How to Start an LLC in Ohio

Here are the 6 steps to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Ohio

For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.

Find out how to form a Ohio LLC for yourself

Learn about Ohio LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

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Creating an LLC in Ohio

A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.

A Limited Liability Company LLC must be formed in Ohio by filing an Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State and paying the $99 filing fee.

However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your Ohio LLC.

Online filings: Online filing approvals for Ohio LLCs usually take 2-3 business days.

Mail filings: Mail-filing approvals for Ohio LLCs usually take 2-3 weeks. 

For mail and online filings, Ohio offers three expedited LLC options:

  • For an additional $100, you can have your order processed in two days.
  • For an additional $200, you can have your order processed the next day.
  • For an additional $300, same-day processing is available.

The LLC filing fee is not included in the expedited fees.

An LLC can be easily formed in Ohio. Our step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in Ohio will help you get started today. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.

How to start an llc in ohio

Step 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC Ohio

Creating an LLC in Ohio requires you to choose a business name before you can file an Articles of Organization . Be sure that your business name complies with the Ohio naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.

  • Ohio law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
  • It is not acceptable for your Ohio LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC Ohio appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
  • There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
  • Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)

See a complete list of Ohio naming rules here.

Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your Ohio LLC name.

Recommended: Consider setting up a business phone service after securing a domain name for your Ohio LLC to establish credibility and improve customer satisfaction.
 
Wise business plans offer a variety of features for businesses, including Toll-free numbers, Coverage in US and Canada, team messaging and more. Try our business phone services today.

No. An LLC is a legal entity, whereas a DBA is merely a business name. Sole proprietorships and DBAs are frequently confused, but they are not the same: because a sole proprietorship is a business entity, it can choose to become an LLC. To learn more about DBA, read our "What is a DBA" Guide.

By filing a Name Reservation (Form 534-B) with the Ohio Secretary of State, you can reserve a name for 180 days. The application can be submitted either online or via mail. The cost of filing is $39.

An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".

Step 2: Appoint Your Statutory Agent in Ohio

Your next step in forming an LLC in Ohio is to appoint a StatutoryAgent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.

All Ohio LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your Statutory agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.

Statutory Agent Requirements in Ohio

To comply with Ohio law, your LLC’s Statutory agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in Ohio. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person.

Further, in Ohio, your Statutory agent must agree to perform this role and sign a form confirming their consent. Consent statements should include the following:

  • Written confirmation that the person designated consents to serve as the LLC’s registered agent
  • The name of your Ohio LLC and the person designated as your registered agent
  • Statutory agent’s signature
  • Date of execution

Although you do not have to submit this form to the Secretary of State, your business must record it. Learn more about Ohio Registered Agents by reading our full guide.

A statutory agent must be an Ohio resident or a corporation authorised to do business in Ohio, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your company, including yourself.

By submitting a Statutory Agent Update form to the Ohio Secretary of State, you can change your registered agent, also known as a statutory agent.

Are You looking for a Registered Agent?

Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when forming an LLC in Ohio.

Step 3.Prepare and File Articles of Organization

To create a Ohio LLC, you will need to file Articles of Organization (Form 533A) with the Ohio Division of Corporations. You may apply online, by mail, or in person.

If you choose one of our business formation plans, we can handle this step for you.

The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:

  • Your LLC name and principal place of business.
  • Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
  • Decide whether your Ohio LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
  • The reason for forming the LLC in Ohio.
  • Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
  • The effective date of the certificate,
  • The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.

Foreign LLCs: LLCs that are based in another state but intend to conduct business in Ohio must complete a form called the Qualification of Foreign LLC.

A filing fee of $99 also applies to this form, and you need to attach your state’s certificate of good standing.

Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization

The 1st option is:

Online filing through the Ohio Secretary of State

The 2nd option is:

Filing the Articles of Organization by Mail

Address to Mail

There is a state filing fee of $99 payable to the Ohio Department of State. (nonrefundable)

Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

In a member-managed LLC, the members (owners) take on the business's daily responsibilities. Manager-managed LLCs are managed by managers who are elected by the members. Those who manage your LLC will have the authority to do a wide range of tasks-from hiring staff to opening bank accounts.

When an LLC conducts business in the state where it was formed, it is called a "domestic LLC". We normally refer to an LLC as a domestic LLC when we talk about it. When an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state, it must form a foreign LLC.

Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State

Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.

By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.

Step 5. Write an Ohio LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your Ohio LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.

Operating agreements are not required in Ohio, but they are an essential part of your business.

Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.

The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.

An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.

How should an operating agreement be drafted?

The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:

  • Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
  • Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
  • If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
  • The members and their contributions
  • How profits and losses will be divided
  • Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members

In Ohio, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization .

An operating agreement is not required in Ohio for an SMLLC. Even if there is only one member in an SMLLC, an operating agreement is highly recommended. The state does not require the filing of an SMLLC operating agreement. Typically, the operating agreement is made between the single member and the LLC.

Operating agreements are not required in Ohio, but they are highly recommended. An operating agreement will help you protect your limited liability status, avoid financial and managerial misunderstandings, and ensure that you choose the rules that govern your business rather than relying on state law.

Step 6. Get an EIN for Your Ohio LLC

Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in Ohio.

To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.

An EIN is used for the following purposes:

  • Manage state and federal taxes
  • Create a business bank account
  • Hire employees

Get an EIN Number in Ohio

Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in Ohio.

The 1st option is:

Apply online for an EIN from the IRS

The 2nd option is:

Get an EIN by Mail or Fax

Address to Mail

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

For LLCs that will have employees, an EIN is required. In addition, in order to open a business bank account, most banks require an EIN. Tax identification number issued by the state. A state tax identification number is not required in Ohio.

A tax classification will be discussed with you when you obtain an EIN. In most cases, LLCs choose the default status.
Some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by electing S corporation status. Consult with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.

Are you Looking for Ohio LLC Formation Service?

Get the easiest and fastest Ohio LLC formation online with Wise business Plans.

What to do After Forming Your Ohio LLC

Keep your personal and business assets separate

Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your Ohio LLC is sued if they are mixed with your business accounts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in Ohio:

1. Open a Bank Account

As soon as your LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between the LLC and you (the owner).

Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.

It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. Find out which banks offer the best business checking accounts, have low or no fees, ATM accessibility, and interest-earning accounts as well as online or mobile banking tools. 

Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.

2. Obtaining a business credit card:
  • Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
  • It prevents your business from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
  • Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
  • Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made

Getting Business Insurance for Your LLC

You can manage risks and grow your LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:

  • General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
  • Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.

Ready to Protect Your Business

Let us help you with your business insurance needs.

 

  • General business liability insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Term life insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Surety bonds
  • Commercial auto

Ohio LLC FAQs

The filing of the Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State costs $99. If you want to reserve your LLC name before filing the Articles of Organization, you'll have to pay $39 to file a name reservation application.

This state is a great place to start a business. Having an Ohio LLC has a lot of advantages. Tax advantages, such as the following, are among them: LLCs, unlike corporations, are only subject to one level of taxation.

Online filings: Online filing approvals for Ohio LLCs usually take 2-3 business days.

Mail filings: Mail-filing approvals for Ohio LLCs usually take 2-3 weeks. 

For mail and online filings, Ohio offers three expedited LLC options:

  • For an additional $100, you can have your order processed in two days.
  • For an additional $200, you can have your order processed the next day.
  • For an additional $300, same-day processing is available.

 

To dissolve your LLC in Ohio, you must send the Secretary of State a completed Certificate of Dissolution of Limited Liability Company / Cancellation of Foreign LLC form by mail, in person, or online. Original signatures are not required by the Ohio Secretary of State.

You can amend your LLC's name or period of existence by filing an amendment. If any other information in the original articles of organisation changes or becomes materially false or inaccurate, a certificate of amendment must be filed within 30 days.

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