Ohio Registered Agent

Andrew C. McGuire

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A Ohio Registered Agent or Ohio Registered Agent Service is required by law for every business entity in the state of Ohio. A registered agent is an individual or business entity that will accept legal papers (documents) on your behalf if it is sued. The registered agent or registered agent service must have a physical street address in Ohio and be available during regular business hours.

In my Ohio Registered Agent guide, I’ll walk you through the detailed process of when you should get a registered agent or registered agent service for your Ohio business, how to pick one, if they are required and how to change one if needed. Typically you’re getting a registered agent when you setup your Ohio LLC. Check out my guide on how to setup a Ohio LLC so you can make sure you’re following all the right steps in the process. If you are just looking for the professional service to help you – use Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness.

Best Ohio Registered Agent Service

ZenBusiness will be the best option for setting up a registered agent service in Ohio.  They can also help you with getting your LLC formed so if you’re looking for the best option, check them out today!

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As you think about the best registered agent service option for your Limited Liability Company, you need to look at ZenBusiness. In my opinion, they are the best registered agent service you can get involved with. They will help you form your LLC and give you the first year of your registered agent service included. It’s the best option for your business because the alternative is using an Ohio law firm or trying to do this on your own.

ZenBusiness works with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office and will be able to operate as you need them to in Ohio. If you’re looking for a new registered agent for your business or you need help changing your registered agent to something new – Northwest Registered Agent is there for you.

I have been using a registered agent service for a long time based out of Oregon but love what ZenBusiness has been able to do to help domestic LLC, foreign LLC or Limited Liability business owners figure out the right registered agent service to use.

What is an Ohio Registered Agent?

An Ohio registered agent is no different than any other state’s service that requires a registered agent. All the registered agent services require four primary things:

  • They have a physical address in the state of Ohio where they can receive legal papers on your behalf
  • They are available during regular business hours to accept these papers
  • They forward any papers they receive to you in a timely manner
  • They keep up with the changes in the state laws that might impact your company

An Ohio Registered Agent can be an individual or business entity that has been working at a national level like Northwest Registered Agent who can accept legal papers on your behalf. The other options are having a local law firm that offers registered agent services and the last (and not recommended option) is to act as your own registered agent.

There are mailbox services like the FedEx or UPS Store who has mailboxes. This is not a different version of that. Those are mailbox services you could have your registered agent forward mail to but it is not a replacement to a registered agent service.

Why do I need an Ohio Registered Agent?

There are a variety of reasons why it’s so important to have an Ohio Registered Agent but the shortest answer is that it’s legally required by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

It’s also really important to realize that it’s required to help protect you as a business owner. A registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address is associated with the public record. This means that if you were to search the Ohio Secretary of State’s business name portal (found here) that you’re going to be able to pull up anybody’d registered agent information. If you decided to be your own registered agent, your information would come up so when you think about how you want to proceed with the registered agent – remember that. It’s pretty impactful because if you think about what the implications are here and you decide to do this on your own – and you get served papers – someone can come to your home during business hours. You’ll also need to be available to accept those papers during normal business hours so you’d always have to be home.

The purpose of having a registered agent is to protect you from the public record and make sure you have a team that’s helping you make the right decisions for your business. Doing this on your own is an option but really defeats the purpose of why it’s required by law.

When should I obtain an Ohio Registered Agent?

The best time to get an Ohio registered agent in place is at the beginning of the life of our business. Typically you’re going to be required to do this as your forming your business entity whether it’s a foreign LLC, domestic LLC or just a traditional Limited Liability Company.

You should always use an Ohio Registered Agent service and get associated to your business as you’re forming it in the beginning stages of your business journey. If you decide to use Northwest Registered Agent, they will help you by including that first year of the Ohio registered agent in the formation of your business. From there, they typically have an annual subscription that’s around $125/year but check with them to make sure you understand the additional costs associated to it.

Another big thing they’ll help you keep track of is the annual compliance you’re going to be responsible for related to your business entity. There are annual reports and compliance deadlines that you’re going to want to figure out in the beginning of your LLC formation process.

You’ll have help from your Ohio registered agent service to help you stay on top of this but if you decide to go it alone – that’s where you’ll run into issues and defeats the purpose of why having a registered agent service is so important and required legally.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent In Ohio?

We’ve talked about this quite a bit in the details above but the short answer is yes. The better question isn’t can I but should I and the answer to that is no. It is not recommended for you to be your own registered agent. Being your own Ohio registered agent will require you to put your Ohio registered agent’s name and registered agent’s address in the public record search portal. Some of the biggest challenges of being your own registered agent are:

  1. Having a physical address that you’ll be at during normal business hours (all the time)
  2. Accepting legal paperwork on your business’s behalf
  3. Having a physical address in Ohio that is not your home

Be careful with doing this because it will cause you more problems in the long run than just using the services that exist. Those services exist for a reason so I highly recommend using them in the way they were intended.

How Much Does a Registered Agent Cost?

The range of cost here is pretty big from $0 (acting as your own registered agent) up to $300 per year depending on the type of service you pick and what you need. Traditionally I always recommend looking at Northwest Registered Agent because they typically include the first year with the LLC formation that you go through with them.

If you do this on your own there won’t be any monetary cost except for the filing fee with the state but there will be hidden costs that you’ll need to deal with som be careful about this.

How Do I Elect A Registered Agent In Ohio?

As you’re thinking about the process of electing a registered agent in Ohio, you’re going to need to find the standard process that the Ohio Secretary of State’s office provides to you.

The first thing you’ll need to do is find the appropriate paperwork to get filled out and filed in person or you can do this through their web portal too.

If you want to do this on you own, you can do it online and use the Business Filings portal here: https://bsportal.ohiosos.gov/

If you do this, you’ll need to make sure you’re downloading the LLC documents and filing out the appropriate paperwork as needed.

How Do I Change My Registered Agent In Ohio?

To change your Ohio Registered Agent, you’ll need to complete the Certificate of Change form and send it back to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office with the filing fee that’s required.

The required Statutory Agent Update form for your Ohio business can be found here.

Once you’ve filled out the PDF form, you’ll need to mail it back directly to:

Regular Filing (non expedite) –> Filing Fee $25

P.O. Box 788

Columbus, OH 43216

Expedite Filing (Two business day processing time)

Requires an additional $100.00)

P.O. Box 1390

Columbus, OH 43216

Ohio Registered Agent FAQ

Does Ohio require a registered agent?

Yes. The Ohio Secretary of State does require a registered agent for your business.

Does registered agent mean owner?

No. A business owner is not a registered agent. A registered agent will help you with your legal coverage as discussed here vs. someone that owns a piece or all of your business.

What is a registered agent service?

A registered agent service is a professional company that will help you with your legal filings and any other needs that you may have as a business.

Best Registered Agent

The best option for your registered agent service