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Start a Business in Ohio

Starting a business in Ohio is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Ohio Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Ohio business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Ohio LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • OH registered agent service

  • Ohio business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Ohio Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.6 / 5 stars by 427 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Ohio


You file articles of incorporation for an Ohio corporation or articles of organization for an Ohio LLC with the OH Secretary of State.

Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Ohio showing your approved Ohio business.

Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Ohio business name should be easy with these two items.

Department of Taxation

Next register with the OH Department of Taxation. They can help you determine your state and local tax requirements.

Ohio Business Gateway

You can use the online Ohio Business Gateway to find out which licenses and permits your business needs. Ohio doesn’t have a general state business license requirement.

New Hire Reporting Center

If you have employees, contact the Ohio New Hire Reporting Center and the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.


If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Going

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Ohio yourself, you can just hire us as your Ohio registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Ohio LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate an Ohio corporation or form a Ohio LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Ohio registered agent service.


Ohio LLC vs Corporation

Owners of large businesses often choose corporations because they have a well-established management structure. Plus, having the ability to sell stock helps attract strong investors. LLCs are good for small to medium-sized businesses. They also have fewer annual requirements and are easier to maintain.

But, what about Ohio? Any pros and cons for an Ohio LLC vs an Ohio corporation?

In terms of initial fees and maintenance costs, there aren’t any advantages to starting an Ohio LLC versus an Ohio corporation. The Articles of Incorporation and Articles of Organization both cost $99 to file. Also, neither entity will be required to file an annual or biennial report. However, during tax season, high earning LLCs and corporations have the potential to get hit fairly hard.

Ohio imposes all businesses with a Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) based on gross receipts; however, if your annual income is less than $150,000 then you’ll be exempt. On the other hand, corporations and LLCs that earn a high revenue will have to pay upwards of $2,600. Personal income rates are fairly steep as well. Although the rate starts out at 0% for taxable income under $21,750, rates jump up quickly thereafter. The top marginal rate is $7,999.84 + 4.797% of income over $217,400.

LLCs in Ohio have strong protection against creditors. Although they can obtain a charging order, putting a lien on a debtor’s interest, they cannot force the LLC to make any distributions. Definitely a plus for starting an Ohio LLC.

If you want a corporation, you file Ohio Articles of Incorporation:

The Ohio articles of incorporation cost $99 with the Ohio Secretary of State. We custom draft your Ohio articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Ohio business.

The basic requirements of Ohio corporations are:

  • The Ohio corporation must have a corporate ending such as incorporated, corporation or an abbreviation thereof.
  • The duration of the corporation is “perpetual” unless otherwise stated.
  • The purpose of the Ohio corporation.
  • The number of shares the Ohio corporation is authorized to issue and par value.
  • The name of the registered agent in Ohio and the registered office address.
  • The name and address of the directors of the Ohio corporation.
  • The name and address of the Ohio incorporators.
  • Date of execution.
  • The Ohio incorporator must sign the articles of incorporation.
  • The name and business address of the person preparing the OH articles of incorporation

Ohio does not require original signatures on new OH corporation filings. The filing will be returned to the address on the cover letter or the check.

Start Your Ohio Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Ohio Articles of Organization:

To form an Ohio LLC, you file Ohio articles of organization and pay the $99 filing fee. The basic requirements of Ohio LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a limited liability company ending or variation of it such as LLC, L.L.C.
  • The Ohio business name must be different than already registered Ohio businesses.
  • The duration of the Ohio LLC, (Usually perpetual.)
  • Ohio limited liability companies do not need to state a LLC purpose.
  • The Ohio registered agent and the physical address.
  • The names and addresses of the initial member(s) are not required
  • If the OH limited liability company is to be managed by one or more managers, you must specify this management structure.  Managers names are not required.
  • Someone must sign as the OH LLC organizer.

Ohio does not require original signatures on new OH LLC filings. Ohio Secretary of State will return the filing to the address on the cover letter or the address on the check.

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