How to form an LLC in Ohio

Update: December 30, 2022

By: Tom Macken

Start an LLC in Ohio how to

Cleveland. Cedar Point. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio is known for many things including the stunning Cuyahoga Valley National Park and also as a place where businesses of all shapes and sizes set up. 

We’ve included all of the procedures you’ll need to follow, as well as the fees and documents needed for Ohio companies, below.


1. Name Your Ohio LLC
2. Select an Ohio Registered Agent
3. File the Articles of Organization
4. Receive a Certificate From the State
5. Create an Operating Agreement
6. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
7. File Annual Renewals
Costs and Next Steps

In addition to its many other advantages, a limited liability corporation (LLC) provides small enterprises with protection from legal responsibility and favorable tax treatment. Follow these straightforward steps for getting your Ohio limited liability company up and going after you’ve decided that an LLC is the most suitable form of business for your requirements.

Note that you have the option of forming the limited liability company (LLC) yourself, or you may use a professional incorporations firm to do all of the legwork on your behalf.

1. Give Your Ohio LLC a Name

It is important that the name you choose for your limited liability company be easily distinguished from the identities of other business organizations already registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. You are able to verify the availability of names by using the database of company names maintained by the Ohio Secretary of State.

The state of Ohio requires the following components for a legally valid LLC name:

By submitting a Name Reservation (Form 534-B) to the Ohio Secretary of State, you will be able to reserve a name for a period of up to 180 days. The application may either be submitted electronically or via mail. The application cost is $39 dollars.

Utilization of a Trade Name

When doing business in the “real world,” it is not necessary for you to use the formal legal name of your limited liability company that is established in your Articles of Organization. You may consider using a trade name instead, which is synonymous with an assumed name, the abbreviation “DBA” (which stands for “doing business as”), or a fictional company name.

If you want to conduct business in Ohio under a different name, you must file for trade name registration with the state. To become a registered voter, you must submit a Name Registration, also known as Form 534A, to the Secretary of State either online or by the mail. The application cost is $39 dollars.

2. Opt for a Registered Agent in the State of Ohio

Every limited liability company in the state of Ohio is required to establish a local agent where legal documents may be served. If the limited liability company (LLC) is taken to court, this refers to a person or company that has agreed to accept service of process on its behalf.

The Registered Agent might either be a resident of Ohio or a corporate organization that is permitted to conduct operations in the state. It is required that the Registered Agent have a real street address located in Ohio.

What exactly is the role of a Registered Agent?

A company’s Registered Agent handles formal government communications, such as tax forms, legal paperwork, notification of litigation, and other legal processes, on the company’s behalf. Consider the role of your registered agent as that of the point of contact for your company with the state.

Who is eligible to serve as a Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent must either be a person who lives in Ohio on a permanent basis or a company that is permitted to operate inside the state of Ohio and act in the capacity of a Registered Agent service. You have the option of selecting anybody who works for the organization, including yourself.

3. Publish your company’s articles of incorporation.

Your limited liability company (LLC) will be formally recognized after you have a document called the Articles of Organization that lays forth fundamental information about your business. Because this form serves as the legal registration for your company with the state, it is essential that all of the details be accurate.

What should be included in a company’s Articles of Organization?

When completing the Articles of Organization for your Ohio LLC, you are required to give the following information:

  • LLC’s name
  • Term of the LLC, whether it be limited or everlasting.
  • The location of the main office of the limited liability company.
  • The name and location of the registered agent for the limited liability company
  • Location where the Secretary of State should send notifications to the limited liability company (LLC) through mail.
  • How the Limited Liability Company (LLC) will be run: by its members or by its managers
  • Whether or whether the limited liability company would provide professional services
  • Names and addresses of all of the organizers of the limited liability company, as well as
  • Identifying information for at least one member or management of the LLC who has oversight responsibilities.

Submission of Your Organization’s Articles of Incorporation

You will need to submit Form 610 – Articles of Organization to the Ohio Secretary of State in order to register your Ohio limited liability company (LLC). You have the option of applying either online or via mail.

In order to do business in the state of Ohio with your current limited liability company (LLC), you will be required to establish a foreign LLC.

You have the option of submitting your Articles of Organization either in person, through mail, or online:

  • Online: Ohio Business Filings
  • Processing by mail according to standard procedures: P.O. Box 670, Columbus, Ohio 43216
  • Processing period of two days (at an additional fee of one hundred dollars): P.O. Box 1390, Columbus, Ohio 43216
  • In person (an appointment is required), you may find us at 22 North Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

4. Obtain a Certificate From the Government of Your State

After the formation paperwork of the LLC has been submitted and authorized, the state will issue you a certificate that proves the LLC officially exists. If you request a copy and pay appropriate postage, the state will mail you the certificate.

With this certificate, the limited liability company will be able to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), as well as business permits and a business bank account, such as Bluevine or Kabbage.

5. Draw out a Contract for Business Operations

Although establishing a detailed LLC operating agreement is not a legally required step for incorporating a limited liability company in the state of Ohio, it is highly suggested for all new limited liability firms.

The following items should be included in the operating agreement:

  • Describe the business structure of the limited liability company.
  • Determine the specific roles and responsibilities that each member of the LLC will have.
  • Describe in detail how the limited liability company will be operated.

Significant legal and logistical challenges might await a limited liability company (LLC) in the absence of an operating agreement that defines the precise responsibilities of its members.

6. Obtain a number that identifies you as an employer (EIN)

A number of limited liability companies (LLCs) will be required to get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), often known as a tax ID number. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that identifies your company to the Internal Revenue Service. You need an EIN in order to pay federal employer taxes, open a bank account (in most situations), or recruit staff.

On the website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is accessible without charge, you may check to see whether you need an EIN and submit an application for one online. Single-member limited liability companies, which are an exemption to the rule that most firms are required to acquire an EIN, may instead use the owner’s Social Security number.

Business Licenses

Depending on the nature of their operations and where they are located, some limited liability companies (LLCs) doing business in the state of Ohio may be needed to get one or more business permits from the state or from their respective municipal governments.

Study the Ohio Start a Business Guide, which is made available by the Secretary of State, to get information on how to satisfy the criteria for obtaining a state business license. The Ohio License Directory allows for the search and retrieval of specific license information.

Get in touch with the municipal or county clerk where your limited liability company’s registered office is situated to find out what permits and registrations are needed to operate legally there.

7. Submission of Annual Renewals

In Ohio, limited liability companies are not required to provide yearly or biannual reports. However, Ohio also has what is known as the Commercial Activity Tax, which is a tax based on gross revenues (CAT). In order to avoid penalties, your limited liability company (LLC) has to enroll with the Ohio Department of Taxation.

All Ohio companies with taxable gross sales ranging from $150,000 to $1,000,000 are required to register and make a minimum yearly tax payment of $150. Companies with gross revenues more than one million dollars are required to pay at least $800 and submit quarterly reports.


There is also a business activity tax in Ohio, and its rate is determined by your company’s total annual revenue. This tax must be paid by both LLCs and corporations, regardless of their legal structure. If your annual total sales are more than $150,000, then you will be required to pay the tax. The following is a list of the different tax rates:

Payroll taxes need to be deducted from the earnings of workers at LLCs that have employees, and the employer has to pay their portion of the payroll taxes. New employers in the state of Ohio are subject to a payroll tax rate of 2.7%.

Fees and the next step?


When you submit your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State, you will be charged a cost of $99. If you want to reserve the name of your limited liability company before you submit the articles of organization, you will need to pay an additional fee of $39 to file an application for name reservation.

Consider the following additional fees that may be incurred by an LLC:

  • Certified document copies
  • Proof of existence (certificate)

What’s next?

When you register a limited liability company (LLC), you establish a legal basis upon which to operate your firm. Companies should make it a priority to maintain their limited liability company in compliance with state regulations and in an active position on the state’s website.

In addition, having a registered limited liability company enables you to perform the following:

  • Obtain any permissions or licenses that are required to run your business, such as those issued by the health department, the zoning department, the department of home occupations, the department of professional licensing, and so on. Some states need a seller’s permission to conduct sales.
  • Register your company with the department of revenue in your state.
  • Create a bank account for your company.
  • Invest in insurance coverage for your company.
  • Create a trademark to protect both your company’s name and its logo.
  • Create a credit card account for your company.

LLC setup: Professional services or DIY?

To establish a limited liability company (LLC), you are not required by law to consult a lawyer. The majority of states enable the establishment of LLCs via the process of registering the business entity on the website of the secretary of state and with the IRS.

If you are not acquainted with the process of forming an LLC, your best bet may be to hire a professional LLC provider so that you can be certain that the creation will go smoothly and quickly.

When entrepreneurs start a new firm, they may save startup costs and save valuable time by using a professional firm that specializes in company formations. They can take care of the things that you may not have time to think about for a price ranging from $50 to over $500, and some examples of such things are as follows:

  • Drafting an LLC operating agreement outlining the key info on how your business operates
  • Putting together articles of incorporation that identify the management of the LLC, the registration agent, and the date the company was formed.
  • Taking up the role of registered agent for your firm.
  • Keeping careful records in the event that there are investigations or litigation.
  • Payment of filing fees and registration with the appropriate parties.
  • registering the name of your firm and ensuring that the name you choose for your limited liability company is accessible.
  • Finishing up and turning in all of the necessary legal and formation documentation.


Does forming an LLC in Ohio require you to pay a yearly fee?

LLCs in the state of Ohio are not needed to pay an annual fee, but they are subject to state income tax ranging from 1.98% to 5%, as well as sales and use tax with a rate of 5.75%. In addition, federal taxes must be paid.

What does it cost to form a limited liability company in the state of Ohio?

In Ohio, the cost to submit the Articles of Organization to start a limited liability company is $99, and if you want to reserve your LLC name, you must pay an additional $39 to file an application to do so.

What are the steps I need to take to form an LLC in the state of Ohio?

You will need a registration fee, a name for your limited liability company (LLC), a Registered Agent, Articles of Organization, an Operating Agreement, and an EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service in order to create an LLC in the state of Ohio.

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