Last Updated 21 August 2017 | By:

How to Form a Corporation in Ohio

(7 Simple Steps)

How to Use this Guide

Use our free guide below to incorporate in Ohio or have a reliable service do it for you:

IncFile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick incorporation.

LegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular incorporation service available.

Step 1) Verify & Secure Brand Name

Choose a Business NameTo secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in Ohio, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of State and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your name must contain words like “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited”. Abbreviations like “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can submit a Name Reservation form with the state.

Filing Fee: 39 (expedited options available)

Step 2) Appoint A Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentAn Ohio registered agent is an intermediary who is responsible for officially receiving and helping to handle/process important paperwork like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. They can either be an individual residing in Ohio or any business entity, domestic or foreign, legally registered with the Secretary of State.

They’ll also need a physical street address; however, an individual agent may provide a certified P.O. Box after proving Ohio citizenship. So you can either appoint an agent or hire an outside professional and pay up to $160/year, or get one free of charge when incorporating through IncFile or Incorporate.com.

Step 3) File Articles Of Incorporation

Register an LLCWith a registered agent, once you’re ready to make your brand official, set up an account with the state to file Articles of Incorporation. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:

  • Name and address of the corporation;
  • Name, address as well as signature of the Ohio registered agent;
  • Number of shares authorized for issuance by the corporation;
  • The initial stated capital amount;

Filing Fee: $125

Step 4) Get A Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsThink of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

Step 5) Elect Director, Meet, Discuss Bylaws

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAppoint at least 1 initial Director who among other things will oversee the Ohio corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

Step 6) Open A Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountKeeping tabs on the cash flow, finances, and expenses of your business can be a tedious process. Maintaining a unique and branded business bank account can help lessen the burdens of sorting/tracking, so make sure to open a separate bank account for your Ohio Corporation as discussed in your initial meeting.

If you haven’t appointed a CFO yet, be sure you understand your options in terms of local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. Here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.

Step 7) Handle Taxation & Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesAs a legally starting an Ohio corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least be working with a professional filing service. Otherwise, here are four resources to get started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Ohio Business Gateway and for taxes, the Ohio Dept. of Taxation website.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional license research services that handle the legwork for you.

Need Help Incorporating?

How to form a corporationIf you’d prefer to have a reliable service incorporate in Ohio for you, here are the two most popular services:

IncFile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick incorporation.

LegalZoom ($149 + state fee) for the most popular incorporation service available.