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Forming an LLC?

How to Start an LLC in Ohio


Starting an LLC in Ohio can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve created this step-by-step guide to help make the process a little bit easier for you. To start an LLC in Ohio, you’ll need to gather some important information and fill out some paperwork. We’ll walk you through each step so you can have your business up and running in no time!

Benefits of starting an LLC in Ohio

There are several benefits of starting an LLC in Ohio. First, limited personal liability protects your personal assets if your business is sued.

  • The pass-through tax structure avoids the double taxation of C-corporations.
  • There is no annual report required for LLCs in Ohio.
  • Ohio’s LLC laws are very favorable and offer a lot of flexibility for business owners.

Ohio LLC Rules & Requirements

One of the first steps in starting your LLC is to review Ohio’s list of requirements for forming an LLC. You’ll need to make sure you meet all of them before officially filing your paperwork. Although the conditions in every state are similar, the forms and procedures might be a little different from state to state. Make sure you review your requirements carefully to avoid any unnecessary holdups later down the road. Below are some of the general requirements to start an LLC in Ohio.

Best Ohio LLC Formation Services

If you’ve never started an LLC before, it can be a little confusing and overwhelming at first. That’s why we always recommend a service to help you start your LLC, making the process a lot easier. You’ll get personalized customer care and expert advice from professional business formation attorneys in some cases. Plus, they’ll file all necessary paperwork with the state for you.

We have researched Ohio’s best LLC formation services and summarized some of our findings.

Zenbusiness offers great LLC formation packages. You can form your LLC in minutes.

The following is a step-by-step guide of what you can expect when forming an LLC in Ohio:

5 Steps to Starting an LLC in Ohio

  1. Name Your Ohio LLC
  2. Choose a Statutory Agent
  3. File the Articles of Organization
  4. Create an Operating Agreement
  5. Get an EIN

Step 1: Name Your Ohio LLC

In Ohio, to form an LLC, you must file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. Some critical requirements for the name of your LLC include:

  • The name must include “Limited Liability Company” or “LLC.”
  • The name must be unique and not already used by another business entity in Ohio.
  • The name cannot include any words that suggest that the company is a government agency (e.g., “FBI,” “State Department”).
  • Additional documentation may be required if the company uses certain words in its name, such as “bank,” “university,” or “attorney.”

You can check the availability of the name by looking it up on the Ohio Secretary of State’s business database.

Furthermore, it would be beneficial to register your domain (e.g., YourBusiness.com) as soon as possible to prevent third parties from claiming it. You might not be thinking about your website now, but it will be crucial to reserve the name and avoid any extra hassle in the future. Namecheap is one of the cheapest domain registrars and offers excellent support.

Check the domain availability for your new company name through Namecheap.com for free.

Step 2: Choose a Statutory Agent

Another critical part of starting an LLC in Ohio is appointing a statutory agent. A statutory agent is essentially your company’s representative who can accept service of process on behalf of the limited liability company. This means any official documents, such as lawsuits or tax bills, will be served at their registered address.

Who can be a Statutory Agent?

  • In Ohio, the selected statutory agent must be an individual at least 18 years old and has an Ohio address. The statutory agent must also be available during business hours to accept service of process on behalf of the company.
  • You or anyone in the company can be a statutory agent in Ohio.
  • You can hire a service to act as your statutory agent. They will receive legal notices on your behalf and forward them to you. This is an excellent solution for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to handle their legal notices.
Get one year of registered agent service from ZenBusiness with any package for free.

Step 3: File the Articles of Organization

The next step in starting your LLC is filing the Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State. This must be done before operating any business in Ohio. The filing fee is $99.

The Articles of Organization must include the LLC’s name, address for service of process, and registered agent information. You will also need to designate an initial manager or managing member who will act on behalf of your LLC.

  • The easiest way to file the articles of organization for a company in Ohio is online at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
  • You can also file Form 533A by mail, but you must send it to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office address:

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

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is a legal document that governs the business and financial relations among limited liability company (LLC) owners. It spells out such things as each owner’s share of the business, how profits and losses are to be shared, what happens if someone wants to sell their interest in the company, and how decisions about the company are made.

An Operating Agreement is not required by law, but it’s a good idea to have one. If there is no Operating Agreement in place when something goes wrong – for example, one owner decides to sell her stake without consulting the others – the LLC could end up in court. Having an Operating Agreement in place can help minimize disagreements and costly legal battles among LLC owners.

Step 5: Get an EIN

The next task on your list is to get an EIN for the LLC. The EIN is similar to a Social Security Number (SSN), except designated explicitly for business accounts. It’s used by employers to identify themselves to the IRS. Businesses also use the EIN to open bank accounts, file tax returns, and engage in other financial transactions.

  • Online: The EIN can be applied for by filing Form SS-4, completed online at the IRS website.
  • Mail: You can also mail it to the IRS at:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

Important next step: Beneficial Ownership Information

As of 2024, a significant new law known as the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) has come into effect. This law requires most LLCs, including those formed in Ohio, to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The goal of this filing is to increase financial transparency and prevent criminals from using shell companies to hide illicit activities like money laundering.

File a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report

Understand the Requirement: The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) mandates that most LLCs file a Beneficial Ownership Information report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This provides transparency regarding the true owners of your company.

Gather Information: You’ll need the following about each beneficial owner and company applicant:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Current residential or business street address
  • Unique identifying number from an acceptable ID (e.g., driver’s license number, passport number)

File the Report: The method of filing is determined by FinCEN and may change. Check the most up-to-date instructions on FinCEN’s website.

Important Deadlines:

  • LLCs formed before January 1, 2024: Companies in existence before this date have a more extended deadline. They have until January 1, 2025, to file their initial BOI report with FinCEN.
  • LLCs formed in 2024: Companies formed during 2024 have 90 calendar days from the date they receive actual or public notice of their creation or registration becoming effective. This means 90 days from when the state officially processes your LLC paperwork or makes information on your company publicly available.
  • LLCs formed on or after January 1, 2025: Companies formed from this date onward will have a stricter deadline of 30 calendar days to file their initial BOI reports with FinCEN.

Important Notes:

  • Failure to file the BOI Report can carry civil and criminal penalties.
  • The information you provide is protected, but accessible to law enforcement agencies.

Ohio LLC Processing Time

You can get an LLC approved online in 2-3 business days. If you want to expedite the process and have it done in 2 days, there is an additional $100.
If you decide to go through the mail, it will take 3-7 business days, depending on your chosen delivery method.

Ohio LLC Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to file annual reports in Ohio?

No, Ohio is one of the few states that does not require annual reports. This can be helpful if you are a small business or startup and are strapped for time and resources. However, it’s essential to keep your company’s contact information up to date with the state in case they need to reach out to you for any reason.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Ohio?

The cost to start an LLC in Ohio is $99. You will need to file articles of organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, and you will also need to have a statutory agent in Ohio.

How long does it take to get LLC approved in Ohio?

You can get an LLC approved in Ohio online in 2-3 business days. If you mail in your paperwork, it will take 3-7 business days. If you need it expedited, it will take 2 days, but it will cost $100.

Is there an annual fee for LLC in Ohio?

No. An LLC in Ohio does not have an annual fee. The only cost associated with forming and maintaining an LLC in Ohio is the filing fee, which is $99, and you only pay it once.

How is an LLC taxed in Ohio?

LLCs in Ohio are taxed as pass-through entities. This means that the profits and losses of the LLC flow through to the individual members, and each member pays taxes on their share of the profits on their personal tax return. Ohio does not have a state income tax, so the LLC pays no federal income tax. However, members of an LLC will still have to pay federal income tax on their share of the profits from the LLC.

How much does an EIN cost in Ohio?

You don’t need to pay for an EIN – you can get one free from the IRS. Just go to their website and follow the instructions.

Does an LLC expire in Ohio?

No, an LLC does not expire in Ohio. In Ohio, an LLC can exist in perpetuity unless it is administratively dissolved by the state for failing to comply with state requirements.

The information on this page was last verified on February 26, 2024

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