Welcome business representatives to the Start a Business tutorial designed for the filer looking to register with the Ohio Secretary of State. Whether you’re looking to transact business as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company, we’ve got you covered. Within this homepage there are linked a multitude of useful tutorials that will relay in-depth instructions to get you and your business up and running in this state. For some, there will be the luxury of submitting your filings through the Secretary of State online portal. However, all foreign entities will be required to submit their filing through the mail with the use of a downloadable filing form. Scroll down and review our tutorials to get a thorough understanding of what’s in store!

Start an Entity

Search for a Name

The action of searching for a name is usually done with a company name already in mind. The use of the Business Entity Search will allow you to determine whether that particular title will be usable in the state of Ohio. As each business will be required to operate with a unique moniker, it is essential that yours is distinguishable from that of any other entity. Furthermore, performing this search will allow you to gain the detailed filing history of any business on file with the Secretary of State.

Ohio Online Registration

For the fortunate few who’s entity is able to be filed online, it is necessary that you first create an online account with the Ohio Business Central portal. This will enable you to access your personalized homepage, submit all business filings and maintain them once registered. Account creation is simple and once set up will greatly improve the overall efficiency of your business filing experience. This function is available only for domestic business entities at this time, therefore, if you are an out-of-state corporation, LLC, or partnership, the account creation process is not a requisite step for you.

How to Register in Ohio

Step 1- As we’ve previously stated, it is often a good idea to perform a Business Entity Search prior to registration to ensure that your company name is unique. This is often the first step that we suggest in regards to filing, however, if you are submitting your forms online, this name availability search has already been incorporated into the process. Regardless of your method of filing, you may wish to perform a Name Reservation to place a hold on it for a period of 180 days. This will cost you the filing fee of $39 and will be filed through the mail should you choose to reserve.

Step 2- Once your name has been secured, you will be able to either download your filing form in PDF format or log into your Ohio Business Central account to access the online portal. Below you will find all the business types we’ve covered in our Ohio tutorial, click the link which matches the nature of your entity.


Limited Liability Company


Step 3- Once your forms have been completed, online or by PDF, you will be able to attach to them, the filing fee of $99. The exception to this rule would be if you are a corporation issuing corporate stock, or if you plan on expediting the filing process. If you are taking the traditional route of filing and sending your forms through the mail, you should provide the filing fee in check or money order made out to the Secretary of State and send all items to one of the addresses below this paragraph for processing. Should you be filing online, you will be able to pay by credit card and officially submit your filing through this payment.

This address is to be used for standard processing:

Ohio Secretary of State

PO Box 670

Columbus, OH 43216

This address is to be used for expedited processing:

Ohio Secretary of State

PO Box 1390

Columbus, OH 43216

Name Reservation

A Name Reservation filing will do exactly what you would expect it to; they will place a hold on your business name for an allotted period of time to allow you to properly prepare to file. The process can be executed easily and should only take a few minutes. It will involve printing off the PDF of the application, submitting the requisite information and sending it into the Secretary of State with the attached filing fee of $39. This reservation will last for a period of no more than 180 days after acceptance has been granted. It is always recommended that filers perform a Business Entity Search prior to filing to ensure that their name is indeed available to reserve.

Certificate of Good Standing

The Ohio Certificate of Good Standing can be easily obtained through the Secretary of State website. This document, often referred to as a certificate of existence or status, is used to prove legitimacy when apply with foreign authorities or financial institutions. It will not be necessary for you to have an account with Ohio Business Central to obtain this certificate, instead, you will simply be able to provide the requisite information and $5 filing fee in order to download the PDF of the document onto your computer. It’s really that simple. To learn more about this application process, you may review our tutorial here.


It is always wise to draft a binding agreement amongst the initial officials of your business entity to ensure that the roles of each are clearly stated in black and white. Along with this, the below agreements can be used to dictate a number of provisions that you wouldn’t find in the initial formation documents which will greatly improve the overall organization of your business. It is recommended that you have your attorney review the contents of the template which correlates with your business entity to make sure that it is beneficial to your internal management. Once you’ve decided to draft either the corporate bylaw, operating agreement or partnership agreement, each managing member must sign it to indicate compliance.

Employer Identification Number

If your filing was just approved by the Secretary of State, and you don’t currently have an Employer Identification Number, it may be necessary that you apply for one before you commit to any financial transaction. This number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service to keep track of each tax-paying and legitimate business operating in the United States. Once obtained, you will be able to proceed to hiring employees, opening bank accounts and obtaining financing. Start a Business has created a guide which will walk you through the application process found Online in the IRS website or through the PDF of the Form SS-4. To review this tutorial, click here.

How to (Video)