How to Start a Business in Ohio


If you’re thinking about starting your own business, Ohio can be a great place to do it. The state has ample resources available to help new businesses get started, and there are plenty of advantages to operating within Buckeye State’s borders.

Choose a Business Structure

In Ohio, you can choose from five different legal business structures: sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, limited liability company and professional association. Each structure has its own tax liability and governance structure (for example: how you pay taxes or who manages the business).

The most popular business structures in Ohio are sole proprietorships and partnerships. A corporation is also common for larger organizations because it offers certain protections to owners such as limited liability. A limited liability company is a newer type of legal entity that gives owners some of the benefits of both a corporation and partnership structure but with fewer formalities than either one alone requires.

Create a Business Name

Ohio allows you to choose any name for your business, as long as it does not contain illegal or offensive words. The name should reflect the type of business that you are starting and should be easily recognizable by customers. If you cannot come up with a good name, consider using something catchy, such as “The Big Apple,” or using one word of your last name to create a unique brand identity (“The Smith Store”). n.

Obtain Licenses, Permits and Insurance

You’ll need a business license—with the exception of sole proprietorships—to operate your business in Ohio. The cost varies by county, but you can apply online through the Ohio Secretary of State website ( You may also need other licenses depending on the type of business you plan to run, including a liquor license for bars and restaurants or an occupational tax receipt (OTR) if you’re going to hire employees.

Select a Location

You should also make sure your business address is registered with the state of Ohio. You can register your business name, contact information, and other details through the Secretary of State’s website. If you already have a physical location for your business (like an office or storefront), then you will also need to register that address with the state.

Once your business has been set up online, it’s time to visit your local government offices to file any necessary paperwork. The most important filing process at this stage is registering with the IRS as an employer and being assigned an EIN number (Employer Identification Number).

Register with the Ohio Department of Taxation

In order to start a business in Ohio, you must first register with the Ohio Department of Taxation. The registration form for new businesses is online and free; however, if you need assistance filling out your forms or have questions about how to register with the state of Ohio, there are resources available through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Kent State University.

Register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you’re going to be paying employees, you’ll need to register with the IRS and get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can get this online in less than five minutes. The next step is to obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN) by filing Form SS-4 and paying $8, or you can apply for one online at no charge. Once both numbers are registered, your business is officially recognized by the government as a legal entity separate from its owner(s).

Open a Bank Account

A bank account is an essential part of starting your business. You will need a checking account to pay business-related expenses and write checks to contractors and employees, as well as a savings account so you can store extra funds until they are needed. A credit card with your business name on it may be useful for larger purchases that don’t warrant opening up a new business line of credit, such as furniture or equipment.

Prepare Tax Documents

Before starting a business in Ohio, you must first prepare the tax documents required by the state Department of Taxation. You will need:

  • A completed IRS form W-9 or W-8BEN. This document verifies your identity and tax residency status to determine if you are required to file taxes with the state of Ohio. If you do not provide this information on time, your application for an Ohio business license may be delayed or rejected.
  • A completed IRS form 1040 (Schedule C). This document shows how much money you made during the previous year as well as any expenses that could be allocated to your business activities. The answers provided in this section affect how much personal income tax is due at the end of each year.


The process of starting a business in Ohio will take time and effort, but it will pay off when you can start running your own company and doing what you love every day. Once you’ve chosen the right type of business for your goals, next comes finding a name that’s both memorable and easy to spell. You’ll also need a logo or graphic design if possible so that it looks professional when printed on marketing materials like brochures or advertisements.


Starting a business in Ohio is a rewarding experience, but it’s also a big commitment. You need to do your research and make sure you understand everything that goes into starting a company before diving in. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available online and in person that can help you through the process. If all else fails, ask an expert at one of our offices for the advice!

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