How do I convert a Sole Proprietorship to an LLC in Ohio?

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Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

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This was the question that drove me down a deep, dark rabbit hole this week. Let me make it simple for you! You'll need to fill out one form if your business name is changing, and two forms if it stays the same! The form you'll need to fill out costs $99 and is form 610, which can be found online at the Ohio Business Central website.

If your business name is staying the same (you're just adding LLC to it) then you'll also need to file form 590, which is freely available on that same website. Form 590 just helps you “give consent” (to yourself) for the name to be used as an LLC. This prevents problems, according to the person at the Ohio government help center that I called. So take the extra three minutes to do the 590 and attach it as a PDF during your application process.

Ok, now that I've saved you from lawyers' fees and dumb phone calls, let's dive in.

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What is an LLC?

An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a type of business structure that can provide owners with limited liability protection and flexible taxation options. LLCs are attractive to business owners because they can receive the limited liability protection of a corporation while avoiding double taxation. This makes the LLC a great option for small businesses as it allows them to maintain their personal assets in the event of any legal issues that may arise from running the business. Additionally, LLCs allow for easy maintenance since there is no requirement to hold annual meetings or keep formal minutes.

If you're a one-person LLC, let me let you in on a secret: your taxes stay the same. Yep, you'll still file a Schedule C and do your taxes like normal. The only thing that changes is that you get LLC protection. LLC protection means that, for the most part, if you get sued, the only assets at risk are your business assets (and not your house!).

Do I need to form an LLC?

Forming an LLC is an important decision to make for small business owners. An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, provides protection from personal liability should the business incur any losses or be sued. It also allows you to separate personal and business assets. Depending on the type of business and the size of operations, forming an LLC may be recommended for a variety of reasons.

By forming an LLC, you are protecting your personal assets from creditors, as your liabilities and obligations in the company are limited to the assets that exist within it. Moreover, forming an LLC can also help in terms of tax savings as it offers flexibility when it comes to filing taxes. Finally, through setting up an LLC you will gain credibility by demonstrating that you have taken the necessary steps to protect yourself and your business from potential legal issues.

Ultimately, whether or not you need to form an LLC depends on many factors such as risk involved with your proposed venture, industry regulations, taxation considerations and other state laws. It's always best to consult with a lawyer or accountant who can provide tailored advice particular to your situation.

I ended up forming an LLC after seeing several instances of aggressive and unwarranted suing of small e-commerce business owners by large trademark owners. The Smiley company and a few others have taken to skipping a cease-and-desist and going straight to the suing. While I'm not knowingly infringing on any copyrights with my art, an LLC gives me peace of mind.

How much does an LLC cost in Ohio?

Forming an LLC in Ohio costs $99 and the form is very simple. You can use this link to find the forms you need and start filing. My filing was approved the very next day.

Don't use those sponsored links and pay more. There's no need! Just use the Ohio online business tools.

What if I'm converting from something else to an LLC?

You may need to file conversion paperwork if you're going from an Ohio corporation to an LLC. Check the Ohio business filings website. If you're going from sole proprietor though, you just use the usual “form a new business” one.

Do I need an LLC in multiple states if I sell online?

No, not unless you have a significant economic nexus. This usually means that you either have a physical location in that state, a business partner in that state, or you do a substantial amount of business (tens of thousands of dollars). If you think you might need to, check with that state's regulations.

Final thoughts

That's it! Filing for your LLC is not scary at all, and I thought it would be. I'm so glad I got it done!

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