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Ohio Corporation Service We’re Just Not Annoying®

How to Start a Corporation in Ohio

To start an Ohio corporation, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State and pay a $99 minimum filing fee. While this filing creates your business, it’s really just the first step to launching your Ohio corporation. The complete steps to incorporating in the Buckeye State are as follows:

  1. File Ohio Articles of Incorporation
  2. Pay the Ohio Secretary of State a minimum of $99
  3. Wait to receive your approved Articles
  4. Get a federal tax ID (EIN) for the corporation
  5. Create Ohio corporate bylaws
  6. Take these documents to the bank and get an Ohio corporate bank account
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Ohio Articles of Incorporation free download. When you're done filling out the form, submit it to your state.

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Documents & Forms

How to File Ohio Articles of Incorporation

To form an Ohio corporation, you file the Articles of Incorporation in the following steps:
Step 1 Choose a name for your new corporation
Step 2 List the Ohio city and county of your main office
Step 3 Decide when you want your corporation to start
Step 4 Decide how many shares to authorize and their par value
Step 5 List the amount of any initial stated capital
Step 6 Decide if you want to hire a registered agent service to minimize public disclosures
Step 7 Choose an incorporator to sign and submit your Articles
Step 8 File online and pay with a credit card or mail to the Ohio Secretary of State at PO Box 670 (or PO Box 1390 for expedited filings), Columbus OH 43216 with a check or money order

How Long Does it Take to Start an Ohio Corporation?

1

Fastest: 1 Day

The fastest expediting options are only available in person. This means driving to Columbus, waiting in line and shelling out $300 for 4-hour expediting (or $200 for 1-day expediting).

2

Almost Fastest (and much easier): 2 Days

2-day expediting is a much more reasonable $100 and doesn’t require a trip to Columbus. File online, by mail, or—better yet—let us do the heavy lifting and hire Northwest to prepare and file your Articles for you.

5

Not Too Shabby: 5 Days

Save yourself the extra fees and forgo expediting. File yourself or with Northwest and your filing will be processed in a few business days.

What is the Cost of 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.

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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.

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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:

Columbus: 7.5%
Cleveland: 8%
Cincinnati: 6.5%
Toledo: 7.25%
Akron: 6.75%

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Is a Registered Agent Required for an Ohio Corporation?

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.

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Ohio Corporation Versus Ohio LLC:

State fees, and even state taxes, are similar for both Ohio corporations and LLCs. To form either entity is typically $99 (although corporations pay more if they have over 990 shares). Ohio doesn’t require regular corporations or LLCs to file annual or biennial reports. Ohio doesn’t have a corporate income tax either, so state taxes tend to be pretty similar as well.

So why choose a corporation over an LLC? Corporations have a few advantages. For instance, corporations have stock, which can be useful for quickly raising capital. Preferred stock can also be more attractive to cautious investors. Corporations have been around much longer than LLCs, which can make them more familiar and comfortable. It also means they have a longer legal history—with decades of court precedents, corporations have more guidance for complex legal decisions. LLCs, on the other hand, are simpler in design, so they can be easier, especially for those new to the business world. Considering an Ohio LLC? Here’s information on starting an LLC in Ohio.

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Do I Need a Tax ID Number (EIN) for an Ohio Corporation?

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.

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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.

Does an Ohio Corporation 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.

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.

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.

Ohio Articles of Incorporation Requirements

Business Name

Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Company” or an abbreviation for one of these words. Tip: Most corporations go with “Corp” or “Inc.”

Principal Office

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.

Effective Date

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.

Authorized Shares

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.

Initial Stated Capital

Stated capital is the combined par value of all issued shares. If your corporation has initial stated capital, list the amount in your Articles.

Statutory Agent and Address

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.

Ohio Incorporator

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.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®