How To Incorporate In Ohio

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1. Choose a Name for Your Ohio Corporation

Check on Available Names in Ohio: Before you file to incorporate your small business in the state of Ohio, you need to find a name for your corporation that is unique. The name that you choose cannot be in use by another registered corporation. To find out if the name that you want to use for your corporation is available, you should search records online and in archives and catalogs. There is a database of registered corporations in the state of Ohio that you can search online at Ohio Corporation.

Reserve a Corporate Name: You do not need to reserve a corporate name before you file Articles of Incorporation in Ohio, but you can reserve a particular name by submitting a name reservation application to the office of the Ohio Secretary of State. Reserving a name can be helpful if you are not planning to file right away and you want to reserve a particular name until the time that you do file. The application form is available online at Reserve a Ohio Corporation Name. There is a $50.00 filing fee. The corporate name that you indicate will be reserved for 180 days.

Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: Even if a particular corporate name is available in the state of Ohio, a corporation in another state could be using the same name. You may find that there are some restrictions on how you use the corporate name that you have chosen. Consult an attorney to learn what these restrictions could be and how you can take steps to trademark the corporate name that you have chosen.

Ohio Corporate Name Requirements: When you are deciding on a name for your corporation, keep in mind that in the state of Ohio corporate names must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “company” or an abbreviation of one of these words.

2. Find a Statutory Agent in Ohio

You also need to choose a statutory agent for your corporation before you can file to incorporate. The statutory agent that you choose will act as an agent for service of process and receive all legal and tax documents for your corporation.  You can indicate an adult resident of Ohio or a corporation as your statutory agent. Your corporation cannot act as its own statutory agent.

3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements: When you are ready to incorporate your small business, you should file Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State. You can access a form for this document online at Ohio Corporation Set Up. The Articles of Incorporation of your corporation will need to include the name of your corporation, the address of your initial Ohio office, the name and address of your statutory agent, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, and the name and address of each incorporator. The document must be signed by all of the incorporators and your statutory agent before you submit the document to the Secretary of State.

Other Ohio Legal Provisions: In your Articles of Incorporation you should consider including additional provisions to go along with the minimum requirements listed above. Consult an attorney when you are thinking about which additional provisions you should include. An attorney can help you to include the additional legal provisions that are relevant and beneficial to your corporation.

Where to Submit Form: You should mail the signed Articles of Incorporation document to the Secretary of State, P.O. Box 670, Columbus, OH 43216.

Filing Fee: The initial filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in Ohio is $125.00.

4. Create Other Ohio Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)

Once you file Articles of Incorporation to incorporate your small business, you can begin to take other actions in your corporation such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring the appropriate business license. You can also begin to create other types of corporate documents like buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what happens if an owner decides to leave the company. These types of corporate documents can be very useful, especially if your corporation has multiple owners. Consult an attorney when it is time to draft these documents so that you can be sure that you are in compliance with all legal requirements. Note that there are also corporate service companies that can help you to draft these types of corporate documents.

5. Qualify Your Ohio Corporation to Do Business in Other States

You will find that you need to qualify your corporation to do business in other states. If your corporation’s main office is located in another state, you will need to qualify your corporation to do business in that state. You most likely will be required to pay taxes in your home state. There is more information about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states available online at Doing Business in other states.

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Ohio

The state of Ohio does not require corporations to file an annual report. However, you might want to contact the office of the Secretary of State to find out if there are any other periodic filings that you need to make for your corporation.

Once your corporation is registered in Ohio, your corporation is subject to Ohio state income taxes. You must file a corporate income tax form with the state and pay the required income taxes each year. You can find information about the corporate tax in Ohio online at the official website of the Ohio Department of Taxation: Ohio Corporation Tax. It is recommended that you ask a professional accountant to prepare your tax documents so that you avoid mistakes in the preparation of your tax documents. Mistakes in your tax documents could cost you extra taxes.

There are many decisions to be made when incorporating a small business. These decisions are often complex, especially when a corporation has multiple owners. Consult an attorney and an accountant when you are incorporating your own small business so that you can have confidence that the paperwork for your corporation is being prepared correctly.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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