1. Advantages of Forming an Ohio LLC
2. Steps to Start an LLC in Ohio
3. Filing Your Paperwork
4. Setting up Your Business

Advantages of Forming an Ohio LLC

Ohio LLC registration is a good option for small businesses that want the tax advantages of a corporation without the management and administrative restrictions. You can file with the state online in as little as an hour using the intuitive software system. With an LLC, or limited liability company, your business debts and obligations are separate from your personal assets. This means your personal liability is limited and your home and car cannot be seized to pay for a legal judgment, for example.

Ohio does not require LLCs to hold annual meetings, adhere to complicated rules, or appoint boards of directors. Little paperwork is required, and profits and losses can be reported on your individual tax return.

Steps to Start an LLC in Ohio

  • First, create a name for your LLC that reflects your industry and brand. It must distinguish your company from other businesses registered in Ohio. The name must end with the words Limited Liability Company, LLC, or Ltd. Liability Co. 
  • You should check your preferred name for availability with the Secretary of State before registering your LLC. Once you have selected a name, file Name Registration Form 534A, which can be downloaded from the Secretary of State website. This form reserves the name for 180 days and requires a $50 filing fee.
  • File the Articles of Organization to register your LLC. This can be done online or by mail and requires a fee of $125 to file. This form requires the name and address of the LLC, the registered agent's name, address, and signature, the period of duration for the LLC if applicable, and the dissolution date if applicable.
  • An Ohio LLC must have a street address but it does not necessarily need to be in the state. This can be a home address for a home-based business, an office address, or even a PO Box.
  • A registered agent is a person or organization designated to receive official financial and legal correspondence on behalf of the LLC and responsible for filing required reports with the state. Whether the registered agent is the LLC owner, a manager, or a professional service, he or she must have a physical street address in Ohio and be available during regular business hours. 
  • The name and address of the registered agent are on public record through the Secretary of State, so you may choose to use a professional service to maintain your privacy. In Ohio, the registered agent is referred to as a statutory agent.

Filing Your Paperwork

Ohio offers new businesses the option of a preclearance filing, which will inform owners about the acceptability of their proposed LLC. The fee for this service is $50 and processing takes two business days. You can mail the paperwork to PO Box 670, Columbus OH 43216, or submit it in person at 180 East Broad Street, Suite 103 in Columbus. 

The filing fee for your LLC registration is $125, payable with a check made out to Secretary of State. Articles of Organization will be processed within three to seven business days if you select regular service, which carries no additional fee. You can receive expedited service for an additional fee of $100 for processing within two business days. Clearly mark your envelope with the word EXPEDITE and mail it to the Business Services Division, PO Box 1390, Columbus OH 43216. 

Same-day processing carries an additional $200 fee and your paperwork must be hand-delivered to the Client Service Center at the address above. This service allows paperwork to be processed within four hours when received before 1 p.m. and by the next morning if delivered after 1 p.m.

Setting up Your Business

Ohio does not require LLCs to file an operating agreement with the Secretary of State, but having one is recommended if your LLC has more than one member. Your operating agreement will be recognized as a legally governing document by the state. This document should detail the division of the LLC's assets and liabilities among members and should list the names and addresses of each member, their rights and responsibilities, procedures for voting and resolving disagreements, member buyout provisions, and management procedures.

If you need help with Ohio LLC registration, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.