Start an LLC in Indiana

Last updated on: October 5, 2021

With a limited liability company being at the peak of its popularity, many modern entrepreneurs choose this very business structure to initiate their ventures in the US. Simple management structure and flexible taxation options make this type of business entity by far the best option both for startup projects and for growing businesses. Since LLCs are created under the state statutes, they are regulated by state-specific laws, and the whole process of LLC formation and operation might slightly vary by state. Besides, some US states appear to be more advanced and pro-business than others giving more opportunities for your LLC development. Indiana is one of such states. Readily welcoming new business ventures onboard, it’s one of a few states allowing not only for basic LLC formation but also for the establishment of Indiana Series LLCs, which are more complex business structures gathering several subdivisions under the limited liability umbrella.

Think about starting an Indiana LLC and want to know all ins and outs of this process? You’ve come to the right place. Whether you decide to register an LLC by yourself or with the help of an online incorporation service, you need to be fully aware of the LLC formation procedure. And in our article, you’ll find all the necessary info on LLC filing steps. 

Filing an LLC in Indiana: Setting up a Legal Entity

There are certain steps you need to take to officially form an LLC as a legal entity in any state, and Indiana is not an exception. 

Decide on Your Indiana LLC Name

You are the one to invent a moniker for your future company before you file Indiana Articles of Organization with the state. The main requirement for the LLC business name is that it shouldn’t coincide with any other company name already registered in the state. Notably, the same name can be used by different LLCs from different states, it’s only trademarking that makes the LLC name unique nationwide. 

Rules to Follow When Creating an LLC Name

While generating a distinguishable name for your company is mostly about your imagination and creative approach, there are certain rules to follow to get a business name that will be not only catchy and memorable but also permissible. 

  • A definitive business descriptor such as “Ltd”, “Limited”, “LLC”, or “Limited Liability Company” is a compulsory part of any LLC name;
  • On the other hand, no other business identifiers and words that might cause any confusion about the type of your business structure such as “corporation”, “trust”, “bank” are allowed;
  • Any references to governmental authorities or state bodies in the LLC name are also banned, as well as any links to academic and scientific degrees or professions that require separate permission to be used;
  • A good LLC name somehow reflects the type of activity your company is engaged in or relates to the industry you operate your business in.

Is the LLC Name Available in Indiana?

Before you proceed to submit the registration documents to launch an LLC in Indiana, you need to check if the chosen business name is available in the state, otherwise, your formation docs won’t be approved by the state. To confirm the name availability, it’s enough to use the INBiz Business Search on the Secretary of State’s official website. The tool will navigate through the vast state business name database to reveal any name coincidences and similarities. 

Can I Reserve a Name for an LLC Indiana?

Business name reservation is available in all US states, including Indiana. You’ll be able to put your name on hold for 120 days in this state if you need time to finalize preparation or tinker with the documents. To lay the name away, you just need to file an online application via the INBiz web portal. And it will cost you only as much as $10, which is a far lower cost than that of the name reservation in many other states.  

How to Create an Original Business Name

If you want an original business name that will be unique and make your company stand out from the crowd, yet have no idea of how to get one, we have some quick tips to help you out with that.

  • First and foremost, it’s worth remembering that by introducing articles, conjunctions, and suffixes, using capital letters, plural or passive forms, or spelling digits, you won’t make your business name unique;
  • To make the name unique, use synonyms, toss-up keywords, and play around words close in meaning;
  • Use acronyms or mix some parts of meaningful words into fancy combos that will communicate some message and catch eyes;
  • Introduce foreign words that will make your company name memorable and recognizable;
  • Take inspiration from literature or science to come up with recognizable and one-of-the-kind names. 

Appoint a Registered Agent

A registered agent is yet another must-have element to form an LLC in Indiana. It’s a point of contact and communication between your legal entity and state or regulatory bodies. All essential docs from governmental authorities are to be received personally, i.e. by your company representative. And a registered agent will act as that official representative for your business, receiving your business correspondence and timely transferring it to you or informing you about any important notifications or deadlines. The main requirement for the registered agent when filing an Indiana LLC is that this entity should be the resident of the state physically present under the specified address and consistently available during business hours on weekdays. Basically, you have two options to choose from, which are appointing an individual or a legal person as your registered agent. 

Hire a Physical Person as a Registered Agent

Any individual residing in Indiana and older than 18 years of age could be a registered agent for your business. You can even handle those responsibilities by yourself if you have enough time and desire for that. Your friends and family members will fit for this role too. Yet, an optimal choice will be a person with some appropriate professional background like a business consultant, accountant, tax expert, or attorney who knows many business-related issues and regulatory procedures from within.

Designate Registered Agent Service

When it comes to appointing a legal entity as your registered agent, most often than not, businesses favor special registered agent services normally available in any US state and provided by LLC formation companies. Those companies can also form your business from scratch and deliver a whole lot of other valuable business services you might need one way or another. Besides, usually, placing a business formation order and choosing an LLC bundle, you’ll get a year of registered agent services as a part of the package, thus, hitting two targets with a single stroke. Our recommendation in this concern is Harbor Compliance that includes registered agent service in all its formation plans.

Submit Indiana Articles of Organization

It’s a step where your LLC is actually formed. The Articles of Organization or Certificate of Formation is the major document that determines the company establishment. It contains the LLC records usually made available to the public, i.e. LLC organizer and manager names, addresses, and signatures as well as the company registered address, registered agent and its address in Indiana, an LLC business name, and the period of duration if applicable. 

Articles of Organization is a sort of standard form you can download from the Secretary of State’s website when opening an LLC in Indiana on your own. Or you can get a customized document within the formation bundle when filing an LLC with one of the incorporation services. A DIY LLC cost in Indiana varies depending on the chosen filing method. And if you decide to pass the LLC registration with the help of an LLC formation company, you should add some extra for their service.

Online LLC Filing

In the state of Indiana, they give preference to this method. You can file the digital version of the Articles of Organization online by signing in on the INBiz website. The best thing about this method is that your application will be processed within an hour at the cost of $95. 

Handling the Application via Mail/ In Person

You can also choose to file your docs in a paper form by downloading the application from the statutory platform, filling it, and sending it to the following  address:

Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 W. Washington St. Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN  46204

The filing fee to be paid in this case is $100 and get ready to wait from 3 to 5 business days until your formation docs are processed. 

Register Your Federal Employer Identification Number

Though not a must to set up an LLC in Indiana, an Employer Identification Number is a sort of ID card for your business. It will make you visible for the IRS service, and you’ll need it for LLC tax filing, paying wages to hired employees, and even opening a bank account. So, we recommend acquiring this number at the stage of business formation. To get the Indiana LLC EIN, you need to contact the IRS and file the application with the service in one of three ways:

Online

It’s the easiest and quickest method since you’ll be assigned your EIN immediately after filling an online form. You can do it any time from 7 am to 10 pm on weekdays. Just remember to have your personal taxpayer number at hand to successfully accomplish the filing. 

Mail

To mail the application, download Form SS-4 from the IRS website and send it to:

Internal Revenue Service Operation
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

To get your EIN back, you’ll have to wait up to four weeks. 

 Fax

Similarly to mail filing, you are free to download the Form SS-4 and fax it to:

(855) 641-6935

In this case, processing will take four business days. 

No matter the application method, obtaining EIN from the Internal Revenue Service is free of charge. Obviously enough, online application is the best option in all senses. 

Open a Bank Account for Your LLC

The biggest benefit of an LLC as a legal structure is the business independence that sets you apart from your company and its liabilities. First of all, this independence relates to personal and business finances, so don’t neglect it and build the right base for maintaining it further on. To easily keep track of your business cash flows and account for the company finances without a hassle, don’t let your personal and business funds intermingle. Keep those separate and open an Indiana business checking account once you get your LLC documents. 

Prepare an Indiana Operating Agreement

Indiana LLCs don’t call for an Operating Agreement at a legal level, and there is no state law that sets a requirement for that. In the meantime, the importance of this document is hard to underestimate when opening and conducting an LLC in Indiana. Without it, LLCs are regulated by Indiana default laws, which are not always what your business needs in certain situations, while an Operating Agreement has a priority over those laws and allows you to set your own rules for your business. The document is a company bylaw that clearly explains the ownership and voting rights, profit distribution, and responsibilities of the company members and managers. Besides, it outlines all the operating procedures to ensure smooth business management on a day-to-day basis and avoid any internal conflicts in case some disputable issues arise. 

To get a free Operating Agreement, you can use one of the multiple templates available online and write it down by yourself. However, this will take you time and effort to do research and customize the template to your business needs. And you cannot be 100% sure you’ll do everything right, so some professional experience and knowledge won’t go amiss here. Yet, an attorney might cost you an arm and a leg while hiring an LLC service is a more reasonable and affordable choice. This is where Rocket Lawyer really shines. The company provides professional attorney assistance at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a private lawyer.  

Running an LLC in Indiana: Maintaining Your Business

When the official business formation is over, there are a few more steps to take to keep your business afloat and maintain it in good standing with the state of Indiana. 

Obtain Necessary Business Licenses and Permits

Licensing in Indiana is a part and parcel of the business environment just like in any other state. Licenses are normally issued at a federal, state, and local level, and you might need only some of them or all of them for your Indiana LLC depending on the industry you run your business in and the types of activities your company is engaged in. Most common Indiana LLC permits and licenses include city business licenses and tax permits, build, health, and occupational permits, liquor license, alcohol and tobacco permits, and a sales license. To learn more about state-specific and local licenses you might need to operate your business in Indiana, check the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency website.

File Biennial Reports

Most states lay down obligatory requirements for LLC reporting to maintain up-to-date and complete data about your business. Indiana is not an exception in this concern. To meet the state compliance rules, you’ll have to file a Business Entity Report with the state every two years. The deadline for filing your biennial LLC report is within a month after your company’s anniversary date. And you can file it online or send a paper form to:

Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 W. Washington St. Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN  46204

It’s worth mentioning that the online option is cheaper and faster. At $32, your report will be processed within an hour while paper forms are processed within about 5 business days, at $50. 

Settle Taxes

Taxes are usually payable at the federal, state, and local levels. So, before you dig into business strategies, set up a plan for your Indiana LLC taxes to match Indiana LLC Tax Filing requirements. 

Federal Taxes

Unless you choose a C-Corp tax status for your LLC, your company will be taxed as a pass-through entity, with no federal taxes to pay. Company incomes and losses will be reported on the personal tax returns of its owners under their individual tax rates. 

State Taxes

When it comes to state tax payments, a pass-through scheme is valid for state tax reports as well. Besides, unlike many other states, Indiana doesn’t have any state-specific taxes such as a franchise or privilege tax in place.

Added Taxes

Yet, don’t let simple federal and state taxation fool you since there is a whole bunch of additional taxes your LLC might be exposed to under certain circumstances. Such taxes include:

To register for any of these tax payments, simply visit the INBiz website where you can also check for some other taxes and fees applicable to your LLC. 

To Conclude

While you can always go a DIY route and register an LLC in Indiana on your own following our detailed formation guide, delegating this task to one of the online formation companies is an easier and safer alternative that will save you a lot of time and effort. In the meantime, you can rest assured your Indiana LLC registration will be completed in a professional and accurate manner, with no errors or mistakes in the documents. Besides, LLC companies are usually one-stop-shops for formation services providing also registered agent services, report filing services, tax consultations, etc.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
https://bestllcservices.co/
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

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