A limited liability company, or LLC, is formed under state laws by filing articles of organization. In Ohio, the secretary of state's office accepts articles of organization and grants businesses authority to operate in the state. The secretary's office maintains a business services website that provides all of the information needed to draft and file articles of organization that comply with state law. In fact, the state requires business owners to use the fill-in-the-blank forms provided on the website for all formative filings.
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Conduct a name availability search to determine if the name you want to use for the business is available. Ohio state law requires that all businesses operate under a unique name that is distinguishable from all other businesses already operating in the state. Go to the business services division of the Ohio secretary of state website (see References). Click on the icon for "Name Availability" in the middle of the page and search for the name you want to use. Decide on a business name that is not being used by another entity and also doesn't resemble another business name too closely.
Download the Ohio articles of organization template from the business services division of the Ohio secretary of state website. Click on the "Forms and Fees" icon in the middle of the page. In the "Domestic Business Entities" section, select "Limited Liability Company." Download "Articles of Organization for a Domestic Limited Liability Company." Some states allow a business to draft its own articles. Ohio, however, requires businesses to use the state-provided form.
Fill out the articles of organization template. The form requires basic business information, including the name of the LLC, the name and address of a statutory agent who will receive legal communication on behalf of the LLC, the signature of the statutory agent to consent to act as such, and the name and signature of the person filing the paperwork. The form provides space for optional information that can be included if the LLC wants to make special operating provisions, such as setting a specific date for the LLC to close down operations, but as long as the required information is filled out, the articles will be accepted by the state for filing.
File the articles of organization with the state. The top of the template includes the filing instructions and current fee. The state only accepts filings by mail, and the fee is $125 as of November 2010. There is an option to expedite the filing by paying an additional fee. The LLC officially comes into existence on the day the state accepts the filing and stamps the articles of organization with the state seal.
Tips & Warnings
References & Resources
- Ohio Secretary of State: Business Services
- Ohio Articles of Organization for a Domestic Limited Liability Company
- Business.gov: Limited Liability Company
- FindLaw: Writing and Filing the Articles of Organization
- Citizen Media Law Project: Limited Liability Company
- Ohio Department of Development: 1st Stop Business Connection
- Ohio Business Gateway: Licenses and Permits
- SCORE: Business Tools
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Small Business Planner
- ABA Family Legal Guide: Forming and Operating a Small Business
- FindLaw: Start-Up Toolkit
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