A business maintains good standing in the state by complying with statutory requirements. Before expanding the operations of your business to another state or obtaining a loan for your business, you might be asked to present an Indiana Certificate of Existence, also called a Certificate of Good Standing (CGS) in other states. But what is a Certificate of Existence, and how do you get one? Our guide explains what getting a Certificate of Existence means, why you might need one, and the process for obtaining one in Indiana.
What is an Indiana Certificate of Existence?
A Indiana Certificate of Existence signifies that your business is in “good standing” with the state of Indiana. Being in good standing means your business is legally formed and operating in Indiana.
The Indiana Secretary of State fulfills requests for Certificates of Existence.
A business falling out of good standing can result in penalties and even dissolution of your business. The most common way business owners lose their good standing status is missing mandated filing deadlines. With ZenBusiness’s Worry Free Compliance service, we can help alleviate the stress of staying legally compliant. Our Worry Free Compliance service includes:
- Notifications and alerts concerning filing deadlines
- Filing your annual report
- Obtaining a Certificate of Existence or Good Standing
- Up to two yearly amendments in the event you need to alter your business information
- In the event you fall out of good standing, a detailed action plan to help you regain your good standing status
Whether you’re starting a new business or have already formed one, our Worry Free Compliance service is here to make your life easier.
What does a Certificate of Existence confirm?
A Certificate of Existence certifies that your entity is authorized to conduct business in Indiana and is in compliance with state law. State compliance requirements include:
- Staying up to date on licenses and permits required by local, state, and federal law
- Paying yearly franchise taxes
- Submitting a biennial report, also referred to as a business entity report in Indiana, every two years that verifies the basic information about your business
The CGS signifies to the requesting party that you’re operating your business legally. The Certificate itself states:
I [SECRETARY OF STATE NAME], Secretary of State of the State of Indiana, do hereby certify that COMPANY NAME is an Indiana Corporation registered to transact business in Indiana on FORMATION DATE. I further certify that all fees and documents required by the Secretary of State’s office have been received and is in good standing as far as this office is concerned.
Why might a business need an Indiana Certificate of Existence?
An Indiana Certificate of Existence provides requesting parties with proof that your business is legally compliant. The Indiana certificate itself isn’t required to maintain legal compliance. However, it’s necessary when you:
- Wish to open a bank account for your business
- Seek to expand your business to another state
- Contract with another business
- Purchase business insurance
- Secure funding for your business
- Sell or transfer any portion of your business
- Renew certain permits and licenses
Many activities require submission of the Certificate of Good Standing at the time of application, so it’s important to be in good standing at all times.
What Indiana entities can obtain a Certificate of Existence?
Entities formally registered with the Indiana Secretary of State are able to obtain a Certificate of Existence. Indiana requires corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) to file organizational documents with the Business Securities Division of the Secretary of State for formation. Thus, corporation and LLC business owners can obtain an Indiana Certificate of Existence. ZenBusiness offers formation plans for Indiana LLCs and corporations.
Other businesses able to obtain a Certificate of Existenceinclude:
- Nonprofit corporations
- Benefit corporations
- Limited partnerships
- Limited liability partnerships
Companies not required to register with the Secretary of State for formation are unable to request a Certificate of Existence. These include:
- Sole proprietorships
- General partnerships
Even sole proprietors operating under an assumed name (doing business as/DBA) are unable to order a CGS in Indiana.
Certificates of Existence have no expiration date. However, the party requesting the certificate may ask that it be obtained within a specified time period.
After obtaining the Certificate of Existence, provide it to the requesting party.
How to get an Indiana Certificate of Existence
First, check that your business is compliant with all Indiana’s legal requirements. ZenBusiness can provide you alerts with our Worry Free Compliance service that will help you monitor your status with the state.
Indiana offers a business portal dedicated to managing important business information, requesting business documents, and filing required reports. To order your Indiana Certificate of Existence, log into your Indiana business portal. Select the Online Services tab, then select Secretary of State Business Service Division. The Certificate of Existence is found by scrolling to Orders and selecting Certificate of Existence. Or let ZenBusiness complete this task for you.
Bad with deadlines? ZenBusiness can help
One of the most common errors resulting in loss of good standing is forgetting to file required reports with the Indiana Secretary of State. Business owners have to worry about operating their enterprise, managing their employees, maximizing their profits, and serving their customers/clients efficiently. On top of these responsibilities, filing deadlines lurk in the background, awaiting a simple mistake to throw a wrench in your business plan.
With our Worry Free Compliance service, we aim to reduce the load on your shoulders by sending notifications prior to filing deadlines so you can be sure to meet them. In fact, we will process your Indiana biennial report and handle up to two amendments to your filing documents each year. And, if you have the Worry Free Compliance service and need a Certificate of Existence, we can obtain one for you; you just pay the state fees.
What if you miss a deadline and fall out of good standing? If you have our Worry Free Compliance service, we will connect you with an expert to advise you what steps to take to regain your good standing status.
Indiana Certificate of Existence FAQs
How much does an Indiana Certificate of Existence cost?
The Secretary of State charges a small fee to order a Certificate of Existence. Filing through INbiz.gov is typically cheaper than filing in any other manner.
How long will it take to get my Certificate of Existence?
Online processing, the preferred method for ordering your Indiana Certificate of Existence, occurs immediately. Other methods could take several business days.
Can I expedite a certificate request?
Online orders of Certificates of Existence are delivered immediately, so any business owner seeking quick service may want to use the online business portal.
Is a certificate required to stay compliant in Indiana?
Indiana business owners are not required to have a Certificate of Existence available on hand at all times. However, you may need one if you enter into a new contract, apply for a business loan, buy business insurance, or wish to expand your business in other ways. Maintaining your good standing status is critical to being able to obtain a Certificate of Existence anytime you need it.