How to Form an Ohio Limited Liability Company – Part I

By Drew Stevens - February 6, 2019 - Corporate & Business

As Columbus business formation attorneys, one of the more asked questions we get is how to file an Ohio LLC. Given the relative informality, flexibility, and low filings costs (compared to certain other states), forming an Ohio LLC can be a great choice for startups and companies in a variety of sectors, including software, technology, manufacturing, construction, and eCommerce.

To form an Ohio LLC, you typically need at minimum three things: the articles of organization, an EIN, and an operating agreement. Here, we’ll take a look at the articles of organization and the EIN.

What are Ohio Articles of Organization?

The articles of organization are the primary document that establishes your startup or business with the state. In Ohio, the articles of organization are filed with the Ohio Secretary of State.

At the time of writing this article, the filing fee is $99 and the form number is 533A. Unlike some other states, Ohio does not assess any annual renewal fees to maintain the limited liability company.

The articles of organization and form 533A will ask for some basic information concerning your company. With the company name, keep in mind that the full legal name (which can be different than the doing business as or DBA name) must include the words “limited liability company”, “LLC”, “LTD”, or other similar variations.

The articles of organization also ask for the effective date, period of existence, and purpose clause, all of which are optional. With the effective date, if you leave the space blank, the effective date will be the date the articles are filed. Finally, the articles of organization will ask for a statutory agent – this is the person or entity the Ohio Secretary of State will use for notifications from third parties. Remember that all the information you provide with the articles of organization is public information.

Of final note with the articles of organization, be sure to take some time to search the Ohio Secretary of State for your chosen business name, prior to filing. If you file a name that is too similar to a business that has already filed, you risk being rejected by the Ohio Secretary of State.

It may also be worth your time to search with United States Patent and Trademark office and its Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). If your business name is substantially similar to that of a trademark that has been registered, you could earn yourself a cease and desist letter and be dragged into an infringement dispute.

How to Apply for the EIN and EIN Cost

The EIN is the employer identification number that you are assigned from the Internal Revenue Service. The EIN is essentially the social security number for your business. Once you secure your EIN, you can open a bank account in your startup’s name.

The EIN application will ask for contact information, including an address, phone number, and EIN or social security number of the party filing for the EIN. The EIN application will also ask for information on your new business, including the state of filing and when the business was filed. The IRS will also classify your business and ask for the general industry and sector that your business is in. There is no filing fee for the EIN.

Ask a Business Attorney Columbus Ohio

If you feel that you are running into issues with your Ohio articles of organization or your EIN application, we can put you in touch with a Columbus business law lawyer at our firm today.


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