How To Start An LLC In Ohio
To start an LLC in Ohio, you must file Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State. You can file the document online, by mail or in person. The Articles of Organization cost $99 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Ohio LLC. However, to actually ready the LLC to do business, you must complete several additional steps. Whether you want to try filing yourself or prefer to use our expert services, Northwest can help you start your Ohio LLC with confidence.
Ohio LLC Filing Options
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Ohio LLC Articles of Organization free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.
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Ohio LLC Articles of Organization Requirements
To form an Ohio LLC, you must complete and file the Articles of Organization with the Ohio 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 “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited,” or an abbreviation. Most businesses keep it short and simple with “LLC.”
If you want to push off your start date (for example, if the next tax period is on the horizon), you can list a future effective date up to 90 days in the future. Want your Ohio LLC to start right away? Skip this section.
To put a self-destruct timer on your LLC, enter an end date in this section. If you don’t put anything, your Ohio LLC will continue indefinitely. Tip: Most LLCs skip this section.
This is yet one more optional section. Your purpose is why your business is being created (in other words, what business activities your LLC plans to engage in). A general business purpose stating that the LLC is organized for any lawful purpose in the State of Ohio is sufficient. Tip: Most LLCs skip this section as well.
You can either list an individual (like yourself) or a business that provides statutory agent service. The Ohio street address where the agent will be available will become part of the permanent public record of your Ohio LLC. Hire Northwest, and our name and address will go here.
Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Your authorized representative is just the person you authorized to form and file your Articles of Organization. It could be a member, manager, or someone outside of the LLC. When you hire us, we’ll be your authorized representative.
How much does it cost to start an Ohio LLC?
The Ohio Secretary of State charges a $99 filing fee to submit your Ohio LLC Articles of Organization.
Hire Northwest, and your total, out-the-door cost is $324 ($424 with 2-day expediting), including state filing fees, registered agent service, lifetime customer support, and loads of useful forms and resources to help launch your Ohio LLC.
How long does it take to start an Ohio LLC?
If you need your Ohio LLC Articles of Organization processed ASAP, drive to Columbus and visit the Secretary of State’s Client Service Center in person. Pay an extra $300 for 4-hour expediting or $200 for 1-day expediting.
If you can wait an extra day, two-day expediting is only an extra $100 and is available for online filings. Standard processing takes 2-5 days.
If you hire Northwest to start your LLC, we file online and typically have your expedited Ohio LLC formed within 2 business days.
Does an Ohio LLC need a registered agent?
Absolutely. Ohio LLCs must appoint and maintain an Ohio statutory agent (also known as a registered agent). Some people appoint themselves as their LLC’s statutory agent to save a little cash—but the money you save doesn’t always compare to the privacy and freedom you give up. You have to list the address where you’ll be to accept legal notifications. This address then becomes a part of the permanent public record of your LLC, meaning you’ll end up on the lists of data sellers. Goodbye privacy, hello junk mail.
You’ll also have to actually be at the address you list during business hours. Business doesn’t just take place in the office, however. You have meetings to attend, errands to run, and occasionally just a trip out to Hocking Hills to get away from it all. At Northwest, we’ll help unchain you from your desk. When you sign up for our service, we list our address on your Ohio LLC Articles of Organization, and we’ll be there to accept, scan and send any legal notifications the same day.
Create the Ohio LLC Operating Agreement
Do I need an Operating Agreement?
Yes, yes, yes. While it’s not required by Ohio law (you don’t file operating agreements with the state), every LLC should have an operating agreement. Why? Operating agreements put in writing all of the most important things about your business. Who owns the business. How much each person invested. How profits and losses will be allocated. What happens if you shut it all down. Your operating agreement is your opportunity to set the terms of your business. It’s not just important; it’s critical.
Why is an Operating Agreement important?
Even if you’re the only person in your LLC, you’ll still want an operating agreement. For most people, starting a business is one of the biggest and riskiest endeavors of their lives. Major decisions about your business shouldn’t just be made up on the spot. Your operating agreement is a good opportunity to make carefully-considered decisions for the future of your LLC. And while your operating agreement is an internal document, it isn’t just for you. Your bank will want to see your operating agreement when you open an account or take on debt. Potential members, investors and partners will want to see it as well.
Do I have to write the Operating Agreement?
Starting a business takes a lot of work—but you don’t have to do it all on your own. When you hire Northwest to form your Ohio LLC, we give you a free operating agreement, specific to your management style. We give you other free forms as well: membership certificates, resolutions and more. We’ve spent years refining our forms and we’re pretty proud of them. We’re also proud to say that over a million LLCs have used our free LLC forms to help form and maintain their businesses.
Get an Ohio LLC EIN
Do I have to get a tax ID number (EIN)?
Your Ohio LLC must get an EIN from the IRS if you plan to hire employees or if you file certain federal excise taxes. You’ll need an EIN for a few other situations as well—opening a business bank account, establishing credit with vendors, and even registering with the Ohio Department of Taxation for taxes like the CAT. You could use your personal social security number instead, but why put your personal information at risk? There’s no filing fee if you apply for your EIN directly from the IRS, so there’s no reason not to get one. You can even hire Northwest to get your EIN for you when you sign up for our services.
Open a Bank Account for Your Ohio LLC
To open a bank account for your Ohio LLC, you will need to bring the following with you to the bank:
- A copy of the Ohio LLC Articles of Organization
- The LLC operating agreement
- The Ohio LLC’s EIN
If there are multiple members in the LLC, you may also want to bring an LLC resolution to open a bank account that states that the person going to the bank is authorized by the members to open the account in the name of the LLC. Northwest can help with this as well—LLC bank resolutions are one of the many free legal forms we provide to ensure you can get your LLC started fast.
We recommend calling your bank ahead of time before going in and asking what their requirements are. Most banks don’t open business 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 LLC need a business license?
Ohio doesn’t have a general, statewide business license, but some occupations require professional licenses, and some activities (like alcohol sales) require permits. Cities and counties have their own local licensing requirements as well. If any license applications require an EIN or a certified copy of your formation docs, Northwest can help. You can add on items like these during checkout or order them later on from inside your free account.
Does an Ohio LLC have to file annual reports?
No. Ohio doesn’t require LLCs to file a report, so there is no annual or biennial state filing fee for LLCs.
Pay the LLC Taxes
What are the Ohio LLC taxes?
The Ohio personal net income tax rates are:
0.50%: $0 to $5,249
0.99%: $5,250 to $10,499
1.98%: $10,500 to $15,799
2.48%: $15,800 to $21,099
2.97%: $21,100 to $42,099
3.46%: $42,100 to $84,199
3.96%: $84,200 to $105,299
4.60%: $105,300 to $210,599
The state sales tax is 5.75%. While there’s no city or town sales tax, counties can tack on an additional sales tax. As a result, the average total sales tax is just over 7%.
Ohio also has a Commercial Activity Tax for businesses with gross receipts of $150K or more. The CAT is a flat $150 for gross receipts up to a million bucks, but it jumps to $800 or more for businesses with over a million in gross receipts.
Want a bigger overview of state taxes? Check out our Ohio business taxes page. We also have many more free resources you can explore to help you manage your LLC. Free guides, free forms, and exceptional service—that’s Northwest.