Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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Simple Steps to Start Your Ohio LLC

The midwestern state of Ohio is one of the best places in the U.S. to start a business. In 2010, the state was named the second-best place in the country to start a business by Site Selection magazine. Its economy is in the top 10 wealthiest in the U.S., making it an economic powerhouse.

Ohio also boasts a business-friendly tax system and has many policies aimed at helping small businesses. Major industries in the state include finance, manufacturing, biotechnology, trade, transportation, healthcare and education.

If you want to start your own business in Ohio, one of the best ways to do so is by forming an LLC. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Ohio makes forming an LLC easy and inexpensive.

LLCs are great for small and medium businesses because they give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations — without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities. Let’s start by looking at the advantages of forming an Ohio LLC.

Advantages of Forming an LLC in Ohio

Ohio LLCs have several benefits for business owners.

  • Preparing to start an Ohio LLC is quick and easy — you can complete all the necessary forms and actions online to start your company.
  • An LLC limits your personal liability — any liabilities created by your Ohio business (debts, obligations and other liabilities) are legally considered completely separate from your personal assets as the business owner or founder.
  • Ohio LLCs are easy to maintain — LLCs are light on rules and regulations. There’s no need for boards of directors, complex rules and regulations or formal annual meetings.
  • LLCs are very easy to manage — you can add and amend members and make other changes with just a little paperwork.
  • Taxes are simple — any income you earn through your Ohio LLC is reported on your personal tax return. This means you won’t run into “double taxation” issues common with larger corporations.
  • Starting an LLC is quick — typically, gathering and preparing the information to start your business can be completed in an hour or two. Once you have the information, you can then file through us. Once your paperwork is filed, you can get your business formed within two days (expedited time) or a week (normal time). See how long it typically takes to officially form your LLC.
  • There is a state fee of $99 to file and start an LLC in Ohio.
  • Unlike most states, Ohio does not require LLCs to file annual reports, so you can save some administrative overhead and a yearly annual report fee.

Start your Ohio LLC in Six Steps

STEP 1: Name Your Ohio LLC

  • You will need a distinctive, original name for your Ohio LLC that’s not used by another business in Ohio.
  • To find out if another company is using your choice of business name, carry out an Ohio business entity name search.
  • The name should be unique and not able to be confused with the name of another Ohio business.
  • The name of your business must end with “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “LLC.” “Limited” and “Company” can be abbreviated to “Ltd.” and “Co.”
  • For example: “Columbus Logistics and Distribution LLC” or “Johnston and Sons, Limited Liability Company”

STEP 2: Provide the Address for Your New Ohio LLC

An Ohio LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), where your office is located or any physical address of your preference — even outside of Ohio. It can also be a P.O. Box.

STEP 3: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Ohio LLC

Every LLC must have a “registered agent,” known in Ohio as a “Statutory Agent.” That could be you, the managing director, owner or a dedicated registered agent service. The registered agent in Ohio is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Ohio Secretary of State.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year thereafter. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your registered agent has received on your behalf. Here are a few reasons you might want to appoint Incfile as their registered agent service.

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state where you are forming the company. Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will need to use a Registered Agent service to provide the address.
  • You always need to have someone on hand to receive important documents for your business during business hours (typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday). Therefore, a person must always be available to sign for legal correspondence.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address is part of the public record and available through the Ohio Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address isn’t published, this is a good reason to choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your Ohio business address or move out of state, you don’t need to file additional documentation with the Secretary of State for the new address of your Registered Agent. You will need to setup a new registered agent service in the new state.

STEP 4: You Should Provide Details of Your LLC

Your Ohio LLC details must be included on the document you will file with the Secretary of State. These details include name, office location, shares, capital and signatures.

STEP 5: You Need to File Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information together for your LLC, you’ll need to file formal documents with the Ohio Secretary of State. Filing Articles of Incorporation creates your Ohio LLC. You can do this online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf.

STEP 6: You Can Create an Ohio LLC Operating Agreement

Ohio LLCs aren’t required to have an Operating Agreement, but they are extremely useful for several reasons. Your Operating Agreement covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. Learn how to create your Operating Agreement.

If you’re interested in having your Operating Agreement created for you, Incfile will draft a general Operating Agreement within most of our online business formation packages. It can also be selected as an add-on option in our Silver package. This Operating Agreement will be a basic template that you can make changes to anytime you see fit.

You can find lots more useful information on how to form an LLC here. It answers questions like:

  • Who can form an LLC?
  • Where should you form an LLC?
  • When should you form an LLC?
  • What are the ongoing responsibilities for an LLC?

Starting Your Ohio LLC: Useful Resources

Form an Ohio LLC Without Breaking the Bank

Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you create your LLC. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps on your behalf, such as filing the Articles of Incorporation. Our basic package also provides a free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for help to start an LLC, our comprehensive services provide outstanding value.

Only $49 + State Fee To Launch Your Business

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Ohio?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$99 3 Weeks 7 Business Days

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Ohio LLC's are currently not required to file annual reports.

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