Ohio Business Facts
97.9% of Ohio’s businesses are small businesses, and they employ 46.2% of Ohio’s employees. Cincinnati, Ohio, is the home of the first professional baseball team, the first professional city fire department, and the first ambulance service in the world. Ohio has a reputation as the birthplace of aviation, and today the state’s aerospace industry has an annual economic impact of more than $8 billion.
The city of Akron is known as the rubber capital of the world. The automotive industry is the state’s largest sector, and northeast Ohio is home to a large portion of auto assembly and auto part plants. Other industries with a strong foothold in Ohio include steel, agriculture, small appliances, and aerospace.
Ohio is the 34th-largest state, with a size of approximately 116,000 square miles. Milan, Ohio, was the birthplace of Thomas Edison. The cardinal is Ohio’s state bird, and the carnation is its state flower.
Major Companies in Ohio
Major Ohio businesses include Procter & Gamble, National City Corp, Kroger, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Cardinal Health, Marathon Petroleum, Nationwide, and American Electric Power.
Thanks to venture capital, Ohio is one of the top startup economies in the US, and the future for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state is bright. The state is rapidly transforming into an entrepreneurial hotspot, helped along by the revitalization of its automotive industry and the strong startup atmosphere of cities like Cleveland.
There are several types of business entities, the most popular being a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation. Your business entity determines how taxes are reported and paid. So it’s important to choose the right entity for your business. Below are the top 3 choices. You can contact an Accountant or Attorney to help you decide.
A DBA is just a name registered with your county and/or state business authorities. It allows you to do business with the registered name. However, a DBA is not an official business entity. If you want to protect personal assets, you’ll have to register a business – either an LLC or Corporation.
A Corporation is a separate entity from its owners. This means the Corporation separates business and personal assets, offering limited liability protection against business lawsuits and tax problems. The Corporation business structure can be complex and require more reporting and higher tax rates. This structure is usually only started for large startups or companies with a lot of employees. Some professions like law, medicine, and engineering may be required to form what is called a Professional Corporation.
An LLC is a hybrid type of business structure that offers what is called “pass-through” taxation and limited liability protection. The LLC structure is a separate entity that separates business and personal assets. But you don’t have to file a separate business tax return each year. Instead, LLC owners – called members or managers, file form Schedule C with their personal 1040 returns. Profits and expenses are recorded on the form and you just pay self-employment tax on your earnings.
Managing an LLC is simpler than a Corporation, making this entity type popular among entrepreneurs.
Learn more about business entities
Your name should spell out who you are and what products or services you provide. A catchy name with 2-3 words that are memorable usually gets the best exposure. Also, picking a name that won’t become obsolete will prevent future name changes.
Once you have a name or a few options, you’ll want to do a business entity search on Ohio’s state website. If the name is available, check the Internet to see if you find the same or similar name already in use.
IMPORTANT: Nationwide and international businesses need to be very careful not to use an existing business name.
You don’t need a patent attorney to research the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But you can save yourself a headache by searching both trademarks and patents for your business name. Make sure to check misspellings and other various spellings to clear your name effectively.
Once you have cleared a unique business name, you can form a company in Ohio. The most common business entity types are Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation. You can also file a DBA, but it is not a separate business entity and doesn’t offer any liability protection.
NOTE: Our Corporation Startup packages include Articles of Organization, all post-formation documents, and our exclusive Startup Wizard with every order. If documents need to be prepared, we’ll do the work and send them to you “ready for signature”. The Startup Wizard will also give you access to bank accounts, logos, and our Vendor Network.
Filing a DBA, short for “Doing Business As” must be completed with the county where you do business. You can contact the County Recorder to request forms and get help with the submission process. You can find the local county recorder’s office by searching “YOURCOUNTY county recorder”.
File an Ohio DBA Online
You can file your own paperwork by following the steps in this checklist. Or you can save time and money by ordering an Ohio Startup package. All orders are backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Read reviews from thousands of happy customers to see why so many startups start with MyCompanyWorks.
(Optional for DBAs without employees, but recommended to help prevent issues with your social security number)
A Federal Tax ID Number, also called an Employer ID Number, or EIN, is like a social security number for your business. Many business-related documents require an ID, either an EIN or a social security number. An EIN is required for both LLCs and Corporations. It’s optional for a DBA with no employees, but without it, you’ll be forced to use our personal social security number on official documents. You can apply online with the IRS, or add an EIN to any Ohio formation package.
NOTE: International business owners are required to apply by phone. We can also apply for you with any Ohio business order.
Keeping business and personal finances separate is critical to prevent tax potential tax and legal problems. With your formation paperwork and EIN in hand, you’re ready to open business bank and credit accounts. You can check with your local banks and online for the best business banking solutions. We also partner with trusted banking partners to make opening business accounts easier for our clients.
You can also apply for business credit cards, although you may not qualify right away. Business credit is based on several factors, and length of time in business is one of them. You may have to build a company credit profile to qualify for credit, but opening a business bank account is the first step. Your banker can help you apply for credit when you can qualify.
Typical business bank account requirements:
Top Ohio Business Banks
TIP: MyCompanyWorks startup packages include free business banking options.
Contact one of our Banking Partners to open an account
Now that your business is registered, it’s time to apply for state, county, and/or local business licenses and permits. Ohio has its own requirements when it comes to licensing. Contact the State to find out which licenses and/or permits need to be obtained.
Get help from our Business License partner
Insurance can vary by industry, but most US businesses require the following policies:
The key to running an organized business is to start your accounting and filing systems before you open your doors. In the event of an audit or lawsuit, it’s critical to be able to prove your practices. Keeping good records and clean books is the only way to do that. Get help from our Accounting and Finance guide. Learn more about accounting and taxes in our tax guide.
The length of time varies for how long to keep documents. Most business records should be kept for at least three years, and tax and financial records should be kept for no less than seven years. You can read our records guide for help. Whether you keep hard copies or save files to the cloud, it’s important to start your system at the beginning of business, to make finding them later easy.
Once your accounting and filing systems are set up, take some time to document your processes. This will allow your automate and systemize your company and give a new-hire everything needed to do the work for you. Processes like paying bills, payroll, and repetitive administrative tasks should all be documented for better training and easing the workload.
(Skip to Step 10 if you’re not hiring employees)
With an active Tax ID number and insurance in place, you’re ready to start recruiting help for your business. Ohio may also require you to register as an employer, but you can do that with your paperwork and start recruiting right away. Make sure to check with the State before you start recruiting.
Candidates are required to fill out forms I-9 and W-4 with proper identification to be paid as your employee.
If you have worked through this checklist, your business is registered, licensed, insured, and ready to open in Ohio. Now it’s time to create your company’s identity and advertise that you’re open for business. A logo, website, and social media accounts are necessary marketing tools in the digital age. More than 70% of consumers will only work with a business that has an active website, so it’s critical to create a standout web presence.
We offer a simple and affordable solution for email, domain, and website. You can also get a free logo when you order a formation package with us. Your website is like a modern-day yellow pages ad. Even if your site just has contact information and directions, it’s better than losing business over not having a website.
Learn more about marketing
Ohio does not require businesses to file an Annual Report.
DBA: Your “Doing Business As” name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change the company name or other information on the DBA) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Ohio does not require LLCs to file an Annual Report.
Corporation: Ohio does not require corporations to file an Annual Report.
Franchise Taxes: Ohio businesses are not required to pay an annual Franchise Tax.
MyCompanyWorks Premium™ can automate most of your recurring compliance tasks.
Ready to start a business in Ohio? Save time. Save money. File online today.
180 East Broad Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Ohio Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 530
Columbus, Ohio 43216-0530
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