Start Your LLC in Indiana

Learn How to Form an LLC in Indiana

An Indiana LLC can provide you with numerous benefits, especially in important areas of business such as taxation. The Indiana Secretary of State Business Division handles all filings of this nature.

To start an LLC in Indiana you need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and pay the formation fee.

Once you've registered your LLC business entity in this way, you can enjoy many of the same tax advantages that partnerships in Indiana gain.

You'll also get other benefits, like flexibility and limited personal liability.

Choose a Name for your LLC

Under Indiana law, each LLC must have a name, You can't use a name that's already associated with an existing company or one that could cause your business to become confused with a government agency, like the FBI.

Some words, such as doctor and attorney, are restricted and you'll need to be licensed in the respective field to use them in the name of your business.

Indiana LLC Naming Guidelines

Your LLC's name should indicate that it is a limited liability company and it must be distinguishable.

It's important to note that changing the identifier at the end of the name doesn't make it unique. For example, Janine's Rentals L.L.C. is the same as Janine's Rentals LLC.

An LLC name is distinguishable if:

  • It contains different letters, numerals, or words.
  • It has a different sequence of letters or numerals from other names in the Secretary of State's records.
  • The roots of the words are the same but the words are in a different order.
The following are not distinguishing characteristics:
  • Differences in business identifiers such as "Inc.", "corporation", "LLC", or "LLP".
  • The use of articles such as "the," "an" or "a"
  • Differences in punctuation
  • Differences in capitalization
  • Plurals or possessives
  • Hyphenation or combined words
  • The words "and" and "&" are interchangeable on the records of the Secretary of State.
  • Arabic, Roman, and spelled-out numbers are treated the same.

You can make sure your LLC's name meets the necessary requirements by checking the Indiana Department of Business Services, via the Business Name Search feature on the INBiz website.

You may also want to consider doing a domain availability check at this time, to ensure that your desired domain name isn't being used on an existing website.

DBA (Doing Business As)

If you wish to register a Doing Business As (DBA) name in Indiana, you'll have to make that application at the county recorder's office.

A corporation must file the assumed business name with the Secretary of State and the County Recorder if doing business under a name other than the name on the Articles of Organization.

LLC Name Reservation

You don't need to reserve an LLC name ahead of time in Indiana. If you choose to reserve a name via the INBiz portal, you'll be given a Reservation ID and Reservation PIN, which can be used when you are filing your Articles of Organization.

Select a Registered Agent

Under Indiana law, a Registered Agent must be selected for your LLC. This is necessary for the service of process in Indiana.

You can choose a person or a business entity for this purpose and they will need to formally agree to accept legal documents on your behalf.

Your registered agent's physical address will be used as your LLC's registered office. Your registered agent in Indiana can also receive tax or business notices and other documents, including payment reminders.

In Indiana, you can be your own registered agent.

Consider a Registered Agent Service

Ordering a Registered Agent service gives you several benefits, such as:

  • Convenience. Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage all government filings and legal notices for your Indiana LLC.
  • Lower risk. This way you can also avoid any fees or further legal trouble caused by missing or misplacing an important document or notice.
  • Privacy. If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.

What is a Registered Agent?

A Registered Agent is an individual or a business entity that has been designated by the LLC to receive service of process notices, government correspondence, and compliance-related documents on behalf of the LLC. The registered agent must be residing in Indiana.

File the Articles of Organization

Filing Articles of Organization with the Indiana Department of Business Services is necessary for Indiana LLC formation.

Your Articles of Organization can be filed online at the INBiz website, at a cost of $95.

You can also download, fill in and mail in the documents and pay a slightly higher fee of $100. If you want to start doing business soon, online filing is better because processing takes just 24 hours.

You'll need a principal office address, which can be the address of your registered agent. In Indiana, your LLC's principal office address can be located in another state. If you already have an LLC in another region and want to expand it to the state of Indiana, you'll need to create a foreign LLC.

LLC Management Structure

At this stage, you can decide whether you'll have your LLC managed by an external manager or request that one of the owners manage the business.

Your LLC will be formed once the Secretary of State approves your Articles of Organization.

An Operating Agreement for Your Indiana LLC

Your Indiana LLC will be formed once your Articles of Organization have been approved. While it's not required, you'll also find it beneficial to prepare an operating agreement.

This document is not generally available to members of the public and it contains information on the structure of your business, its members, and how it will be managed.

Your Indiana LLC's Operating Agreement clearly describes the responsibilities of each member. This means that if a member is not playing their role effectively, adjustments can be recommended in line with the operating agreement.

This agreement must be signed by all the owners, confirming that they agree with its terms.

Your operating agreement is an internal document and does not have to be submitted to the INBiz site.

What is an Operating Agreement?

An operating agreement is an internal legal document that establishes how your LLC will be run. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of the members and managers, the ownership structure, and operating procedures.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number

Every Indiana LLC is required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This number is used by the IRS for tax purposes. Your business should make Federal tax payments and these will be tracked with the EIN.

This number has nine digits and is sometimes called a Federal Employer Identification Number. You can apply for your EIN online at the IRS website. Just complete an SS-4 form to receive your own EIN.

You will also require an EIN if you plan to open a business account. While your LLC does not have to hire employees, if you want to do so, you'll need an EIN.

If you had an EIN for a sole proprietorship that you're converting to an LLC, you'll have to get a new EIN for your Limited Liability Company.

What is an EIN?

EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to help identify your businesses for tax and filing purposes. An EIN is sometimes referred to as a FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) or FTIN (Federal Tax Identification Number).

File a Report Every Other Year

All LLCs operating in the state of Indiana must file a Business Entity Report every other year to maintain active status.

You need to file a Business Entity Report to keep your LLC in compliance and in good standing with the state.

You can file your LLC's Business Entity Report by mail or online. Filing online is cheaper (costs $32), faster, and much safer during the COVID-19 crisis.

If you decide to mail the report, then prepare a check or money order for $50 and make it payable to “Secretary of State”.

Mail your $50 payment along with your completed Business Entity Report to:

Secretary of State
302 W Washington Street
Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204