Looking to start a business in Ohio? There's no better way to do it than creating a limited liability company. LLCs offer reliable asset protection, transparent taxation, and a simple registration procedure (for a step-by-step guide on how to create an LLC in Ohio click here).
Another benefit of a limited liability company is it's quite cheap to start and maintain, and in this article, we are going to calculate the exact budget for your Ohio-based LLC.
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An LLC becomes legal when the Secretary of State approves the Articles of Organization. It's a document that contains basic information about your company, such as its business name, address, registered agent, and list of owners.
To file the Articles of Organization in Ohio online (average processing time: 2-3 days), you can use a convenient Business Filings portal.
To file the Articles physically (average processing time: 5-7 days), you need to download and fill in Form 610, and then mail it to:
P.O. Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216
The cost of regular filings (online and by mail) is $99.
The Secretary of State also offers 3 expedited options to reduce the processing time of all business filings:
Note: if you choose the 2-day service for a mail application, you'll need to send the letter to a different address:
P.O. Box 1390
Columbus, OH 43216
Operating a limited liability company in Ohio is legally impossible without a registered (statutory) agent. Agents play a key role in keeping your business compliant and up-to-date with all major deadlines, but the good ones are not cheap.
The average cost of a registered agent in Ohio is $150 per year.
Tip: agent services can be completely free if you elect to act as your own agent, but it's very restricting and stressful, so we do not recommend this.
Read our detailed guide on the most popular registered agents in Ohio to make a smart choice and get the most bang for your buck.
Active limited liability companies coming to Ohio from other states have to be registered as foreign LLCs to have the right to operate there legally. To do that, the organizer must file a Registration of a Foreign Limited Liability Company (Form 617) with the Ohio Secretary of State.
The filing procedure, including expedited options, and registration fee for foreign LLCs are the same as for domestic companies ($99).
Licensed specialists, such as doctors, accountants, architects, engineers, etc., who wish to sell their services in Ohio need to create a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC).
Professional companies offer the same benefits as regular limited liability companies with one exception: each member of a PLLC is only liable for their personal actions and does not share responsibility for any malpractice by other members.
The PLLC registration fee in Ohio is the same as for domestic LLCs – $99.
On February 11, 2022, Ohio became the 15th state that allows the creation of a Series LLC. It's a legal entity that allows its owners (for example, real estate investors) to allocate and protect personal assets to unlimited independent "series".
However, instead of creating multiple limited liability companies, this can be organized under a single business structure.
The registration of a Series LLC is identical to standard Domestic company filings, but the Series status must be specified in the Articles of Organization.
The filing fee is $99.
In 2005, the state of Ohio introduced the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT), which requires all for-profit businesses that exceed $150,000 in annual gross receipts to pay for the privilege of operating in OH.
The minimum CAT rates for Ohio limited liability companies are as follows:
|Taxable Gross Receipt (TGR)||Minimum Tax||CAT|
|$1,000,001–$2,000,000||$800||0.26% x (TGR – $1,000,000)|
|$2,000,001–$4,000,000||$2,100||0.26% x (TGR – $1,000,000)|
|$4,000,001 or more||$2,600||0.26% x (TGR – $1,000,000)|
To register for CAT online, visit Ohio Business Gateway.
Note: Ohio is one of the last states that impose CAT on businesses and it's expected to drop the tax completely by 2026.
Like other legal entities based in Ohio, LLCs usually require a certain set of licenses and permits. This depends on the company's location and sphere of business.
Pro tip: If you want to learn more about business permits and professional licenses and find out which ones you should get for your LLC, check our expert guide.
There are several optional services that LLC owners in Ohio can use to their advantage. Some of them are:
Prior to LLC registration, you can reserve the desired name for your LLC to prevent other companies from taking it for 180 days.
Download and fill in the Name Registration/Transfer/Cancellation form (534B), and then submit it online or mail it to the standard address for Ohio business documents (see above).
Name management pricing:
Pro tip: if you want to register a foreign LLC in Ohio, it's recommended to reserve the business name in advance since the name your company uses in the original state of registration might already be taken in OH.
All Ohio LLCs are required to operate under their original name, however, you can add one or more business names for legal use by registering a trade/fictitious name known as DBA ("doing business as").
For example, you can open a car repair service under the name "Mike's Garage" instead of using the official company name which sometimes may be too long and awkward ("Michael Williams Car Repair Service L.L.C.").
The cost of filing the Name Registration form (534A) is $39.
You can request certification or a copy of your business documents from the Secretary of State by filing Form 500 to the following address:
PO Box 1329
Columbus, OH 43216