How to Start an LLC in Ohio: If you’re looking to start an LLC in Ohio for $0, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC for free in Ohio. However, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost $0.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Ohio LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Ohio
- After Starting Your Ohio LLC
- Ohio Foreign LLC
- Ohio LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Ohio
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $99. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Ohio. Below mentioned all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start an Ohio LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in Ohio to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Ohio LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in Ohio is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
LLC Naming Guidelines in Ohio
There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Ohio have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available, and no other existing business in Ohio can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Ohio State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|Ohio Business Entity Search – Online Name Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Ohio LLC Name Search – Instructions
|P.O. Box 670|
Columbus, OH 43216
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided, then you can reserve your LLC name without filing the LLC. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $39 to reserve your name with the Ohio Secretary of State. It is a standard fee. You can expedite the process by paying additional charges.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Ohio Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register a Trade Name in Ohio along with the filing fee of $39.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Statutory Agent in Ohio
The second step to forming an LLC in Ohio is to appoint a Statutory Agent. In most states, it is known as a registered agent. A Statutory Agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Ohio. Hence, hiring a competent Ohio Statutory Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Ohio or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Ohio. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Ohio registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Ohio can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent for service of process can be an independent person or a business entity. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Ohio and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Ohio.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in Ohio, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Registered Agent Consent Application
In Ohio, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $25 should be paid for it.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Ohio
The third and most important step in forming an LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Ohio Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Ohio Secretary of State. It costs $99 (by mail and online) to file your formation certificate in Ohio. (Read more on LLC cost in Ohio).
The Articles of Organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and the company’s structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Ohio LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Ohio, then you need to register as an Ohio Foreign LLC.
How to File Online
Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. If you are already a subscriber, then click on the “log in to Subscribe Account” option and log in with your credentials. If you’re not subscribed, then you can register and directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the Ohio Articles of Organization for online registration.
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,
Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 7 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Ohio. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. With an additional cost, you can get expedited filing as well. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Ohio. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Ohio.
Step 4: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement in Ohio
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is an internal document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to filing an Ohio LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve Ohio LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is surely ideal.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing an LLC EIN in Ohio
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Ohio LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Ohio foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Ohio. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your Ohio LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get a company business bank account
- File Ohio business permits & licenses
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees.
- File an Ohio LLC annual report or biennial report
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings, to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.
Cost of Starting an LLC in the State of Ohio
LLCs can be formed for $0. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Ohio must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Ohio,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee||$39|
|Certificate of Formation Fee||$99|
|LLC Annual Fee||$91|
In Ohio, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online or by mail. Your LLC name will be reserved without registering your LLC. It can be renewed by paying $39. It can be expedited by paying an additional fee.
In Ohio, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $91. Also, the State of Ohio requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 5.75% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in Ohio for more information.
Ohio Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in the state of Ohio, then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Ohio Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the Ohio SOS to form your foreign LLC in the state of Ohio. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Ohio Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in Ohio
The availability of a skilled workforce that is full of dedication and passion is one of the most significant advantages of incorporating an LLC in the state of Ohio. Apart from this, there are many other benefits, like business funding options and a reduction in tax liabilities one can consider when starting a business in Ohio. Read more on Ohio’s classification of LLC tax. The benefits are discussed in detail mentioned below.
Loan Programs in Ohio
Many loan programs in Ohio are provided to LLCs. The main reason behind offering these loans is to help the company grow and maintain a proper cash flow in the LLC so that the businessmen can focus on implementing their unique idea. Some of the assistance programs are discussed below –
- The first service is Business and Industry Guaranteed Loans, which USDA provides.
- Then there is a 166 Direct Loan, which is offered by the Development Services Agency.
- After that, there are loan schemes for a certified development company known as a 504 Loan program, and SBA handles it.
- After that, a loan is given to businesses that want to start an LLC in the state of Ohio but in rural areas. For them, there is Rural Business Development and Opportunity Grant, which USDA also controls. This loan is easy to get approved as the state is always looking forward to developing rural areas of the state.
- At last, there is a loan service provided by the Ohio Development Services Agency, which is for those LLCs who are working in a particular niche that works for the development of the community.
Ohio New Market Tax Credit
There are zones divided in the state of Ohio based on income zones. Those zones with less income are categorized as low-income community zones, and when an LLC decides to start their business in this area, they are given several tax benefits. These benefits will boost the company’s confidence to provide better services in the community and help them in their growth with personal business growth.
Ohio Enterprise Zone Program
The enterprise zones of Ohio state are decided by the municipal corporations, which are open for business establishments. When a business plans to incorporate into such a place, they start receiving these benefits as they save themselves from real estate and personal property taxes. There are two divisions in this zone, also named Full Authority zones and Limited Authority Zones, that differ in offerings and rebate percentages.
Large Scale Businesses in Ohio
Ohio is known for its favorable business climate and taxation policies. That is why many people are deciding to start an LLC in the state of Ohio. Here’s the list of the Top 4 businesses to look for.
Health care and Biosciences
There are around 1,000 biotechnology and medical research firms that are operating in Ohio that are generating employment for 100,000 people directly. Due to the investment that these firms have and their inventions, they are successful in generating a turnover of $140 billion, which is 15% of the state’s total GDP. Along with the biotech firm, 600 firms of medical device firms contribute hugely to the economy.
The USA’s best education system is available in Ohio, with around $37 billion to contribute to the GDP. Various state universities like Kent State University and Toledo State university give jobs to about 400,000 people in Ohio.
Iron and Steel
According to the statistics of the state, the iron produced here is around 14 million tons. There is a well-established electrometallurgy industry in Ohio that is giving jobs to more than 34,000 workers. The state is responsible for 15% of raw steel made every year and contributes to around $7.2 billion every year.
Motor vehicle Assembly
With the increase in the demand of the automobile sector, the manufacturers have chosen Ohio to manufacture their vehicles. The benefit here is that the tax rate is lower than in other states. The big companies that are present in the state are General Motors, Ford, and Honda.
The small businesses that are established in the state are:-
- Affiliate marketing
- Online courses
- Transcription businesses
Ohio LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Ohio. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Ohio LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In Ohio, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming a Limited Liability Company in Ohio. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Ohio but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
Things to Consider While Starting an LLC in the State of Ohio
In this article, almost all the essential steps of starting an LLC have been shared. However, there is some more to it. While you are forming your LLC, you must consider a handful of things. For example, business domain. When you name your LLC, you must check the business name database to know if the name is available. Once you get your desired name for your LLC, you can start your website. Your formation service providers offer a domain name search tool where you can search for a suitable domain name to start with.
After naming requirements, there are LLC registration requirements, regulatory requirements, business filing requirements, annual reporting requirements, and other requirements are needed to be done. The operating agreement is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended to have one. It records the contribution and form of business ownership of LLC members. Besides, in future, if the company dissolves, the dissolution process will be done according to the LLC’s management structure.
Apart from the federal income tax and personal taxes, not many business taxes are required to be paid. If you hire employees, you might have to file employment taxes as well. LLCs with employees need to obtain EIN. Single-member LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships. LLC is a simple business structure. You will get physical forms of formation and dissolution form from the SOS. However, it is recommended to hire a professional that has excellent customer service. Besides, services like government filings, handling government fees, understanding government regulations, and such.
Overall, if you are hiring a professional LLC formation service provider, then you will get all of these without hassle. From filing government documents on time to annual report filings, they will take care of everything.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Ohio
The business filing procedure for LLC in Ohio may take up to 7 business days. The procedure can be expedited after the payment of additional fees to the state.
If you are considering forming an LLC in Ohio, it is important to consider several factors. First, your LLC will need to comply with state law. You will also need a distinctive name that is not similar to an existing business in the state. A unique LLC name can help you stand out from the competition. Another benefit is tax flexibility.
An LLC is a pass-through entity, meaning that the profits of your business are passed on to your members. When your LLC is formed, you will need to designate a statutory agent. This is someone who will be responsible for sharing information about legal proceedings with you and your company. The person you choose should be a legal resident of the state. Fortunately, there are a number of online service providers that can help you with this. Some services offer a standalone registered agent service for a minimal fee.
Another way to expedite the process of forming an LLC in Ohio is to use an online filing service. Services such as MyCorporation, ZenBusiness, and Swyft Filings can make the process easy. Many customers praise the quick and simple way that these services can get them started. However, this process can also be confusing and tedious. Using a professional is always recommended.
While you can form an LLC in Ohio on your own, you should remember that the approval time for your application will depend on how much paperwork is involved. For example, if you file through the mail, your approval time will account for the time the documents are in the mail, as well as the time the state must process them. In addition, the transit time to and from the state can add to the overall time it takes to approve your application.
It is also important to note that you cannot apply for an LLC without an Employer Identification Number. An EIN is a nine-digit number that is used to establish a business bank account, hire employees, and pay taxes. These numbers are issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Obtaining one is as easy as going to the IRS website and applying.
In addition to an EIN, you will need to obtain a registered agent. The registered agent must be a legal resident of the state. Your Ohio registered agent should be able to provide a wide range of services, from filing articles of organization to protecting the corporate veil. They can be found through online search engines or corporate lawyers.
While it is possible to form an LLC in Ohio on your own, it is recommended to seek professional guidance. Especially if you are a novice entrepreneur. Aside from being complicated and messy, DIY filing can also delay the process. Having a professional on your side can ensure that the formation of your LLC is easy and fast.
If you are unsure about how to form an LLC in Ohio, you can contact the Ohio Secretary of State to learn more. The state maintains an Articles of Organization page on its website. There you can find instructions on how to fill out the articles and a PDF version of the document.
If you are a resident of Ohio, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $99 (domestic LLC) and $99 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Ohio include filing fees for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 5.75% every year.
It takes 7 business days to get an Ohio LLC if you file it online or via mail. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend ZenBusiness, which has an impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report to the Ohio Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Ohio Classification of LLC Tax.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups, can easily start an LLC in the state of Ohio at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.