Follow our step-by-step How to Start an LLC in Ohio guide to get started today.
- Name Your Ohio LLC
- Choose a Statutory Agent
- File the Articles of Organization
- Create an Operating Agreement
- Get an EIN
- Keep Your Company Compliant
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Step 1: Name Your Ohio LLC
Choosing a company name is the first and most important step in starting your Ohio LLC. Be sure to choose a name that complies with Ohio naming requirements and is easily searchable by potential clients.
1. Follow the naming guidelines:
- Your name must include the phrase “limited liability company” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Your name cannot include words that could confuse your LLC with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
- Restricted words (e.g. Bank, Attorney, University) may require additional paperwork and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
- Your name must be distinguishable from any other Ohio limited liability company, corporation, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, or trade name.
2. Is the name available in Ohio? Make sure the name you want isn't already taken by doing a name search on the State of Ohio's website.
To learn more about searching for an Ohio LLC name, read our full 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 today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.
Find a Domain Now
Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
We reviewed and ranked the best LLC services. Find out which is best for you.
Step 2: Choose a Statutory Agent in Ohio
You are required to appoint an Ohio statutory agent for your LLC. A statutory agent is more commonly known as a registered agent in other states.
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. Think of your statutory agent as your business's point of contact with the state.
Who can be a statutory agent? A statutory agent must be a resident of Ohio or a corporation, such as a registered agent service, authorized to transact business in Ohio. You may elect an individual within the company, including yourself.
Recommended: Check out these best registered agent services.
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 apply online or by mail.
Now is a good time to determine whether your LLC will be member-managed vs. manager-managed.
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Ohio Secretary of State
- OR -
OPTION 2: File Form 610 by Mail
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 guide.
If you’re expanding your existing LLC to the state of Ohio, you will need to form a foreign LLC.
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 guide.
Recommended: Download a template or create a free operating agreement using our tool.
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.
Steps After LLC Formation
Read all the steps you’ll need to maintain your LLC’s personal liability protection, open a business bank account, get business insurance, and stay up to date with state reporting requirements.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.
Step 6: Keep Your Company Compliant
Ohio LLC Business Licenses & Permits
LLC owners must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. Fees and requirements for licenses and permits will vary depending on what sort of business license you need.
Find out how to get the necessary business licenses and permits for your LLC with our Ohio Business License guide.
Recommended: If you are a first-time entrepreneur, consider having a professional service research your business’s licensing requirements. Read our best business license services review on Startup Savant.
Ohio LLC Tax Filing Requirements
In order to keep your business in good standing, it's important to stay up to date on your Ohio LLC taxes.
Depending on the nature of your business, and your business income, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax.
If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Ohio Department of Taxation website.
Ohio's base state sales tax is 5.75%. Counties and cities can add an additional local sales tax of up to 3%.
If you have employees in Ohio, you will need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. You will also need to sign up for Employee Withholding Tax through the Ohio Business Gateway.
Commercial Activity Tax
In Ohio, LLCs with gross receipts exceeding $150,000 per year are required to pay the state's Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). LLCs with less than $150,000 in gross receipts are exempt from this tax.
Ohio uses a graduated tax structure for its individual income tax rates. Depending on your LLC’s income, your tax rate could range from 0% to 4.797%.
State tax returns are due each year by April 18. To calculate your tax or determine your tax bracket, visit the Ohio Department of Taxation website.
Hiring Employees in Ohio
If you plan to hire employees for your Ohio LLC, stay compliant with the law by following these steps:
- Verify that new employees are able to work in the US
- Report employees as "new hires" to the state
- Provide workers' compensation insurance for employees
- Withhold employee taxes
- Print workplace compliance posters and place them in visible areas of your workspace
Interested in more? Have a look at the Ohio State Website.
Recommended: Check out our Hiring for Your Small Business Guide for resources like sample job descriptions, payroll service reviews, and more.
Common Questions About Ohio LLCs
What is an LLC?
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
How do I name my Ohio 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.
After you get your business name, get a unique logo using our Free Logo Generator.
Do I need to get a DBA or trade name for my business?
Most 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.
Can I be my own statutory agent?
Yes. You or anyone else in your company can serve as the statutory agent for your Ohio LLC.
Read more about being your own statutory agent.
Is a registered agent service worth it?
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.
How long does it take to form an LLC in Ohio?
Filing the Articles of Organization can take up to seven business days, but processing times vary based on the number of filings received.
Expedited filings are also available for additional fees.
What is the difference between a domestic LLC and a foreign LLC?
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.
How much does it cost to start an Ohio LLC?
The cost to start an Ohio LLC is $99.
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form an Ohio LLC.
Do I need to file my operating agreement with the state?
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.
How do I get an EIN if I don’t have a Social Security number?
An SSN is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Read our guide for international EIN applicants.
What tax structure should I choose for my Ohio LLC?
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.
Do I need an EIN for my LLC?
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.
What is the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax?
The Commercial Activity Tax is a state tax levied on each LLC formed in Ohio. The tax rate varies depending on your LLC’s income.
What are the LLC income brackets for the Commercial Activity Tax?
- LLCs with between $150,000 and $1 million in gross receipts pay $150.
- LLCs with $1,000,000+ in gross receipts file and pay returns on a quarterly basis,
- If you form an LLC during the second half of the year, your first year's CAT is $75.
- If your taxable gross receipts total more than $1,000,000 but less than $2,000,000, you pay an $800 minimum tax.
- If your taxable gross receipts total more than $2,000,000 but less than $4,000,000, you pay a $2,100 minimum tax.
- If your taxable gross receipts exceed $4,000,000, you pay a $2,600 minimum tax.
- You also pay a 0.26% tax rate on all gross receipts beyond $1,000,000 (0.26% x (Taxable Gross Receipts - $1 Million))
LLCs with less than $150,000 in gross receipts do not pay this tax
What is the minimum wage in Ohio?
The minimum wage in Ohio is $10.10 per hour for businesses with annual gross receipts over $305,000 and $7.25 for businesses with annual gross receipts under $305,000.
How often do I need to pay employees in Ohio?
Ohio requires wages to be paid regularly at least twice per month.