Ohio corporations are businesses that have incorporated in the state of Ohio. Just like all states, Ohio has specific rules and requirements for corporations doing business within their borders, whether as domestic or foreign corporations. Starting a corporation in Ohio is simple when you know what you need to do.

Corporate Naming

The names of corporations in Ohio are subject to several rules. First, the name has to be different from other business names in the state. To be sure your desired name is available for use, you'll want to perform a business name search through the state's Secretary of State website. All business entities in the state are on file there, so you'll be able to get thorough results through that search. If you find that your name is available for use, you can reserve it for 180 days by paying a $50 fee.

Your corporate name is also required to use one of the following words or an accepted form thereof:

  • Corporation
  • Company
  • Incorporated

Corporations cannot use names that make it seem like they have certifications or specialties they don't actually have. For instance, you cannot use the words "legal services" in your business name, unless you actually intend to provide legal services and are licensed to do so in Ohio.

There are some words you must avoid when naming a company because they are too similar to names of government agencies. Words like "post office," "federal," "agency," and others are not allowed to be used in corporate names. This provides the necessary clarity for potential customers and clients, so be sure to follow the rules for business names in Ohio.

Articles of Incorporation

To register a corporation in Ohio officially, you need to file articles of incorporation with the state through their business filings department. Articles of incorporation need to include basic information about your corporation, such as:

  • Business name and address
  • Registered agent information and signature
  • Start and end date of the corporation (unless it intends to be perpetual)
  • Number of corporate shares authorized for issuing
  • Initial capital amount

Articles of incorporation may be filed online or in person. You'll need to also pay a filing fee of $125. If you want to expedite this process to take two days instead of five, you can pay an additional fee of $100.

Registered Agent

A registered agent is a person who accepts legal correspondence on behalf of a business or individual. If a corporation is sued, the service of process documents will be delivered to its registered agent. Ohio registered agents must live in the state or be a business, domestic or foreign, which is registered in the state.

If the registered agent is not a resident of Ohio, he or she needs to provide an Ohio address where the service of process may be sent. PO boxes are allowed, but this must be clearly marked on the registration form. There are professional services that provide registered agents for a fee, or a business owner can be his or her own registered agent.

Corporate Records Book

When forming a corporation in Ohio, you'll also want to create a corporate records book. This will contain any important documents such as:

These records should be kept in a safe place at the main place of business for the corporation. Some business owners make record books using binders; others purchase corporate records kits from legal supplies companies.

Taxation and Regulatory Requirements

It's important to understand the taxation and the regular requirements of corporations before deciding to start one. You'll first need to obtain an EIN, or an employer identification number, through the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). This number will be used on tax forms and to open a business bank account.

Ohio corporations are required to file corporate taxes on a regular basis, as well as pay the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax at 0.26 percent. They also must obtain all the necessary licenses for corporations registered in Ohio and any additional licenses or certifications required for their particular type of business. Ohio requires its corporations to file biennial reports with a $25 filing fee. This is easier than many states, which require annual reports and much higher fees.

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