Limited liability companies can raise money via banks and investors but cannot sell stocks. S-Corps can get loans from banks, as well as distribute stock to up to 100 people. C-Corps have the easiest time raising capital as there is no cap on how many people can own stock. Non-Profits can both get loans and receive tax-deductible donations. Sole Proprietorships can occasionally receive bank loans but cannot sell stocks.


The Business Inquiries allow users to search and retrieve data and images maintained in the Business Database. The Business Database is a collection of files that records business filings submitted to, and approved by the Ohio Secretary of State. The database maintains records For Profit Corporations, Non-Profit Corporations, Professional Associations, Foreign Corporations, Foreign Name Registrations, Business Trusts, Real Estate Trusts, Fictitious Names, Trade Names, Limited Liability Companies,Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, Trademarks, Service Marks, and Name Reservations. These filings are recorded and maintained in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code.
Your name must be unique, and not deceptively similar, to any other trademarked name or business. It is also required that your name not be used to intentionally misrepresent the products or services you offer. For LLCs, nearly all states will also require you to add a signifier of your limited liability status, such as "LLC" or "L.L.C." to the end of your company's name. You may be able to operate under a name other than your formal LLC name by applying for and using a dba.

Please do not place your social security number on filing or other documents you submit to the Secretary of State. Although we attempt to prevent disclosure of social security numbers, due to the large number of documents filed, we cannot guarantee that a social security number placed on a document will not be disclosed. It is the responsibility of the filer to ensure that a social security number is not contained on the filing.

Images of approved filings are available for on-line viewing. If an image is in the database it can be viewed by clicking the "Download Image" link on the business details page. Search the on-line inquiries to find the exact Business that interests you, then click on each document link to have the associated image displayed. Images are displayed in PDF format. (Click here for free download of Adobe Acrobat PDF Viewer.) You can choose to download an image to your PC by right clicking on the document link, choosing 'Save Target As' from the shortcut menu and selecting the directory where you want to save the image.Images that have not yet been added to our database can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Secretary of State toll free at 1-877-SOS-FILE or by sending an e-mail request to BUSSERV@OHIOSECRETARYOFSTATE.GOV

When beginning a business, you must decide what form of business entity to establish. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you have to file. The most common forms of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Legal and tax considerations enter into selecting a business structure.


It should also be noted that the state of New York requires limited liability companies to comply with an unusually strict set of publication requirements. In addition to publishing notices in two papers in the county in which your business is forming, you will also be required to provide proof of this to New York’s Department of State within 120 days of becoming officially recognized as a business. Failing to do so can result in suspension of your right to conduct business in the state.

Limited liability companies are easy to maintain while remaining extremely flexible, so it's not surprising that it is a popular choice among businesses of all different shapes and sizes. Often, owners of an LLC are self employed or run smaller businesses, where the simplicity of pass through taxation and a lack of annual requirements makes a lot of sense. Since the profits and losses are reported directly on the owners personal tax returns, filing taxes is much easier.

Corp., Inc., Corporation, Incorporated: used to denote corporations (public or otherwise). These are the only terms universally accepted by all 51 corporation chartering jurisdictions in the United States. However, in some states other suffixes may be used to identify a corporation, such as Ltd., Co./Company, or the Italian term S.p.A. (in Connecticut; see under Italy). Some states that allow the use of "Company" prohibit the use of "and Company", "and Co.", "& Company" or "& Co.". In most states sole proprietorships and partnerships may register a fictitious "doing business as" name with the word "Company" in it. For a full list of allowed designations by state, see the table below.

LLCs have fewer ongoing requirements compared to their corporation counterparts. For example, an LLC is not required to keep minutes or hold annual meetings. An LLC also does not have a board of directors, and isn't is held to the same record keeping standards of a corporation. Keep in mind that the state of incorporation in will have its own set of annual requirements. That includes filing the required business licenses and permits, which vary from state to state. Be sure to check in with your Secretary of State to ensure you don't accidentally miss any required filings.
Since limited liability companies can be a pass-through entity, owners are taxed on their personal income. S-Corp shareholders are taxed personally. The S-Corp, however, is not. C-Corp income is taxed at the corporate level first, then again at the personal level. This is called "double taxation." Non-Profits are only taxed once and can write off most of their expenses. Sole Proprietors are taxed only on their personal tax return.

To keep your business legally viable after you incorporate, there are a number of steps you may need to follow. You may need to file an Article of Amendment to indicate changes in your company. You also may need to file an Initial or Annual Report, which is a requirement in most states. Our business filing experts can help you process necessary changes to your business.


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Images of approved filings are available for on-line viewing. If an image is in the database it can be viewed by clicking the "Download Image" link on the business details page. Search the on-line inquiries to find the exact Business that interests you, then click on each document link to have the associated image displayed. Images are displayed in PDF format. (Click here for free download of Adobe Acrobat PDF Viewer.) You can choose to download an image to your PC by right clicking on the document link, choosing 'Save Target As' from the shortcut menu and selecting the directory where you want to save the image.Images that have not yet been added to our database can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Secretary of State toll free at 1-877-SOS-FILE or by sending an e-mail request to BUSSERV@OHIOSECRETARYOFSTATE.GOV
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