CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s time for West Virginia newspapers to file the Statement of Ownership form with the US Post Office and the Affidavit of Circulation form with the WV Secretary of State office.
The WVPA has been working with government agencies to get the forms updated. The correct forms for the 2019-20 year are linked and attached to this post.
Please note that newspapers seeking status as a qualified newspaper for West Virginia Legals should only apply in the county in which its office is located and designed by its postal permit. There can be penalties for incorrectly listing “qualified newspaper” status.
The WVPA has also attached a sample letter of “Notification of Legal Rates” that state code says you should provide to the following: “…the the clerk of the county commission and the board of education of the county in which the qualified newspaper is published. … If the qualified newspaper is published in a municipality, the publisher or proprietor shall at the same time also furnish the same notification to the clerk or recorder of the municipality.”
SPECIAL ALERT — Each newspaper needs to review its current circulation and legal charges. According to state codes, what a newspaper can charge for legals is based on its circulation. If the newspaper’s circulation has fallen or risen into another classification, the newspaper needs to adjust its rate.
Also note, that if the newspaper has adjusted its page size, column size or number of legal columns, it will need to adjust the rate. There is a set method of determining rate, if you need help, give Don Smith a call at 304-342-1011 or email to [email protected]. The WVPA can also review a newspaper’s rates at anytime to ensure the newspaper is within state guidelines. There are serious penalties for over-charging.
The rate/circulation classifications are based on this basic formula: The rates which a publisher or proprietor of a qualified newspaper in West Virginia may charge and receive for a single or first publication of any legal advertisement set solid depends on the bonafide circulation of the newspaper, as follows (These rates totals are adjusted and correct):
(1) 7 cents per word if the qualified newspaper has a bona fide circulation of less than 1,000, except as provided in subdivision (1), subsection (a) of this section;
(2) 11 and one-half cents per word if the qualified newspaper has a bona fide circulation of 1,000 to 5,000;
(3) 12 cents per word if the qualified newspaper has a bona fide circulation of more than 5,000 but less than 10,000;
(4) 13 cents per word if the qualified newspaper has a bona fide circulation of more than 10,000 and less than 30,000; or
(5) 14 cents per word if the qualified newspaper has a bona fide circulation of 30,000 or more: Provided, That on the first day of July in the year two thousand three and on the first day of July in the year two thousand four and on the first day of July in the year two thousand five the allowable rate per word in each of the classifications of qualified newspapers with reference to circulation as set forth in this subsection shall, for each classification, increase one cent per word over the prior year’s rate.
Please be sure your newspaper’s legal charges are based on those rates and that the circulation level is correct.
Your newspaper’s annual Statement of Ownership form is due at the Post Office before Oct. 1 of each year and your annual Affidavit of Circulation is due (along with a copy of your statement of ownership) at the WV Secretary of State’s office before Nov. 1 of each year. There can be a severe penalty – in terms of a reduced legal ad rate – for missing these deadlines.
The USPS Statement of Ownership form is attached below along with USPS instructions to file online. As noted, it must be filed by Oct. 1. Dailies must publish a completed copy of this form in their newspaper by Oct. 10, and non-dailies by Oct. 31.
The WVSOS Affidavit of Circulation form for fiscal year 2019-20 is attached, along with a link to the WVSOS page on qualified newspapers.
Here is the link to the form: https://sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Newspapers_Printers/Newspaper%20Affidavit.PDF
Here is a link to the page featuring the affidavit:
Here is a Sample Letter of Legal Rate Notification for fiscal year 2019-20:
Please send a copy of these forms to the WVPA office: West Virginia Press Association, 3422 Pennsylvania Ave., Charleston, W.Va. 25302