Ohio LLC Articles of Organization

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Quick Start Guide
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Ohio.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Ohio LLC Costs:
Ohio LLC filing fee: $99
Ohio LLC annual report fee: none

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in Ohio:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

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File the Articles of Organization to form an LLC in Ohio

In this lesson, we will walk you through filing your Articles of Organization with the Ohio Secretary of State.

The Articles of Organization, once approved, is the document that officially forms your Ohio LLC.

Ohio LLC Secretary of State Business Services
(Ohio Secretary of State, Business Services Building)

Ohio LLC filing fee

The fee to create an LLC in Ohio is $99. This is a one-time filing fee.

The Ohio LLC filing fee used to be $125, but in 2015, the state reduced it to $99 via Senate Bill 26 and House Bill 3.

Note: The “LLC filing fee” (the fee to create an Ohio LLC) is the same thing as the “Articles of Organization fee”. Again, the Articles of Organization is the document – that once approved by the Secretary of State’s office – creates your Ohio LLC.

Filing methods for an Ohio LLC

You can form an LLC in Ohio:

  • by mail
  • online
  • walk-in filing

The $99 filing fee remains the same regardless of which method you choose.

Note: Since walk-in filing is the least commonly used, we don’t include instructions in this lesson. If you would like to do a walk-in filing, you can call the Ohio Secretary of State for instructions at 614-466-3910.

Ohio LLC approval times

For online filing:

  • If you file your Ohio LLC online, the approval time is usually 2-3 business days.
  • However, the approval time is based on the volume of filings.
  • Often filings can be approved in 2 days or sometimes the same day.
  • However, if the Secretary of State is busy, approval can take up to 3-4 business days.

For mail filing:

  • If you file your Ohio LLC by mail, it will be approved in 3-7 business days.
  • This does not include mail time, which can take a few additional days.

Note: Filing times may take longer due to the current global situation and government delays. For the most up-to-date LLC processing times, check how long does it take to get an LLC in Ohio.

LLC University® recommendation

We recommend filing online since the approval time is much faster (at no extra cost).

However, if you aren’t very tech-comfortable and prefer to file by mail, you’ll find those instructions further down the page.

Prior LLC University® lessons

Before completing your LLC Articles of Organization, make sure you have read the prior lessons:

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Ohio:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

How to form an Ohio LLC online

To form an Ohio LLC online, you’ll need to file your Articles of Organization via the Ohio Business Central

1. Go to Ohio Business Central (the online filing portal owned by the Ohio Secretary of State).

2. In the left navigation, click “Log In | Create Profile”.

3. Click the “Click here to Create Profile” button towards the top.

4. Create a username and password. Then enter your name, address, and phone number.

Note: Your name and address will be listed on your LLC approval document (called the Certificate of Organization). This document is available on public record. The state does not place your phone number or email address on any public documents, so they are both private.

5. Important: After your profile is created, you’ll see your 4-letter “e-signature”. This is like a 2nd password and it’s important to write this down, save it on your computer, and/or print out the confirmation page. You’ll need this 4-letter password when you login.

Click “Continue to Log In”.

6. Enter your login information and click “Click here to log in”.

Get started

In the center of the screen, you should now see a few options. Select “File a new business or register a name“.

If you don’t see any options in the center of the screen, hover over “Business Filings” in the left navigation, and then click “File a new business or register a name“.

Forms available to file online:

From the drop down menu, select “Limited Liability Company (Ohio) $99”.

Choose a processing time:

Most people leave the default option selected (“Regular Processing: no additional fee”) since approval time is usually 2 business days or less. Depending on the volume, many LLCs filings are even approved the same day.

We don’t feel the other expedited options make sense given how expensive they are.

Note: The instructions in this lesson are only for domestic LLCs. A domestic LLC is an LLC that is formed under Ohio laws. If you already have an LLC that exists in another state and you need to register that LLC to do business in Ohio, this is known as a foreign LLC registration. At this time, we don’t have instructions in this lesson for foreign LLC registration in Ohio.

LLC Name

Recommendation: While there is a “Search” button, we don’t recommend searching for LLCs names on this page.

Instead, please reference the Ohio LLC Name Search lesson for more details. Once you confirm your LLC name is available, you don’t need to then search it on this page.

You can just click “Begin Filing” and skip this page.

Company Information

Name of Company:

Enter your desired LLC name. Include the capitalization and formatting you’d like. And make sure to include a designator (ending). Then click “Begin Filing” at the bottom.

As per Section 1705.05 of the Ohio LLC Act, allowable LLC designators are:

  • LLC (most common)
  • llc
  • L.L.C.
  • l.l.c.
  • LTD
  • Ltd
  • ltd
  • LTD.
  • Ltd.
  • ltd.
  • Limited Liability Company
  • limited liability company

Tip: If you’re not sure which designator to use, “LLC” is the most common choice and the easiest to recognize.

Effective Date:

By default, your LLC will go into existence on the date it is approved by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. In order to receive this default effective date, simply leave the “Effective Date” box blank.

Alternately, you can forward date your filing, but it can’t be more than 90 days ahead.

You cannot back-date your Ohio LLC filing.

Matt Horwitz, founder of LLC University®Pro Tip: If you’re forming your LLC later in the year (October, November, or December) and you don’t need your LLC open right away, you can give your LLC an effective date of January 1st of next year. This will save the hassle of filing any tax documents for those few months with little to no activity.

What do most filers do? Most filers leave the effective date blank, unless it’s close to the end of the year (then they forward date the filing to January 1st of next year).

Period of Existence:

By default (and unless otherwise mentioned), all Ohio LLCs have a “perpetual” existence. This means the LLC remains open forever, until it is shut down by the members.

Alternatively, if you wanted your LLC to have a limited time of existence, you could enter “3 years”, for example. In this scenario, your LLC will be automatically dissolved at the end of its existence.

What do most filers do? Most filers leave the period of existence box empty. Therefore, their LLC will have a perpetual existence. This gives filers the flexibility to keep their LLC open for as long as they’d like. And if they ever want to close the LLC and dissolve it with the state, that can be filed at any time. There is rarely a reason to give an LLC a limited duration.

Purpose

Purpose Type:

Select whether your LLC will be a nonprofit or for-profit entity.

While Ohio laws allow for non-profit LLCs, the IRS will not grant a tax exempt status unless all of the LLC Members (owners) are already non-profit and tax exempt organizations.

Typically, if an organization wishes to achieve tax exempt status with the IRS, forming a Corporation (instead of an LLC) is a much better vehicle.

What do most filers do? Most filers select “For-profit”.

Purpose Clause:

If you would like to list a specific purpose for your LLC, you can enter that in this box.

However, if you leave the box blank, it means your LLC has a “general purpose”, which means it can engage in any legal business activities it would like, without the need to be specific.

Recommendation: We recommend using a “general purpose” as it gives your LLC the most flexibility.

What do most filers do? Most filers leave the Purpose Clause empty.

Click “Continue” to proceed.

Appointment of Agent (Statutory Agent, aka Registered Agent)

Enter the name and address of your LLC’s Statutory Agent.

Individual agent or individual consenting on behalf of corporate agent must enter his or her name below to accept the appointment:
Enter the person’s name who has agreed to be your LLC’s Statutory Agent.

If you or someone you know will be your LLC’s Statutory Agent:

  • You don’t have to enter an email address (unless you’d like to)
  • Not including one will keep your/their email address private

If you hired Northwest Registered Agent:

  • Enter their complete legal name and address (as listed in your Northwest online dashboard)
  • For email address, enter: compliance@northwestregisteredagent.com
  • For the individual agent box, enter: Tom Glover

If you’ve hired a different Commercial Statutory Agent:

  • You’ll need to contact them and ask how to complete this section

Click “Save and Continue” to proceed.

Add Attachments

If you have any additional attachments or provisions you’d like to add to your Articles of Organization, you can upload them here.

Click either “Save and Continue” (if you uploaded something) or “No Attachment(s) Needed, Continue” (if you didn’t upload anything).

What do most filers do? Most filers don’t upload any additional attachments or provisions unless they’ve been advised to do so by their attorney.

Authorize (aka Organizer)

Name (or Business Entity):
Enter the Organizer’s name in this field, click “Add”, and then click “Save and Continue”.

Only one Organizer is required to sign the Articles of Organization.

And remember, an LLC Organizer isn’t automatically made an LLC Member (owner).

Tip: For the best paper trail, have the LLC Organizer sign a Statement of Organizer that appoints the Member(s). Consider the Statement of Organizer like the “hand off”. The LLC Organizer (who may or may not be a Member) is “handing off” the LLC to the Member(s).

Review

Review all the information you entered for accuracy. Look for any typos.

If you need to make any changes, click the “Edit” links.

If everything looks good, click “Preview Document” at the bottom.

A new tab will open up with a preview of your Articles of Organization. This is just another version of reviewing the information. You can close this tab and go back to the prior tab.

You may see a pop-up appear asking some questions. This is just a survey to help guide you to other resources for Ohio businesses and Ohio business owners. You can complete the survey if you’d like, but it is optional, so if you’d rather not, just click “Cancel” or the “X” to close the pop-up window.

You should still be back on the Review page, but this time, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see additional buttons. Click “Verify for Checkout” to proceed.

Filings in Progress

You should see your LLC filing in the list. And to the right, under “Verified”, it should say “YES”.

If you see other filings in this list, those were auto-created if you started a filing and then quit. If you see any extra filings, you can click “Delete” to remove them from your cart.

Select the correct filing and then click “Add Selected Filing(s) to Check Out”.

Then click the “Pay for Filing(s)” button.

Credit Card Payment

Enter your billing information and then click “Confirm and Proceed”.

On the next page, click “Confirm and Submit” to send your Ohio LLC filing to the state.

Congratulations! Your Ohio LLC has been filed for processing. Now you just need to wait for approval.

You can print the current page out for your records if you’d like, but it’s really not necessary. The Ohio Secretary of State’s office will email you once your Ohio LLC is approved.

If you would like a receipt, click the “Print Approval Certificate/Invoice” button (even though the approval isn’t ready yet). Then click the blue link at the top: “Click here for a copy of the invoice”.

Next step: Bookmark this page and come back after your LLC is approved. Alternatively, type “LLC University Ohio LLC” in your web browser to easily find this page again when you’re ready.

Ohio LLC approval time (online filing)

After filing your Ohio LLC Articles of Organization online, it will be approved within 2-3 business days.

Your 3 LLC approval documents will be:

  • Certificate of Organization
  • Articles of Organization (stamped and approved)
  • Invoice

Once your Ohio LLC is approved, the Secretary of State will send you an email letting you know. There will be one attachment in this email, but you can ignore it, since it’s a duplicate of what you will download inside your online account.

After you get the approval email, log into your online account to download all of the approval documents together:

1. Go to Ohio Business Central and click “Log In | Create Profile” on the left.
2. Enter your login information and click “Click here to log in”.
3. On the left, hover over “Recent Filings” and then click “Approved Filings”.
4. Download your approval documents (explained below).

1. Certificate of Organization

Click “View Certificate”. A new tab will open with your Certificate of Organization.

This document is signed by the Ohio Secretary of State and it states that your LLC was properly filed and is now approved.

We recommend saving a digital copy on your computer as well as printing out a physical copy of your LLC’s Certificate of Organization.

2. Articles of Organization (stamped and approved)

Under “Document ID”, click the document ID number. A new tab will open with a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization.

Tip: It’s kind of silly (and confusing) because the Secretary of State includes another copy of your Certificate of Organization inside the Articles of Organization file. Just make sure not to get confused since the Certificate of Organization is not only emailed to you, but it’s a stand-alone download, and then it’s again included inside the Articles of Organization file. We have no idea why the state sends you 3 copies of this document lol ;)

We recommend saving a digital copy on your computer as well as printing out a physical copy of your LLC’s Articles of Organization (which includes a duplicated copy of your Certificate of Organization).

3. Invoice

Under “Invoice Number”, click the invoice number. A new tab will open up with your invoice.

We recommend saving a digital copy on your computer as well as printing out a physical copy of your LLC’s invoice.

Next Step: Ohio LLC Operating Agreement

Once you filed your Articles of Organization, and it is approved by the Secretary of State, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Ohio LLC Operating Agreement.

Ohio Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Ohio Secretary of State at 614-466-3910.

Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, Eastern Time.


How to form an Ohio LLC by mail

  • The video below starts with an overview of Ohio LLCs, then at 8 min. 18 sec. you can see the Articles of Organization being completed.
  • Download and complete the Ohio LLC Articles of Organization (Form 533A).
  • If you hired a Commercial Statutory Agent, you will need to call or email them to get their signed Appointment of Statutory Agent, which is a page inside the Articles of Organization form.
  • Prepare a check or money order for $99 and make it payable to “Ohio Secretary of State”.
  • Mail your signed and completed Articles of Organization and payment to:

Ohio Secretary of State
PO Box 670
Columbus, OH 43216

Ohio LLC - Formation Documents

Note: The video above shows a filing fee of $125 listed on the form. Ohio lowered the filing fee to $99 after this video was made. Everything else in the video is correct.

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Ohio:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Ohio LLC approval (mail filing)

After the Ohio Secretary of State’s office receives your LLC filing, it will be approved in 3-7 business days. Please allow another couple of days for mail time.

The state will send you back the following documents in the mail:

  • Certificate of Organization
  • Articles of Organization (stamped and approved)
  • Invoice

Congratulations! Your Ohio LLC is now officially in existence.

Next Step: Ohio LLC Operating Agreement

Once you filed your Articles of Organization, and it is approved by the Secretary of State, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Ohio LLC Operating Agreement.

Ohio Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Ohio Secretary of State at 614-466-3910.

Their hours are Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm, Eastern Time.

Matt Horwitz


Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Matt Horwitz has been the leading expert on LLC education for the past decade. He founded LLC University in 2010 after realizing people needed simple and actionable instructions to start an LLC that other companies weren't offering. He's cited by Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and the US Chamber of Commerce, and was featured by CNBC and InventRight.
 
Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. He performs extensive research and analysis to convert state laws into simple instructions anyone can follow to form their LLC - all for free! Read more about Matt Horwitz and LLC University.

6 comments on “Ohio Filing Forms”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

  1. They except credit cards now.
    There is a page for that with the rest of the form. .

    • Thank you Jonathan! The video that we have is a bit dated and does not make mention of this. Thank you for pointing it out, as a lot of people may prefer to pay by card.

  2. Since it is November, I chose to have my effective date be January 1st of next year. If my LLC gets approved, will I be able to get an EIN for it this year or will I have to wait until next year to apply for it?

    • Hi Maria, you’ll be able to get an EIN before the LLC goes into existence. However, you won’t be able to open an LLC bank account until the LLC goes into existence. Hope that helps.

  3. Matt: My husband and I recently filed for our LLC (after taking your free on-line course (thank you very much). Our Registered Agent is currently working on our LLC. We purchased the LLC University Bundle, Operating Agreement, and our Agents service. We are planning to obtain our own EIN from the State of Ohio. I have one question…You indicate in your information that we might need the Articles of Organization and you provided a link. Is this separate from the Operating Agreement and we ourselves need to apply for it or is it a part of the Operating Agreement? I want to make sure that we have filed for everything we need. I’m confused.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Jane, you’re very welcome! If you hired a company to form your LLC, they will be submitting the Articles of Organization to the state on your behalf. It is the Articles of Organization, that once approved, creates your Ohio LLC. So once the filing company gets your LLC approved, you’ll received a stamped and approved copy of the Articles of Organization. The Operating Agreement is a separate document which shows the ownership and management information for the LLC. Regarding the EIN, that is not obtained at the state level. It is obtained at the federal level from the IRS. We have more information and instructions here: get an EIN for LLC. Make sure your LLC is approved before applying for the EIN. Hope that helps :)

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How to form a US LLC

Non-US residents: If you want to form an LLC in the US, we recommend hiring doola.

doola specializes in forming US LLCs for international entrepreneurs.

They'll form your LLC, open your business bank account, and help with taxes. doola also has excellent customer service.

Hope that helps!

Matt Horwitz founder of LLC University
Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator
LLC University®