Start your business
Have you been thinking of starting a new business? Whether you want to open a flower shop or make your online freelancing business official, forming a limited liability company (LLC) can help give your business legitimacy and protect you from legal liability.
We’re going to be straight with you — forming an LLC in Indiana involves jumping through a few legal hoops. However, our team is full of LLC experts who are here to hold your hand through every step.
Here, we’ll cover the five principal phases of getting an LLC up and running in Indiana. By following this guide, you’ll be ready to open up shop in no time — at a surprisingly low cost. Once you’ve formed your new Indiana LLC, you can focus on growing your business. Let’s dive in.
1Name Your Indiana LLC
Appoint a Registered Agent in Indiana
When choosing a name for your LLC, you need to ensure that it is unique from any other business in the state of Indiana. You can do a quick business search on the Indiana Secretary of State website. There, you can verify that the LLC name you want is available.
If you want to reserve a business name before forming your LLC, you may reserve a business name by filling out an application and paying a $20 name reservation fee. Once you submit your name reservation, the Indiana government will hold the name for 120 days. If you want to extend your reservation for 120 more days, you can pay another $20.
To comply with Indiana state law, your company’s name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company” or one of two abbreviations, “LLC” or “L.L.C.” According to the Secretary of State, nothing in the LLC’s name can state or imply that the business’s purpose is different from the stated purpose in the LLC’s Articles of Organization. Plus, your business’s name should be distinct from any other LLCs already registered in Indiana.
After looking up names on the Secretary of State’s website, you should check whether your desired domain name is available. While many top-level domains exist — “.co,” “.net,” etc. — there’s nothing like getting the “.com” stamp of legitimacy to give some credibility to your business.
Next, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office search trademark database to see whether anyone has already registered a federal trademark for your desired business name. If the name is taken, you may need to rename your LLC to avoid legal problems. There are also trademarks that happen at the state level. To see if your desired name has been trademarked in Indiana, check this search engine. You can see about securing your own Indiana trademark here.
While you don’t need a trademark to start doing business, registering your business’s name and logo can help prevent others from copying you.
Please note that you should also do this if you are interested in using a DBA or “Doing Business As.” A DBA is another name to use for your business. This will also need to be registered with the Secretary of State and County Recorder.
If all of this sounds complex, don’t worry. ZenBusiness provides a robust Operating Agreement template for $35. This can help to speed up the process, reduce expenses, and get your business ready to go as soon as possible.
Unless you’re a single-member LLC without employees, you’ll likely need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even if you don’t legally need an EIN, getting one can help you open a business bank account or obtain credit to grow your business.
To get an EIN, fill out the application on the IRS website. If you apply online, you’ll usually get your EIN within the same day. The EIN application is entirely free. You can also file a paper application, but the turnaround time is several weeks.
Every Indiana LLC (and foreign LLCs doing business in Indiana) must file a biennial Business Entity Report with the Indiana Secretary of State. The biennial report contains basic information like your LLC’s name, filing date, and registered agent information.
You’ll need to submit your report every other year in the anniversary month of your business’s formation. For example, if you created your LLC on Aug. 13, 2020, you would need to file your biennial report in August of every even year (2022, 2024, etc.). The fee for the report is $50 if submitted by mail and $32 if filed online.
The fee for filing your Articles of Organization is $100 ($95 if submitted online) — the optional name reservation fee is $20. Each year, you’ll also be required to pay $50 or $32 with your annual report, depending on whether you file via mail or online. As discussed above, your business may also need to pay additional fees for Indiana-specific licenses and permits. For more information regarding license fees, visit INBiz.
If you hire ZenBusiness to form your Indiana LLC, the total cost starts at just $49 (plus state filing fees). Our various annual plans can provide you with customer service, registered agent capabilities, reminders to file your biennial report, and a treasure trove of helpful forms and tools empowering you to launch and maintain your LLC for years to come.
You’ll need to pay quite a few taxes if you operate an LLC in Indiana. These include taxes payable to the Indiana government, like sales tax and income tax. You also may need to pay income tax, self-employment tax, and a variety of other taxes to the IRS.
If you want help with your taxes, we recommend finding a trusted professional to help you file correctly.
If you file a paper application, processing usually takes five to seven business days. However, if you file online, you’ll often receive a stamped copy of your Articles of Organization within 24 hours.
No. The Operating Agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. Like most states, Indiana doesn’t require LLCs to draft or adopt an Operating Agreement.
When you get an EIN, you’ll choose between the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect pass-through taxation, where the LLC’s members are only taxed once on their earnings.
If you select corporate taxation, you’ll be taxed twice on your profits — once at the entity level and then at the individual level when you file your yearly tax returns.
In a Series LLC, multiple categories of members, managers, or LLC interests have distinct ownership, rights, and legal obligations. Many owners use Series LLCs to protect separate business units from cross-liability. Although not many states permit a Series LLC to be formed, Indiana does.
INBiz has a list of permits and business licenses your LLC may need to obtain to remain compliant with Indiana state law. Licensing also happens at the federal and local level, and different industries require different licenses and permits. Be sure to research what licensing your business needs, or hire a professional service to do it for you.
For questions about what insurance you need for your LLC in Indiana, contact the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Want to learn more about starting a business in Indiana? Contact us today!
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