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Whether a new business owner is forming an Ohio corporation, non-profit corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), one of the first steps in the process will be choosing a registered agent (often referred to as an Ohio statutory agent or sometimes a resident agent) to have on public record with the Ohio Secretary of State.

To better understand how a registered agent fits in the process of starting an Ohio business, here’s a look at how an LLC is formed in Ohio.

What is an Ohio registered agent?

A registered agent is a point of contact between a company and the Ohio Secretary of State. This individual or business entity will be responsible for accepting any important tax and legal documents as well as service of process on behalf of your business.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Ohio?

The registered agent is listed on a company’s formation documents, which are called Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, that are filed with the State of Ohio. On these documents, a business owner will need to list information such as the registered agent’s address and the registered agent’s name. If selecting a professional registered agent service you will need to list their business address. The filing fee is $99 and you can file online using the Ohio Secretary of State’s portal or via mail.

Who can be a registered agent in Ohio? 

The rules for being a registered agent in Ohio are the same as in most other states. The requirements include:

  • The registered agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The person or entity serving as the registered agent must have a street address in Ohio that must be a physical address, P.O. boxes are not allowed. This will be used as your company’s registered office.
  • The registered agent is required to be available to accept deliveries during normal business hours, which is typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Can I be my own registered agent in Ohio?

Yes. Most states let you serve as your own registered agent for your Ohio LLC or other business entity.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

Although most registered/statutory agent services don’t charge a lot for their services, every penny counts when you’re launching a business. Still, before you decide to serve as your own registered agent in an attempt to save money, consider why the investment into outsourcing the work might be worth it:

  • Local options.  Haven’t moved to Ohio yet? Without a home, storefront, or office, you’ll be unable to fulfill the requirements to serve as your own registered agent, as you won’t have a registered office address. But commercial registered agents in Ohio are plentiful and they’ll all provide you with their in-state street address to use on your forms.
  • Availability.  As many business owners will attest, the only thing tighter than money when you launch an LLC is time. From meeting with investors and training employees to overseeing contractors and lining up vendors, it’s not realistic to think you’ll be able to wait around in one location 40 hours a week just to accept paperwork. Luckily, registered agent services are committed to doing just that.
  • Privacy. In case you weren’t aware, sometimes legal documents are delivered by uniformed law enforcement. Although not every packet is filled with lawsuit paperwork, witnesses won’t necessarily know the difference. Are you okay with your neighbors, customers, and/or employees witnessing law enforcement coming to your door? By choosing to have your paperwork delivered to a commercial registered agent’s office, you’ll be ensured privacy.
  • Experience. Still not convinced that a commercial registered agent might be worth the money? Ask yourself how familiar you are with state and federal compliance regulations and deadlines. Chances are, most commercial registered agents will know far more than you do when it comes to crucial things like annual reports.
  • Time savings. For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re pretty familiar with the complicated paperwork your LLC will need to submit. Do you really have the time to fill it out? For what they charge, registered agents can feel like a bargain in terms of taking the responsibility off your plate to free up some of your time. Most also offer an online account for you to easily access legal notices or other documents whenever you need them.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Ohio?

The cost of a registered agent service will vary in Ohio The cost depends on the services you’d like to take advantage of. For basic services, like document scanning, mail forwarding, and immediate notification, the cost can be as little as $50-75 a year. For more assistance, like help to file annual reports with the state or accessing a certificate of good standing, the cost will likely hover between $100-200.

List of Ohio registered agent services 

Leaning toward the idea of using a commercial registered agent? Here are some of the best Ohio services to expedite your search. Please note that services available and pricing can change with potential state fees.

  • Northwest Registered Agent is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but it’s grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company also offers worry-free compliance to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

Ohio registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Ohio?

Yes, you will need to always have a registered agent on the public record for your business to remain in good standing with the state of Ohio.

Can a company change its registered agent?

At any point, you can change your registered agent. All you’ll need to do is fill out a Statutory Agent Update Form on the Ohio Secretary of State’s site, or mail it in, and pay a $25 fee.

What is Service of Process?

It is the process of informing a business entity that legal action is being taken against them, usually involving the business owner being sent legal documents.

What’s a resident agent?

In Ohio, you may hear a registered agent referred to as a resident agent, statutory agent, or a process of service agent. The name varies by state.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

Commercial agents are professional entities or individuals who charge for their services. If you represent yourself as a registered agent, choose noncommercial on any forms that ask you to clarify which type of statutory agent you’re using.