Why Create an Ohio LLC?
In 2020, Ohio was ranked as one of the top 10 locations for business in the U.S., making it one of the best places in the country to start a small business. The state also offers a wide range of business incentives, such as job creation tax credits, as well as numerous loans and grants to assist businesses with operating expenses.
For many Ohio entrepreneurs, the fastest and easiest way to start a business is by creating an Ohio limited liability company (LLC). This type of business entity is ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. You get the advantages and protections of larger Ohio corporations but with much simpler rules and regulations.
The benefits of starting an Ohio LLC:
Simple tax filing and the opportunity to take advantage of other tax treatment opportunities
Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
No tax on products sold to customers outside the state
Quick and simple filing, administration, management, compliance and regulation of your LLC
Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.
In this guide, you’ll find information on searching for and naming your LLC, getting a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, Ohio business taxes and much more. We also cover what you'll need to register and file your LLC and how you'll interact with the Ohio Secretary of State.
How to Form an Ohio LLC Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Complete an Ohio LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
Step 2 - Provide an Official Address for Your LLC
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Create an Operating Agreement
Complete an Ohio LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
You’ll need a distinctive and original name for your LLC not used by any other business in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using Incfile’s Business Name Generator to brainstorm ideas. You’ll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Ohio Business Names page.
One Ohio LLC law states that a business name may not include any of the following words without prior approval from the superintendent of financial institutions: bank, banker, banking or trust, or words of similar meaning in any other language. This is true even for businesses that do not engage in banking or trust activities.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Ohio. To find out whether another company is using your chosen business name, use our tool to do a business name search. You can also carry out a name search on the Ohio Secretary of State website
Provide an Official Address for Your LLC
Whether it’s an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence) or any other physical location, every LLC in Ohio must have a designated street address. It can be outside the state, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.
You may also have the option of using a virtual mailbox as your business address. Incfile can provide you with an Ohio virtual mailbox where we'll receive your mail and scan it for your online review. This can be especially helpful if you run a home-based business and don't want your home address to be made public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
A Registered Agent is an official position of someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Ohio Secretary of State. In Ohio, this is called a Statutory Agent; we use the terms interchangeably. Every LLC in Ohio is required to have a Registered Agent.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Statutory Agent service. If your Ohio Registered Agent is a person, they must reside and have a physical street address in Ohio, and they must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours. In Ohio, you designate your Statutory Agent when you file your Articles of Organization and formally create your business.
At Incfile, all of our packages include a Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.
File Your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State
Once you've gathered all the information for your Ohio LLC, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State.
You can file your Articles of Organization via the online filing system of the Ohio Secretary of State, mail a form to the Office of the Secretary of State or have Incfile do it on your behalf. The Ohio LLC filing fee is just $99.
File by Mail
Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
You only need to file your Articles of Organization once, and Incfile can do that for you. Ohio doesn’t require LLCs to file an annual report.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Ohio?
Ohio LLCs 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 when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Ohio LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
A kind of "instruction manual" that explains how you'll run your business, an LLC Operating Agreement details how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Some states require that a company have an Operating Agreement in place — it isn’t legally required in Ohio, but it’s a good idea to have one nonetheless.
Other Ohio LLC Types
Some states allow certain occupations to form Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs). The state doesn’t use the term "Ohio PLLC," but it will allow an LLC that provides professional services to form an Ohio Professional Association.
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Ohio—or vice versa—you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about Ohio Foreign LLC registration.
Helpful Resources from the State of Ohio
More Information in This Guide
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to search the OH Secretary of State’s business registry to find the right name. Includes information on naming rules, trade or fictitious names, reserving an LLC name and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Statutory Agents. Includes information on the rules they're required to follow.
How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you must meet for both state and federal rules. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses and more.
How to understand the various taxes you'll need to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details of state taxes such as sales and income taxes, and federal taxes such as income and self-employment taxes.