How to Start an LLC in Ohio (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Ohio?
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State ($99 processing fee).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Ohio LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in Ohio in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Ohio, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Name your Ohio LLC
- Choose a Statutory Agent
- File the Articles of Organization
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Obtain an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Ohio LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Ohio LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable Ohio naming requirements and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for Ohio LLCs:
- Your name must include the words” Limited liability company”, the word “limited”, or one of the following abbreviations: “LLC, L.L.C., ltd”.
- Your name cannot include words that could imply that your LLC is affiliated with a state or federal agency (e.g., FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Your name cannot include certain words without prior written approval from a relevant state body. For example, your name cannot include the words “bank” or “trust” without approval from the Ohio Department of Commerce.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any other Ohio limited liability company, corporation, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, or trade name.
For more information, have a look at Section 1706.07 of the Ohio Revised Limited Liability Company Act: Naming of a Limited Liability Company.
2. Is the name available in Ohio?
To check whether your desired name is already taken by another business entity in Ohio, you can perform a name search on the State of Ohio's website.
Keep in mind that if you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name. You can do this for up to 180 days by filing Form 534B - Name Reservation and paying the $39 filing fee.
For more information, see our Ohio LLC Name Search guide.
3. Is the URL available?
We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it — potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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FAQ: Naming an Ohio LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing protection for your personal assets. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the Ohio LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC, use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
Most limited liability companies (LLCs) do not need a DBA, known as a trade name in Ohio. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA in Ohio guide.
Step 2: Choose a Statutory Agent in Ohio
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate an Ohio statutory agent. This is commonly known as a registered agent in states outside of Ohio.
What is a statutory agent? A statutory agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. You can think of your statutory agent as your business's primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a statutory agent? A statutory agent must be a statutory of Ohio or a foreign corporation authorized to conduct business in the state of Ohio. Most LLC owners choose to use a business attorney, act as their own registered agent, or use a registered agent service.
Keep in mind that your statutory agent will need to complete an Acceptance of Appointment in order to be accepted by the Ohio Secretary of State. This is a section within your LLC’s Articles of Organization.
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes, you can, as long as you are a resident of Ohio. Having said that, this is generally not recommended as it can come with decreased privacy. It is also a relatively time-inefficient process in comparison to using a business attorney or a registered agent service.
Read more about being your own statutory agent.
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your Ohio LLC. Using a professional service allows LLC owners to focus on the other responsibilities of business ownership.
For more information, read our article on Ohio statutory agents.
Step 3: File Your Ohio LLC Articles of Organization
To register your LLC, you'll need to file Form 610: Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State. You can do this online or via mail.
Before filing, you will need to make sure you have the information needed to complete your Certificate of Formation correctly. This includes:
- The completed filing form cover letter, which includes your name, address, phone number, and email address
- The type of service being requested; you can choose between a regular service, three expedited service options, and preclearance filing (i..e, filing to be processed at a later date.).
- The name of your LLC, as well as its effective date and time
- Your LLC’s purpose (this part is optional)
- The names of all authorized LLC members, managers, or representatives
- Your statutory agent’s name and mailing address
- The completed Acceptance of Appointment section.
- The signatures of all LLC incorporators
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Ohio Secretary of State
- OR -
OPTION 2: File Form 610 by MailDownload Form
State Filing Cost: $99, payable to the Ohio Secretary of State (Nonrefundable)
Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
For help with completing the form, visit our Ohio Articles of Organization.
Note: If you're expanding your existing LLC to the state of Ohio, you will need to form a foreign LLC instead.
FAQ: Filing Ohio LLC Documents
The average processing time for an LLC’s filing documents in Ohio is approximately three to seven business days. Having said that, expedited services are offered for an additional fee:
- Two Business Days: $100
- One Business Day: $200
- Four Hours: $300
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
Read our What Is a Foreign LLC article to learn more.
The cost to start an Ohio LLC will depend on several factors, including how you go about filing.
Having said that, the cost of filing your formation documents (known as the Articles of Organization) with the Secretary of State is $99.
See our guide on the cost to form an Ohio LLC for more information.
Step 4: Create an Ohio LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required in Ohio, but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Ohio LLC operating agreement.
FAQ: Creating an Ohio LLC Operating Agreement
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
Step 5: Get an Ohio LLC EIN
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business's tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An EIN number is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
Considering Using an LLC Formation Service?
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How to Maintain Your Ohio LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC in Ohio, you will still need to stay compliant with certain federal, state, and local requirements.
Sort Out Your Taxes
Regardless of where your LLC is registered, you will be required to pay certain federal taxes. This includes corporation and employer taxes (for LLCs filing as a C corporation) and federal income tax and self-employment taxes (for LLCs taxed as pass-through entities).
In addition, there are a number of different taxes you’ll be required to pay at a local and state level, which can vary depending on the nature of your business.
Below are some of the most common taxes in Ohio.
Your LLC will likely be liable to pay income tax on its earnings at a state level, which is required in addition to the requirement to pay federal income tax. The two main types of state income tax you may need to pay in Maine are:
- Personal Income Tax: This is set at a gradual rate that varies between 2.75% and 3.75% on an individual or entity’s net income over $26,050.
- Commercial Activity Tax (CAT): Unlike many other states, there’s no corporation income tax in Ohio; however, it does levy the CAT, a variable rate gross receipts tax on businesses earning more than $150,000 in revenue in the state that is due on a quarterly basis.
In addition to these statewide income taxes, there are a number of municipalities in Ohio that levy their own additional income tax rates. You can find a full list of these jurisdictions on the Ohio Department of Taxation website.
Note: You can use the Ohio Business Gateway to submit your income taxes online quickly and easily.
Sales tax is applied at a general statewide rate of 5.75% to the price of most tangible personal property and some services sold within Ohio. However, depending on where in the state your LLC is based, this rate can vary between 6% and 8% when city and county local rates are taken into consideration.
Alongside this, it’s important to be aware that several products and services are subject to unique sales tax rates in Ohio, including alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, motor vehicles, and telecommunications services.
Note: Before you can begin remitting the sales tax you’ve collected to the Ohio Department of Taxation, you’ll need to apply for a vendor’s license, which can be done online easily through the Ohio Business Gateway website.
Real Property Taxes
Businesses are required to pay this tax based on the assessed value of their Ohio property, which is equal to 35% of the appraised value of their real estate. Since the process of calculating how much your business owes in property taxes is handled by each county’s treasurer, where your LLC is based plays a large role in determining your overall tax liability.
To get an idea of how much your LLC may need to pay in real property tax, it’s a good idea to either talk to an accountant or get in touch with your county’s treasurer. To help you get in contact with the relevant official in your county, a directory of the treasurers in Ohio can be found on the County Treasurers Association of Ohio website.
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, obtain all necessary business licenses, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.