may file it by May 10 for the 1st quarter (as opposed to Apr 30 if you didn’t).

Going forward, you must file Form 941 every quarter (i.e., three months), regardless of whether you have any taxes to report—unless you’re a seasonal employer or are filing your final return.

You must also file IRS Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” to report each employee’s annual wages, deductions, and tax withholding to the IRS and furnish a copy to each employee by the last day of January each year. Form W-2 shows the amounts of income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes you withheld in the prior year. You’re also required to send copies to the Social Security Administration and the West Virginia Tax Division by that date. The form should be submitted to the Tax Division with Form IT-!03.

6. Determine your state unemployment insurance liability

Every business with employees or that’s a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership must register with WorkForce West Virginia.

If you didn’t register online with the Tax Division (see step 1 above), you must register separately with WorkForce West Virginia and SIDES. Start by completing Form UC 201-B, “Employer’s Initial Statement.” You can email it to [email protected], which is the preferred method. Alternatively, you can mail or fax it to the Status Determination Unit:

Status Determination Unit
P. O. Box 106
Charleston, WV 25321
Fax: (304) 558-1324

Once you’re registered, the agency will determine if your business meets the liability requirements for the unemployment compensation insurance tax. If so, you’ll receive your Employer Account Number.

Generally, your business will be found liable when you:

  • Employ one or more individuals for some part of a day in each of 20 different weeks in a calendar year (the weeks needn’t be consecutive), or
  • Pay total wages of $1,500 or more in a calendar quarter in the current or preceding calendar year.

Certain compensation is excluded from the calculation of wages, including wages paid for work performed by an employer’s parents, spouse, and children under age 18. If your business is a limited liability company that files as a sole proprietorship or partnership for federal tax purposes, you can exclude the members’ wages, too.

Most employers pay unemployment insurance taxes at a rate of 2.7% of wages, but the rate could be higher or lower based on your individual claims experience (what’s known as experience rating). Only the first $9,000 of an employee’s annual wages are taxed.

Experience rating is done after 36 months. The rate is based on several factors, including:

  • Average annual payroll,
  • Credits to your account, and
  • Charges against the account for benefits paid to former employees.

Rates are established every June 30, taking effect the following Jan 1.

Wage and Contribution Reports, as well as the contributions, are due quarterly by the following dates:

  • Jan 31
  • Apr 30
  • July 31
  • Oct 31

If you file a written request before the due date, you may qualify for an extension of up to 30 days.

You generally must file online. You’re required to file even for periods when you paid no wages.

7. Line up workers’ compensation insurance

You’re generally required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage if you have one or more employees in West Virginia. You must apply directly to a private carrier for this insurance coverage. More than 300 carriers offer coverage in the state. Some employers may qualify to self-insure.

8. Display the mandatory labor law posters

Employers must display a variety of federal and state employment-related posters in a conspicuous location in the workplace. The posters generally inform employees of their rights and their employers’ responsibilities.

Federally mandated posters may include:

The U.S. Department of Labor has an online “poster advisor” to help you determine which posters you need to post.

West Virginia also has several workplace posters you may need to hang, including:

9. Comply with the applicable laws

Employers are subject to a wide range of federal and state laws, including the following:

Failure to comply with any of these laws can lead to costly fines, penalties, lawsuits, and reputational damage.

Making the steps outlined above part of your routine hiring process will help you to stay on the right side of the law and avoid administrative headaches, or worse, down the road. Gusto’s payroll service can simplify matters by making it easier to pay employees and automatically file your payroll taxes.

Barbara C. Neff has been writing about a variety of legal and other topics since 2001. She has a law degree and a master's degree in journalism.
Back to top