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How to Get a Business License in Ohio?

If you are thinking of a destination to start your new business, Ohio is one of the top choices thanks to its reasonable tax structures, affordable cost of living, and rapidly growing economy. Once you incorporate or form your company in this state, you will need to apply for an Ohio business license to make your business operational. This guide has been specifically created to provide you with information on the different types of licenses and permits that exist in the state and how you can obtain an Ohio business license.

Business License in Ohio

When you register a company in any state in the USA, the operations of such an entity will be governed by the laws of that particular state. Hence, when you register a business in the state of Ohio, it becomes essential to apply for and obtain an Ohio business license. The importance of this license lies in the fact that it will allow your company to conduct its activities legally within specific jurisdictions or the state like a city or a county. The requirements and process of applying for Ohio business licenses and permits may vary significantly according to the location of the said business. There is also a possibility that your company may be penalized if it conducts its business without proper licenses.

Who needs an Ohio business license?

Entrepreneurs and first-time business owners often choose states that provide them with a good business climate, and Ohio is one such state. Today, Ohio is considered to be an international hub due to the availability of a talent pool, high quality of life, robust transportation and logistics infrastructure, business development support, and innovation investments. If you want to be a part of this growing economy, then you will need to register a company and apply for a relevant Ohio business license. You can form any type of entity, any size of business, and pursue any activity. It is also important to note that you will need to obtain an Ohio business license even if you are a foreign entity planning to expand your business in this state.

What business license do I need in Ohio?

If you have made a decision to form a new company or move your existing business to Ohio, then depending on the jurisdiction where your company is based and the primary activity; you will need to conduct an Ohio business license search. This type of search will enable you to identify the type of permits or business licenses necessary for your company to operate. Most US states require entities to apply for a general business license at the state level, but Ohio doesn’t have that requirement. In fact, when you register your company with the office of the Secretary of State, this process and application becomes a general business license. If you are planning to operate a general partnership or sole proprietorship, then SOS registration is not required, and in such a scenario, you will need to apply for an Ohio business license and permit. Let’s look in detail at the various categories of licenses in this state.

Ohio Business Licenses for Specific Occupations and Professions

Whatever business you start in Ohio, the business activity may be connected to a specific profession or occupation. If the said business activity requires specialized knowledge, formal education, skills, or training, then such an activity will be defined as a profession. Occupations, on the other hand, encompass specific activities or tasks and may not require continuing education, e.g., salesperson. There are certain professions or occupations in this state that require you to apply for a license. You will need to conduct a proper Ohio business license search based on your profession or occupation. Let’s try and understand the types of professions or occupations that require licensing in Ohio.

A professional or occupational permit is a type of license normally issued by the government or a government agency. It allows an individual to conduct business activity in a specific field or area. Let’s look at an example to understand how this works.

Example: If you want to start an architectural firm, you will need individual architecture licenses. The Ohio business license and permits for this occupation will be issued by the Ohio Architects Board. The fee is $50, and you can apply online using the elicense portal. You will be able to apply for this license only after completion of AXP credit hours and exams. Now, if you want to start a company that provides Home Health Aides, then you or your employees will be required to complete 75 hours of home healthcare training, including 16 hours of clinical training. Such individuals will also be required to pass a competency exam. Currently, Home Health Aides (HHA), both agency and non-agency providers, don’t need an Ohio business license.

As you can see from the above example, not all types of professions or occupations are required to obtain an Ohio business license. Some of the most common professions or occupations that require licenses in this state are:

  • Acupuncturist
  • Advanced Cosmetologist
  • Architect
  • Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser
  • Commercial Fisherman
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Merchant Marine
  • Lawyer
  • Engineer
  • FAA License
  • Electrical Contractor
  • Professional Surveyor
  • Professional Counselor
  • Private Investigator
  • Social Worker
  • Veterinarian

Other Ohio Business Licenses

Apart from professional and occupational licenses, a business in the state of Ohio may require other licenses. Sometimes, a company may need multiple licenses and permits. In order to determine the permits required by your company, you must conduct an Ohio business license search. So, let us take a look at some of the other licenses and permits that may be relevant to making your business operational in this state.

Vendor license/Seller permits

When you register a new company in the state of Ohio, you will need to apply for certain types of licenses. A vendor license is an important type of permit that is mandatory for entities that make retail sales of tangible personal property or provide some form of taxable services. Such an entity needs to obtain an Ohio business license and this process is also known as sales tax registration. There are three types of vendor licenses in the state, and they are:

  • County Vendor’s License – A County Vendor’s License is required by entities having a fixed location of business for selling taxable services or goods. This type of Ohio business license is issued by the County Fiscal Officer. You will be required to fill and submit form ST 1 – Application for Vendor’s License to Make Taxable Sales, along with a fee of $25. The form and payment is the same for all counties.
  • Transient Vendor’s License – If a company or vendor transports their goods to a temporary place of business within a county and sells from the temporary location, then a transient vendor’s license is required. The Department of Taxation issues this type of Ohio business license and permit. You will have to fill and submit the form ST 1T – Application for Transient Vendor’s License along with a fee of $25. The form and payment for this license are the same for all counties.
  • Service Vendor’s License – There are certain services considered to be taxable, and if your company offers such services, then you will be required to obtain an Ohio business license for them. The taxable services include landscaping and lawn care service, automatic data processing, taxable telecommunications service, exterminating service, computer services or electronic information services, information service (I-900 telephone calls), employment service, private investigation and security services, building maintenance and janitorial service, and employment placement service. The Department of Taxation issues this license, and there is a filing fee of $25.

Alternatively, you can submit your request for an Ohio business license or vendor’s license using the Ohio Business Gateway. You will be required to first open an account with Gateway before applying for the relevant vendor’s license.

Local Ohio business licensing and permits

Once you have formed a business in Ohio and it is located in a specific city or county, then you will need to check, identify, and obtain local licenses. This is separate from the vendor’s license. Each city or county has its own laws pertaining to permits and licenses. You also need to conduct an Ohio business license search for zoning permits and regulated licenses. The type of license, fee, and renewals will vary from one county to another. Let’s look at an example to understand how to obtain a license and permits from a specific county.

Example: If you start a company in Franklin, OH, then certain business activities may require zoning permits and compliances as well as other local licenses. The zoning laws have been created to restrict the locations from where businesses can operate. You will need to obtain a Certificate of Zoning Compliance by filing an application with the City of Franklin Zoning Official. The City of Franklin Municipal Code will govern this – 1115.11. Similarly, if you plan to start a hotel or motel in the City of Columbus, OH, then you will need to apply with the Department of Building and Zoning, City of Columbus License Section, for appropriate Ohio business licenses and permits. There would be an application fee of $20, BCI background check fee of $32, and a hotel/motel license fee of $75.

Ohio home-based business license

If you are thinking of starting and running a company from your residence, you will save thousands of dollars in overheads and other operational costs. At the same time, it is important to conduct an Ohio business license search for your home-based business. The regulations and license requirements may vary according to the business activity and the company’s operational jurisdiction.

Example: If you operate a home-based business in the City of Montgomery, OH then you will need to obtain an Ohio business license, which is also known as the home occupation permit. It is important to note that certain business activities are prohibited for home-based businesses pursuant to Section 151.1010 of the Montgomery zoning code. Before filing the Application for Home Occupation, you will need to get a proper zoning permit or a certificate of zoning compliance.

Depending on the nature of the business activity, you might also have to apply for professional licenses and sales tax permits.

Need any Assistance in Obtaining Your Ohio Business License?

If you are planning to register a new company in Ohio, then it is absolutely essential to obtain the right Ohio business license and permits, as they will allow you to transact in this state. The type of licenses will vary according to the location of your company and primary business activity. The application, fee, and laws for an Ohio business license will vary according to the license type, jurisdiction, and issuing authority.

We, at IncParadise can guide you towards obtaining the necessary business licenses and permits. We also provide additional services to new and existing Ohio businesses like EIN Tax ID and Foreign Qualification among others.

Do you need help with an Ohio Business License?