Tips to Starting a Business in Ohio
Rules of a Name
As easy as it may be to come up with names, there are a few rules when it comes to naming a corporation. The name of an Ohio Corporation must contain one of the following words (or an abbreviated version of them): Company (Co.), COrporation (Corp.), or Incorporated (Inc.).
The name you chose cannot be the same or very similar to any other entity on file with the Ohio Secretary of State. You may check for name availability on the Business Name Database. The selected name may be reserved for 180 days by filing a Name Reservation Application by mail with the Secretary of State.
Forms to File
To be legally recognized by the state as a corporation, you must file an Articles of Incorporation form with the Secretary of State. The articles will list the name and address of the corporation, the authorized number of shares of stock to be issued and their value, an the value of the initial stated capital (if any).
The form also designates an agent for service of process. This person or business is authorized to accept legal papers on behalf of the corporation and must have a physical address in Ohio.
The articles form also has optional provisions that may be listed including the purpose of the corporation, the persons to serve as the board of directors, the period of existence of the corporation, and the effective date of the organization.
Each new business starting in Ohio will want to contact the Ohio Department of Taxation for more information regarding state and local taxes applicable to their corporation.
Federal Tax Requirements
Each corporation must file Form SS-4 with the IRS to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
If electing S-Corp status, each shareholder must sign Form 2553: Election by a Small Business Corporation and submit it to the IRS within the first 75 days of operation.
Complete the Process
Once your S-corp is set up, remember to get a business license in the city you are operating. Most cities pull data from newly-registered businesses in the state so they can track down who in their city should have a license. While you can wait for your city to come knocking if you are on a tight budget (and many will simply give you a deadline to get a license), some municipalities may not be so friendly about it.