Ohio Incorporation Services
To start a corporation in Ohio, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. You can file the document online or by mail. The Articles of Incorporation cost a minimum of $99 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Ohio corporation. However, to actually ready the corporation to do business, you must complete several additional steps.
Ohio Corporation Filing Options
Skip the state fees! Get an Ohio corporation and the best of our services today. Includes EIN, hassle-free maintenance, business address & mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, local Corporate Guide® service, and everything you need to operate at full capacity.
Do It Yourself
Sign up for a free account and use our online tools to start your Ohio corporation today. Includes Ohio incorporation and maintenance walkthrough and company document creation. All for free.
Pay in Full
Includes Ohio corporation, business address & free mail forwarding, Privacy by Default®, lifetime support from local Corporate Guides® and a year of registered agent service.
Ohio Articles of Incorporation Requirements
To form an Ohio corporation, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. See the document below and click on any number to see what information is required in the corresponding section.
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations go with “Corp” or “Inc.”
You don’t need to include a street address or even an address at all—just the Ohio city and county where your main office is located.
Skip this section if you’d like your corporation to begin right away. If you’d prefer to start on a specific date (maybe the next tax period is on the horizon), you can list an effective date up to 90 days in the future. Tip: Most corporations skip this section.
For each share type, list how many shares you’re creating and their par value. Par value is the face value of the share—the amount listed on stock certificates. Par value is also typically the lowest value at which a share will be traded. If your shares don’t have par value, you can leave the “par value” section blank. If you have multiple classes of shares, you’ll also need to attach an explanation of the rights and limitations for each class.
Stated capital is the combined par value of all issued shares. If your corporation has initial stated capital, list the amount in your Articles.
Your statutory agent (also called a “registered agent”) accepts legal notifications on behalf of your corporation. You can list an individual Ohio resident (like yourself) or a business (like Northwest). Tip: We recommend Northwest.
Your incorporator signs your Articles of Incorporation. You must have at least one incorporator, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be anyone in your corporation—just someone you authorize to submit your Articles. Tip: We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest to form your Ohio corporation.
How much does it cost to start an Ohio corporation?
The minimum filing fee for Ohio Articles of Incorporation is $99 for up to 990 shares. Have more than 990 shares? There’s a per share fee that varies from 10 cents a share to a quarter cent a share.
Hire Northwest to form your Ohio corporation and your total out-the-door cost is $324 ($424 expedited) for up to 990 shares, including state fees, a year of registered agent service and loads of useful tools and forms.
How much does a corporation in Ohio cost each year?
$0—at least when it comes to state filing fees. Unlike professional corporations or associations, regular profit corporations aren’t required to file an Ohio Biennial Report.
How long does it take to start an Ohio corporation?
Around 5-7 days without expediting. Add $100 for 3-day expediting, $200 for 1-day expediting or $300 for 4-hour expediting.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your expedited Ohio corporation formed within 3 business days.
Does an Ohio corporation need a registered agent?
Yes, your corporation is required to have an Ohio statutory agent (also known as a “registered agent”). Your registered or statutory agent accepts legal notifications on behalf of your corporation. While it may sound like a cake job, the position comes with a few serious headaches. Agents have to list the address where they’ll be available in the Articles of Incorporation. Because your Articles are public, any data seller, solicitor or general busybody will be able to see the address listed. Also, agents are supposed to be regularly available at the address listed—and no one wants to be tied to the desk.
A better option? Us. When you sign up for our services, you can maintain your address privacy with our registered office address. We’ll accept, scan and send your legal notices the same day. You can stay on top of your business, wherever you are—whether that’s sitting in a board meeting or on the fifty-yard line.
Create Bylaws for Your Ohio Corporation
Do I need bylaws?
Ohio defines “bylaws” a little differently than most states. Typically, bylaws are the internal rules and processes of your corporation as a whole, but the Ohio Revised Code calls these “regulations” and uses “bylaws” to refer to the rules specifically for your board of directors. Whatever you call them, your corporation should take the time to write internal rules for your corporation.
Why are corporate bylaws important?
Your corporation is under the direction of your directors—but who are they? How are they selected or replaced? How many board members are needed to vote on a resolution? What authority will officers have? Will you have vice-presidents or assistant officers? Can an officer go open a corporate bank account on their own, or is that something that would require more approvals or signatures? Who can call a meeting? These are the kinds of questions your Ohio corporation may want to consider.
How do I begin writing bylaws?
Creating bylaws or regulations is tough, but Northwest is by your side. When you hire us to form your Ohio corporation, we’ll give you free corporate bylaws/regulations, as well other useful forms, like resolutions and meeting minute templates. Let us help you start out on the right foot. Check out the free corporate forms we provide to help corporations form and maintain their businesses.
Get an EIN for Your Ohio Corporation
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Yes, your Ohio corporation will need to get a federal tax ID (also called an EIN or FEIN) from the IRS. This ID number is used to identify your corporation on federal tax filings, much like a social security number.
How do you get an EIN? You can fill out the IRS’s application for no fee. If you’d rather avoid yet more paperwork, you can hire Northwest to get your EIN for you—just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our Ohio incorporation service.
Open a Bank Account for Your Ohio Corporation
To open a corporate bank account, you will need to bring the following to the bank:
- A copy of the Ohio corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
- The Ohio corporation’s bylaws
- The Ohio corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open corporate accounts nearly as frequently as personal accounts, so some bankers may be unfamiliar with their own bank’s requirements. As frustrating as that may be for you, calling ahead will help save you from being super annoyed when you walk into the bank.
Obtain a Business License
Does an Ohio corporation need a business license?
The state itself doesn’t have a general business license (and neither do most cities or counties). Local licensing requirements typically depend on your corporation’s specific business activities. For example, Cincinnati requires specialty licenses for a variety of businesses, from antique dealers to theaters.
Pay Corporate Taxes
What are the taxes for an Ohio corporation?
Ohio is one of the few states that doesn’t have a corporate net income tax—but don’t jump for joy just yet. Instead, Ohio has a gross receipts tax called the commercial activity tax (CAT). The CAT applies to all business types with over $150K in gross receipts. The CAT rate is a flat $150 for up to $1 million in gross receipts but increases substantially thereafter.
Ohio’s sales tax rate is 5.75%. However, there are also county and specialty sales tax rates in some areas. To get an idea of what customers actually pay at the counter, below are the total sales tax rates for the 5 largest cities in Ohio: