The only bookmark you need if you ever want to start a business 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 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Picking a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that, the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Ohio, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Ohio state databases:
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and picked your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Ohio.
DBAs in Ohio are filed with the county. You’ll want to contact your local County Recorder to find out exactly what forms to submit and what they’re submission process is. You can find the local county recorder’s office by searching “YOURCOUNTY county recorder”.
NOTE: Our Corporation formation package includes not only filing the Articles of Organization (we’ll prepare and submit them to the state) but all the necessary post-formation documents completed and personalized to you “ready for signature” as well as our exclusive Startup Wizard which guides you through the complete startup process from formation to bank accounts, logos and more.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
You can read more about corporate tax laws in Ohio on the Ohio Department of Revenue site.
NOTE: We can obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
Tip: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
Ohio does not require businesses to file an annual report.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Ohio LLCs are required to pay a Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) if they have gross receipts of $150,000 or more. The minimum tax is $150. This must be filed online.
Corporation: Like LLCs, Ohio corporations are required to pay a Commercial Activity Tax if they have gross receipts of $150,000 or more. The minimum tax is $150. This must be filed online.
Franchise Taxes: Ohio businesses are not required to pay an annual franchise tax.