Why Start an OH Corporation?
The Ohio Department of Development offers a wide range of business grants, loans and tax credits, providing businesses in Ohio with a competitive edge. Your corporation may be able to take advantage of these incentives, provided it meets qualifying criteria.
For example, the Collateral Enhancement Program (CEP) is designed to enable financing that might otherwise be unavailable because of a collateral shortfall. The program supplies pledged cash collateral deposit accounts to lending institutions to enhance collateral coverage of individual small business loans.
For most entrepreneurs looking to establish a larger business, an OH incorporation may be the best choice. As a corporation, your business is able to buy and trade stock, and when it comes to excess profits, corporations offer more flexibility than a limited liability company (LLC). A corporation is allowed to pass income and losses to its shareholders, who report taxes on an individual tax return at ordinary levels.
Is an LLC Better Than a Corporation?
It all depends on what you want for your business. For smaller businesses, limited liability companies are usually a better option. An LLC is easier to set up and receives many of the same benefits as corporations, but with less regulation.
Learn more about forming an Ohio LLC so you can decide which business entity is right for you.
Benefits of Forming an Ohio C Corporation
Benefits of Forming an Ohio S Corporation
It offers several advantages similar to those provided by a C Corp including, but not limited to:
- Options for creating, transferring and selling stock, though not as many as a C Corp
- The capacity for up to 100 shareholders
- Simpler rules than those applicable to C Corporations
- Easy transfer of ownership simply by selling your stock
- The possibility of saving money by allowing you to pay less self-employment tax
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your corporation, getting a Statutory Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register your corporation and how you'll interact with the Secretary of State in Ohio.
How to Form an OH Corporation Yourself in 6 Steps
Choose a Unique Business Name and Complete a State Business Search
Every Ohio business must have a distinct name that hasn't already been claimed by another business in the state. If you’re having trouble thinking of a name, try using our Business Name Generator to gather ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Ohio Corporation Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Ohio. To see whether another company in the state is using your desired business name, use our tool to do an Ohio entity search.
You can also use the Secretary of State's entity search resource on their website to search for availability.
Provide an Official Address for Your Corporation
All Ohio corporations must have a designated address. It could be your residence address (if you’re running the company from your home), a building where your office is located or any physical address of your choice. The address can be outside the state of Ohio and can be a P.O. Box.
You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with a Ohio virtual mailbox where we'll receive any documents, scan it and upload it online for your review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Statutory Agent
Someone who receives official correspondence and is responsible for filing documents with the Ohio Secretary of State is known as a Statutory Agent. Every Ohio corporation is required to have a Statutory Agent.
You can fill this position yourself, assign another manager in your business or use a Statutory Agent service. If your Statutory Agent in Ohio is a person, they must have a physical street address in Ohio and must be available during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your corporation. You'll appoint your Statutory Agent when you file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and formally create your business.
All of Incfile’s business formation packages include Statutory Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year after that. You can also access a digital dashboard to view any document we've received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the pertinent information for your corporation, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. This will officially create your business.
File by Mail
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216
*requires an additional $100
File in Person
Walk-in Client Service Center
22 North Fourth Street
Enter from Fourth Street ONLYColumbus, Ohio 43215
You only need to file your Articles of Incorporation in Ohio once and you're done. Unlike most states, Ohio does not require an annual or other periodic report to be submitted. However, they do require (as stated in the General Corporation Law § 1701.38 that an internal annual report be shared amongst the shareholders at the annual meeting.
What are the fees and requirements to incorporate in Ohio?
Ohio corporations are currently not required to file annual reports.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You'll need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number for filing and paying taxes, submitting payroll information and payments for your employees and opening a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the OH corporation creation process.
Bylaws (or regulations) are a set of rules that govern how a corporation will be run, and detail how many directors the corporation will have, whether the board of directors will have annual meetings and what the voting requirements will be, among other things.
While other states legally require companies to create bylaws, the Ohio General Corporation Law speaks of 'regulations'. You aren't required to file your regulations with the Secretary of State, but you should keep them with your other business records.
It's always a good idea to write and follow bylaws to protect your business from any future changes and events.
Types of OH Corporations
Check with the Secretary of State to confirm whether your business should and can be a Professional Corporation.