How to find a registered agent in Ohio

Ohio registered agent requirements

You have the choice of being your own registered agent (or choosing another individual) or hiring a registered agent company. There are requirements for both of these options.

Hiring an Ohio registered agent service

Registered agent companies must be registered to do business in all of the states where you plan on incorporating —naturally, including the state of Ohio. Registered agent companies must accept the role of receiving service of process and other legal notices on behalf of your business and accept being listed as a registered agent on your Articles of Incorporation.

Commercial registered agent companies need to have an official address in the state of Ohio. This needs to be physical address. It cannot be a P.O box address.

Being your own registered agent

If you decide to be your own registered agent, you must be at least 18 years old or older. You must also have a street address in the State of Ohio and be an Ohio resident. Keep in mind that your address cannot be a P.O. box address when used for registered agent purposes.

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

As you incorporate your LLC or corporation in Ohio, you need to choose a registered agent for your Articles of Organization. The State of Ohio uses “statutory agent” for this position. You may have also seen the term “resident agent”. All of these terms refer to the same thing: an individual or business entity who will receive important business documents and legal notifications on behalf of your business.

State law requires that all legal entities, including LLCs (limited liability companies) and corporations, have registered agents so that they can receive important service of process and other legal documents in a timely manner.

LLCs and corporations in Ohio may choose to have a commercial registered agent company act as their statutory agent, or they can choose an individual to take on the role. In fact, business owners themselves can even be their own registered agents.

When you need a registered agent

You must choose a registered agent when filling out your Articles of Organization (Articles of Incorporation). This document is critical when incorporating your business in Ohio. It is an essential part of your formation documents.

Your Articles will also include other important information concerning the formation of your business, including your chosen business name. You must conduct a business name search on the Ohio Secretary of State website in order to ensure that you have chosen a business name not already taken by another company.

In addition to choosing a registered agent and selecting a business name, you will also need to choose a Board Of Directors, hold your first board meeting, obtain an EIN (employer identification number), and outline your Corporate Bylaws, among other processes required for incorporation.

Why use a registered agent service

While many business owners may initially like the idea of acting in the role of registered agent, commercial registered agent companies offer a number of additional benefits.

Privacy

According to state law, your registered agent must use their own street address as your registered agent address. This will, in turn, be listed in the public record. Therefore, when someone looks up your business, they will be able to see your registered agent’s address.

Of course, if you decide to be your own registered agent, when someone looks up your business, they will be able to see your home address. This can be an invasion of your privacy. You may also notice an influx of spam and junk mail.

When you choose a company to be your registered agent, they will use their address, and you can keep yours private.

Availability

As a small business owner, you are tasked with organizing, managing, and growing your business from day to day. This will take up much of your time, and you won’t have any additional time to worry about registered agent responsibilities.

While some business owners may assume, from the start, that being their own registered agent doesn’t come with many responsibilities, this isn’t actually true. As a registered agent, state law requires you to be at your physical registered office address from roughly 9am until 5pm every day, Monday through Friday (normal business hours). In this case, you wouldn’t be able to work when and where you please, and it would be a challenge to simultaneously carry out your role as business owner.

Expansion and business growth

Lastly, take into consideration that you may eventually decide to offer your goods and services in other states besides Ohio. If and when this happens, however, you will not be able to act as your own registered agent in every state.

Instead, you would need to hire a new registered agent in every new state where you conduct business. Or, you could simply hire a commercial registered agent company. Doing the latter would allow you to work with just one company who could manage all of your registered agent services in all states where you conduct business.

Ohio registered agent costs

How much you’ll have to pay for a registered agent will depend on what registered agent company you choose. If you choose to be your own registered agent, you don’t have to pay anything. This option is free. The State of Ohio does not charge registered agent fees.

If you hire a commercial registered agent company, they will charge you an annual fee. This fee is usually between $50 and $300 a year. You can pay less if you don’t plan on utilizing additional services.

For example, if you don’t need assistance in the formation of your LLC or corporation and you don’t want other “bells and whistles,” you can probably find a commercial registered agent company who will charge only around $50 or $100 per year.

How to change your Ohio registered agent

Need to change the statutory agent for your limited liability company (LLC) or corporation in Ohio? The process is fairly straightforward and simply requires you to fill out some paperwork and pay a filing fee to the Ohio Secretary of State. Specifically, you will need to obtain a Statutory Agent Update form from the Ohio Secretary of State, Business Services Division.

To save you some time and money, consider requesting that your soon-to-be new statutory agent changes your statutory agent with the state on your behalf. Commercial companies will often pay the filing fee for you and take care of all the paperwork.

Those LLCs and corporations that simply wish to perform the filing themselves (and those who will be appointing an individual and not a commercial company) should take the following steps in order to complete this filing:

  • Select who your new statutory agent will be, and let your current/former statutory agent know that you will no longer be requiring their services. It’s good to get your important business paperwork back from your old statutory agent as well.

  • Obtain a Statutory Agent Update form from the Ohio Secretary of State, Business Services Division.

  • Fill out the update form, being sure to include your new statutory agent’s information.

  • Submit the filing to the Secretary of State, Business Services Division, by mail or in person.

  • Pay the required filing fee.

List of forms

The following list of government websites and forms may help as you select your registered agent and incorporate your business in Ohio.

FAQs

What is a statutory agent?

A statutory agent is the same as a registered agent or a resident agent. Different states use different terms for this position, and in Ohio, statutory agent is most often used. A statutory agent is a business entity or individual that accepts important business documents and legal notices on behalf of an LLC or corporation.

Do I need a statutory agent for my LLC in Ohio?

Yes, all LLCs in Ohio need to have a statutory agent. This is something that must be filled out on your Articles of Organization when incorporating a business. Your registered agent or statutory agent will accept legal notices and business documents from the state on your company’s behalf.

Can you be your own statutory agent in Ohio?

Yes, if you prefer not to hire a commercial registered agent company and would like to be your own statutory agent, this is an option. You can also have a trusted spouse, coworker, employee, or even a friend be a registered agent. Individuals must be at least 18 years old, residents of Ohio, and in possession of a business address in the state.

How do I choose a statutory agent?

Choose who you would like your statutory agent to be based on how much you would like to spend on this service every year and what additional services you may be interested in, if any. Hiring a commercial registered agent often provides you with other services such as alerts for Annual Report due dates and assistance in achieving good standing with the state.

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