For an LLC operating agreement, Ohio requires applicants to see if the business name they would like is available. This can be done by doing a preliminary search in the state records. The results will show if other businesses are too close in name to the one that's desired.

Step 1 – Statutory Agent

Every LLC in the state of Ohio must choose someone to be an agent to process the LLC paperwork on behalf of the company. This can be someone who is a resident of the state or a partnership, corporation, or LLC with a business address in the same state.

Step 2 – LLC Type

It is crucial to understand which type of LLC to file, as each one requires its own set of forms. In Ohio, the following LLC types are offered: 

  • Foreign, where a pre-existing LLC is formed in an outside jurisdiction 
  • Domestic, where an LLC is formed in the state

Step 3 – Registration Documents

The state will accept filings for LLCs by mail or from applications submitted online. The link for filing online can be found here, while the information for mailing in the form is found here. To file to register a foreign LLC, use the form found here.

Step 4 – Filing Fee

There is a $99 fee that must be paid in order to have the Ohio Secretary of State process your application. Payment can be accepted by the following methods: 

  • Payment by mail using credit card or money order/check made out to the "Ohio Secretary of State"
  • Payment online using any major credit card

Those who file online will need to pay the fee in order to complete the application. If filing by mail, all articles and the fee can be sent to the Ohio Secretary of State, P.O. Box 670, Columbus, OH 43216.

Step 5 – Operating Agreement

The operating agreement for the LLC is used internally and sets the operating policies and procedures for the company. It's not mandatory to create an operating agreement, but having one is highly recommended so the responsibilities and rules will be clear for all members.

Step 6 – Employer Identification Number (EIN)

After the company files the application with the Ohio Secretary of State, they should apply for an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. The Internal Revenue Service uses the EIN to watch over all financial activity of the company. This is also necessary to have if the company plans to open bank accounts or hire employees. An EIN can be applied for online here or by mail with Form SS-4.

The LLC Operating Agreement in Ohio

Most authorities will recommend drafting an operating agreement, as it will set the financial and logistical management of the business. There are templates for the state of Ohio that are ready-made to make the process easier to create an operating agreement. The LLC operating agreement makes it clear what each member's duty is in addition to their right and responsibilities.

Without an operating agreement, members are putting their assets at risk in case there are any legal issues that occur against the company. The document will separate the members from the business so they'll be protected from liability. The business will be responsible instead of the individual members. There are also tax benefits to having an operating agreement that are only available once the document has been completed and filed. 

Every member should carefully read through the entire document to make sure they agree with it. If there are any problems understanding the terms on the form, the company should get a consultation with an attorney so they can clarify it.

Types of LLC Operating Agreement

A multi-member operating agreement is used for businesses with more than one member. A single-member operating agreement is used when there's one owner.

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