1. Choose a Business Type
2. Choose a Business Name
3. Register Your Business With the Ohio SOS
4. Keep Up With Annual Requirements

How much does it cost to incorporate in Ohio? The articles of incorporation cost $99 to file in the state of Ohio. This filing process can be expedited if you pay a $150 fee. These fees are paid to the Secretary of State of Ohio so that your company will be on file and legally allowed to conduct business in the state. It is fairly simple to start a business in the state of Ohio when you follow these steps.

Choose a Business Type

There are three basic structures a business startup has to choose from:

  • DBA (doing business as).
  • Corporation.
  • LLC (limited liability company).

When you choose to form a DBA type structure, you are simply registering a different or fictitious name for your business. An individual or partners in a company may desire to use a different name than their given name or current business name to branch out into a certain field. A DBA gives them the opportunity to do that.

Corporations are business structures that exist totally separate from their owners. A corporation can act like an individual and have some of the same rights and abilities like owning property, filing a lawsuit, or being sued. Corporations have shareholders, officers, and directors, and they are taxed as an individual entity. Certain types of corporations, such as those run by doctors, lawyers and so forth have to file as PCs (professional corporations).

A limited liability company is a business structure that offers much of the same benefits of a corporation, but with less formalities and requirements. LLCs also don't undergo the double taxation that corporations are subject to.

Choose a Business Name

Once you've decided which type of business structure is best suited for your venture, you will need to come up with a name. When starting a corporation or other business type in Ohio, you'll want to search the business names of all registered companies in the state. You can do this by visiting the Ohio Secretary of State (SOS) website and typing in the name that you hope to use for your company to see if it's available.

An Ohio business name search will tell you if there are any other businesses registered with the state that are already using your desired name. You'll also want to search for a domain name to be sure that you'll be able to use your business name when you're ready to start a website.

It's also a good idea to search the online database of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) to make sure that your desired business name doesn't infringe on any protected intellectual property (IP). When searching any of these databases, make sure you don't only check for your name exactly, but check to see if there are any variations or similar names that could potentially confuse customers.

You want your business to stand out from others. One of the best ways to make your business noticeable and memorable to customers is to choose a unique and creative name.

Register Your Business With the Ohio SOS

Registration must take place in order for any company to conduct business in the state of Ohio. This includes businesses formed inside of the state as well as outside of the state. The requirements for incorporating in the state of Ohio include:

  • Hiring a registered agent.
  • Filing articles of incorporation.
  • Holding an organizational meeting

File form 532A for a domestic Ohio business online for a fee of $99. Most of the different business types can file with the Ohio SOS for the same fee amount. DBAs and fictitious names are less costly with a $39 filing fee.

Keep Up With Annual Requirements

Depending on the type of business you start, the state will have certain annual requirements. All businesses incorporated in the state must have state and federal taxes. Professional corporations must file biennial reports. You'll want to check with the SOS to make sure you know exactly want you need to do in order to keep your business in good standing with the state from year to year.

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