Ohio is a great state to set up your business. It’s one of the best business environments in the US. If you plan on setting up a business in the State of Ohio, one of the foremost requirements of the state government is having a registered agent or a statutory agent, as it is popularly called in the State of Ohio.
What is a Registered Agent/Statutory Agent?
A registered agent/Statutory agent can be a business or an individual appointed to receive legal documents for your company. These legal documents include tax notices, subpoenas, lawsuits, and others.
All companies doing business in the state of Ohio must have a registered agent to ensure tracking of all legal mail sent within the state. To become a registered/statutory agent in the state of Ohio, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to receive mail during business hours at an office
- Be present to receive the legal mail intended for the business you represent
- Have a physical address within Ohio. Note that making use of a P.O Box is not allowed.
Registered/Statutory Agent in Ohio, who can work as one?
A person must meet certain requirements before he/she can work as a registered/statutory agent in Ohio. These requirements are made by the Secretary of the State of Ohio.
- A registered or statutory agent can be an employee of the company or third parties such as lawyers and registered agent service companies that is a resident or an organization that is located in Ohio and has a valid street address in Ohio. Corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) cannot be their registered agents. However, if you are a resident and of legal age (more than 18) in Ohio, you are allowed to register as your business’s registered agent in a case whereby you have a start-up business or you are a small business entrepreneur.
- If you are a business owner based outside Ohio, you must first have the authorization to do business.
Changing your Registered/Statutory Agent in Ohio
If you have decided to shift to another agency or entity to represent your company in Ohio, maybe because your previous registered agent moved out of the state, no longer wants the responsibility, or he left your company for another. Changing registered agents is easy, all you need to do is follow the following steps, as outlined by the Department of the State of Ohio:
- You’ll need to file Form 521, the Statutory Agent Update form which you can complete online by visiting the State of Ohio Secretary of State’s Filing Forms and Fees Schedule webpage and find the Statutory Agent Update form. You’ll be taken to the Business Central Portal of the State of Ohio where you can make the Change to your Statutory Agent. You can as well choose to download the document and print it on paper (one-sided) to complete it by typing on it, as handwritten and/or double-sided documents will not be accepted.
- The form must be correctly filled, note that there’s a fee of 25 dollars must be paid for the document to be processed. The payment can be made through a card (if you’re submitting online) or a check that is made payable to the “Ohio Secretary of State”. You’ll be required to attach a Card Authorization form if you’re paying with a card.
The document and the check will then be mailed to the address:
Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
P.O. Box 788
Columbus, OH 43216
It usually takes the Secretary of the State of Ohio between 4 to 6 working days to complete the process of Statutory agent change. However, you can choose to make use of the expedited service which costs 100 dollars for a 2-day turnaround, 200 dollars for a 1-day turnaround, and 300 dollars for a 4-hour turnaround.
It’s important to note that you’ll be mailing your documents and the payment to another address if you’re making use of the expedited service. The address for the expedited service is:
P.O. Box 1390 Columbus,
You have to know that you cannot change your statutory agent in the State of Ohio by just making changes to your annual report or your Articles of Organization. You can only follow the process explained above.
Should I Get a Professional Registered Agent Service Company?
Getting a professional registered agent company can reduce a lot of effort and time for any business owner. There are numerous benefits to it whether you are an established company or a small business owner. Some of these benefits are:
- Making use of their address instead of your home address, especially if you don’t have an office yet. This detail will be included in public records.
- Registered Agent processes paperwork for you
- Notify you immediately if you receive any new legal mail
- Notify you of mandatory filing of Ohio annual reports
- Help you to avoid penalties for delayed filings
- Assist you with forms and instructions needed to set up your business
- If you operate a small business out of state, they fill in as your local contact in the state.
Several agencies offer registered agent services in Ohio. However, you have to be careful in finding a trustworthy agent to handle your business.
Advantages of Using an Ohio Business Address vs. Personal Address
- A business address minimizes exposure of your home address as public information
- Some city municipalities may not allow using home addresses as business offices
- Using your personal address can probably link you to business liabilities
- Using a business address can help you separate business and personal transactions
Having a registered agent is your gateway to setting up a business in the state of Ohio. Doing it yourself is possible, but it can eat up a lot of your time, money, and energy. It is better to get a registered agent service and use the resources to build your business instead. Let them help you do business hassle-free in Ohio.