COLUMBUS — Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced the expansion of online services offered through the Ohio Business Central, a program he launched in October 2013.
The announcement is part of the secretary’s ongoing goal to improve services offered to current and prospective Ohio businesses and to ensure the state is one of the easiest places in the nation to start and maintain a business.
As of May 2015, Ohio Business Central has been used to form more than 60,000 business entities.
“If we want to attract more jobs to our state, we need to make sure businesses can work with state agencies at the speed of business,” Husted said. “In just four years, we’ve brought the services our office provides out of the Stone Age and into the 21st century, which is one of the many reasons more businesses are choosing to start up in Ohio than ever before.”
When Husted took office in 2011, the agency accepted only hard-copy applications for new businesses and business renewals. Those forms took four days to process and commonly required follow-up communication that delayed a business startup. The online process turns around applications in less than 24 hours, in most cases.
Five new forms can be filed electronically, meaning up to 84 percent of business filings received by the Secretary of State’s office will be able to be completed by going to OhioSecretaryOfState.gov and navigating to the business services tab. This includes 100 percent of those forms needed to start a new, Ohio-based corporation.
The new forms include Articles of Incorporation for Profit Corporations (532A), Articles of Incorporation for Non-Profit Corporations (532B), Articles of Incorporation for Professional Associations (532C), Statement of Partnership Authority for General Partnerships (535), and Statement of Qualification for Limited Liability Partnerships (536).
The new forms also allow applicants under the Universal Commercial Code to submit supporting documents as attachments, which had deterred companies from utilizing the feature in the past due to the increased risk of error.
In addition to the new business forms, the Secretary of State’s website now also features the ability to request certified copies of a business license. Previously, the 16,000 annual requests for certified copies would have to be handled by hand.
“There is no room for complacency and bureaucracy in a service agency,” said Husted. “In the Secretary of State’s office, we continue to seek new ways to provide more services to Ohioans while being better stewards of their hard-earned tax dollars.”