Newspaper Industry News

WVPA Reminder: Deadline for newspapers to file WVSOS affidavit of circulation is Nov. 1; Statement of ownership should already be filed with postal service

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By Friday, West Virginia newspapers should have their Affidavit of Circulation form filed with the WV Secretary of State office for the coming fiscal year.

The WV Secretary of State’s Affidavit of Circulation is attached. It is due Nov. 1. 2021. Note: The WVSOS form – Newspaper Affidavit – does update each year. The WV Secretary of State’s Office has already updated the Newspaper Affidavit of Circulation. We thank SOS Mac Warner and Communications Director Mike Queen. The form is attached.

The form is also updated online. Here is the link:

Please Note: Newspapers seeking status as a qualified newspaper for West Virginia Legals should only apply in the one county in which its office is located and designed by its postal permit.  There can be penalties for incorrectly listing “qualified newspaper” status.

Their Statement of Ownership form with the US Post Office should already be filed. The US Postal Service’s Statement of Ownership form is attached. It is due Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Note: The US Postal form – ps3526 – does not always update each year. The last update of which WVPA is aware was 2014. The form is attached below.

Here is an online link:

When completing the forms for the government agencies, also please send a copy of these forms to the WVPA office: West Virginia Press Association, 3422 Pennsylvania Ave., Charleston, WV 25302

The WVPA has also attached a sample letter of “Notification of Legal Rates” that state code says you should provide to the following:  “…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 any time to ensure the newspaper is within state guidelines. There are serious penalties for over-charging.

West Virginia Press can help you determine your rate and set your “per inch cost,” which is an aid for billing legals. Contact Don Smith at [email protected] or 304-550-0454. 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: 

Please be sure your newspaper’s legal charges are based on those rates and that the circulation level is correct.

Key Dates:

Oct. 1 — Your newspaper’s annual Statement of Ownership form is due at the Post Office before Oct. 1 of each year.

Nov. 1 — 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 2021-22 is attached, along with a link to the WVSOS page on qualified newspapers.

Here is a Sample Letter of Legal Rate Notification for fiscal year 2021-22:

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