Starting a Business
1. First, register with the Ohio Secretary of State.
Registration information as well as forms are available online or at (877) SOS-FILE.
2. Obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Contact the Internal Revenue Service to learn additional information and an online application at IRS.gov - search "EIN."
3. Open a Bank Account.
You will need your EIN to open a bank account.
4. Register with the Ohio Department of Taxation at Tax.Ohio.gov.
Obtain information regarding Ohio taxes, including registration requirements, filing requirements and filing due dates. They also offer the Ohio Small Business Tax Training Program to help you acquire a broader understanding of Ohio’s tax requirements.
5. Report newly-hired and re-hired employees to the Ohio New Hire Reporting Center.
Report employee information at Newhire-reporting.com/oh-newhire. More information can be obtained by contacting the Ohio New Hire Reporting Center at 888.872.1490.
6. Determine what may be required of your business by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
If your business or organization has one or more employees visit BWC.Ohio.gov and select "Employers."
7. Identify requirements of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Employers may be required to establish an Unemployment Compensation Tax Account with the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Visit JFS.Ohio.gov and search for “Employers.”
8. Obtain the proper licenses and permits.
The Ohio Business Gateway (Business.Ohio.gov) Licenses and Permits page provides a list of professional licenses and business permits necessary to do business in Ohio. Contact your county and local government to determine if any special requirements exist for your type of business.
9. File and Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds.
This is required of all agencies that are located and/or operate in Ohio and can be filed at the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Unclaimed Funds. The report can be found at Com.Ohio.gov/unfd, through the Ohio Business Gateway or by mailing it to the Division of Unclaimed Funds.
10. Discover growth opportunities for your new business.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s office hosts the Ohio Business Resource Connection located at OhioSoS.gov/BusinessResources. The Resource Connection is a directory of services for all Ohio businesses and includes specific services for woman, minority, disability and military or veteran owned businesses. Additionally, the Small Business Administration provides resources to grow your business at SBA.gov.
Special Considerations for Nonprofit Organizations
Apply for tax exemption.
Visit IRS.gov to apply to become a tax-exempt organization. Also, contact the Ohio Department of Taxation and your county and local governments to determine how to apply for applicable exemptions.
Register with the Ohio Attorney General's Office if entity is a charitable organization.
Ohio requires charitable organizations located in Ohio and groups that ask Ohioans for contributions to register and file annual reports. Go to OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov for more information.
Apply for a nonprofit postal permit.
Apply for a nonprofit mailing permit from the United States Postal Service at USPS.com.
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- Commerce, Ohio Department of: Liquor Control Division
- Development, Ohio Department of
- Health, Ohio Department of: Vital Records
- Insurance, Ohio Department of
- Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of the Treasury
- Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of
- Taxation, Ohio Department of
- Workers' Compensation, Ohio Bureau of
- The U.S. Small Business Administration – Columbus District
- The U.S. Small Business Administration – Cleveland District
- Ohio Business Gateway: Licensing and Permits
- Small Business Development Centers
Business Publications from the Secretary of State's Office:
- Guide to Starting a Corporation in Ohio
- Guide to Nonprofit Corporations in Ohio
- Guide to Secured Commercial Transactions in Ohio
- Guide to Registering your Trademark or Service Mark in Ohio
- Guide to Starting a Limited Liability Company in Ohio
- Guide to Starting a Partnership in Ohio
- Guide to Starting a Sole Proprietorship in Ohio
- Helpful Links