There are a few different options when it comes to forming a business in Ohio. From a legal perspective, there are three main types of Ohio for-profit business entities: LLCs, S Corporations or C Corporations. We believe an LLC provides the right blend of liability protection and ease of administration for many entrepreneurs.
In order to form an LLC in the state of Ohio, there are some minimum requirements you must meet. These are a completed set of Articles of Organization, a business name and a fee you pay to the Ohio Secretary of State. We recommend taking some further steps before formally starting your LLC:
- Research your target market to make sure there’s a demand for the products and services you provide.
- Read industry guides to give you a starting point in your niche.
- Create a comprehensive business plan that defines the most important aspects of your Ohio business.
- Write an Operating Agreement that covers how you will run your LLC.
After you’ve created your Ohio LLC, you will also need to review your business license requirements, understand ongoing filing needs, set up a separate business bank account and get an accountant.
In Ohio, you register a business by completing and filing your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State. You will need to gather information about your business, fill out the form and send it to the Secretary of State with your filing fee. This will formally create your LLC in Ohio.
You can file your Articles of Organization on the Secretary of State website or mail it in. Alternatively, Incfile can guide you through every step of the process by getting details from you and filing the form on your behalf — for free! There’s no additional charge for our basic LLC filing service, so all you need to do is pay the Ohio state filing fee.
At the time of writing the fee charged by the Ohio Secretary of State is $99. You can always check the latest Ohio filing fees here. You can also pay an additional $100, $200, or $300 for expedited filing through Incfile, which will create your LLC faster. The amount of the expedited fee is dependent on how quickly you want your filing processed. Some LLC filing services do charge you extra to prepare and submit your filing documents, but at Incfile, we do this for free — so you only pay the state fee.
Once you’ve gathered all of your information together and filed your Articles of Organization (or had Incfile do it for you), it can take 3-7 business days for the Ohio Secretary of State to legally create your LLC. If you pay an additional $100, $200, or $300 expedited fee, your LLC can be formed in as few as 1-2 business days, or 4 hours.
There are a few ways to register your Ohio LLC name.
- If you’re starting a new business and your business name is unique in Ohio and meets state naming rules, you simply include it in your Articles of Organization.
- If you want to change the legal name of your business, file a Certificate of Amendment with the Secretary of State.
- If you just want to do business under a different name, file a Trade Name or Fictitious Name Registration with the Ohio Secretary of State, or we can do that on your behalf.
If you want to prevent people from using your business name across the U.S., you can file a trademark for the name. We can help.
In many other states, the formal documents that you file to form a corporation or LLC might be known as Articles of Incorporation. In Ohio, this document is called your Articles of Organization, and it performs the same functions as the Articles of Incorporation.
Yes, very recently (January 2022) the State of Wyoming changed legislation to allow for the formation of Series LLC within the state. A Series LLC is a special type of LLC where you create one “overall” business and then have individual, series LLCs within it, each counted as separate legal entities.
If you wish to change your Ohio Registered Agent you can do so by filing a Statutory Agent Update with the Secretary of State. Here at Incfile, we provide a free Ohio Registered Agent service for the first year if you file through us. If you’ve been using a different Registered Agent and want to switch to us, we’ll file the Statutory Agent Update on your behalf.
If you need to know the Registered Agent of a specific Ohio business, you can perform an Ohio Registered Agent search within the state's business database.
As an LLC, any business profits you earn will be reported on your personal 1040 filing and reported and taxed as “pass-through” income. You will typically need to pay:
- Self-employment or payroll tax on all business profits
- Federal income tax on profits after you meet your tax-free allowance
- Sales tax for selling taxable products and services
Ohio charges a 5.75 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods. You will also need to pay sales tax if you provide a taxable service. You can find a full list of taxable services here.
You will need to register for a vendor's license or a seller's use tax account with the Ohio Department of Taxation. You can complete this process online.
The base rate for Ohio sales tax is 5.7.5 percent, and there may be additional sales tax depending on your region, county or city. Once you know your overall sales tax amount, calculate the value of all your taxable products and services. Then, multiply that by your sales tax rate to understand how much you will need to pay.
Once your LLC’s sales tax registration is complete, you will receive a letter with instructions on how often you must file a sales tax return and pay sales taxes. Returns and payments may be due monthly, quarterly or annually.
Until 2014, the State of Ohio imposed a franchise tax on business. Since it has been repealed, the commercial activity tax has been introduced to replace it.
The commercial activity tax (CAT) is an annual tax imposed on businesses simply for the privilege of doing business in the state of Ohio. It is measured by gross receipts from business activities in Ohio.
Businesses with annual Ohio taxable gross receipts of $150,000 or more must register for the CAT, file all applicable returns, and make all corresponding payments. More CAT resources have been provided by the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Most likely, yes. If you're starting a business in Ohio, you'll probably need some type of business license in order to operate.The types of business licenses you need will vary depending on your type of business, industry, location and various other factors. We can research the types of business licenses you might need for you.