- Step 1. Naming Your Indiana LLC
- Step 2. Choose a Registered Agent
- Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
- Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
- Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
- Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
- Indiana LLC FAQs
Step 1. Naming Your Indiana LLC
One of the most important steps in creating your LLC in Indiana is choosing a suitable name. The name you select should be completely distinct from other businesses in the state, in addition to following several other naming rules.
Legally Required Designation
To adhere to Indiana LLC regulations, your chosen name is required to contain the phrase “limited liability company” or one of the following abbreviations:
You can include the name of an LLC member or manager in your business’s name, but this is not required.
To ensure that your LLC’s name is unique, you can perform a search of business names using the Indiana Secretary of State’s business search portal. If you find that the name you want to use is available, you can file a Reservation of Business Name online with the Secretary of State’s office. This form reserves your chosen name up to 120 days before establishing your LLC, and it costs $20 to file.
Additionally, you may want to perform a search of available domain names during your search. Regardless of when you want to set up a business website, purchasing a matching domain name can be helpful in preventing future stress.
When choosing an LLC name, keep in mind that you cannot include any words that confuse your business with a government entity. This includes words like “IRS,” “Treasury,” or “State Department.”
You should also be aware that using words such as “trust,” “attorney,” or “chiropractor” may require the presence of a properly licensed individual in your LLC and filing separate paperwork. Indiana does not provide for the formation of professional LLCs, but traditional LLCs may offer certain professional services. More information on state requirements can be found here.
Using a Fictitious Name
Indiana does allow LLCs operating in the state to use a fictitious or DBA (doing business as) name for their business. Having an assumed name means you continue using your legally registered LLC name on all official documents but use a different registered name when interacting with the public. This allows business owners to market their LLC a specific way or maintain an extra level of privacy with their business.
To use a fictitious name in Indiana, you must file a Certification of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State’s office. This document can be filed online or through the mail; there is a $20 fee for online filing or a $30 fee for filing through the mail.
Step 2. Choose a Registered Agent
Every LLC operating in Indiana is required to appoint a registered agent. This agent is responsible for receiving all legal documents, government communications, and tax documents, as they essentially act as a contact point between your business and state or federal agencies. They are also the responsible party that is contacted in the event of a lawsuit against your LLC.
You can appoint any Indiana resident or a business authorized to conduct operations in the state as your registered agent. As long as your appointee has a valid Indiana street address and is available during regular business hours, they are eligible to be your registered agent.
More information on registered agents can be found here.
Step 3. File Your Articles of Organization
To officially establish your LLC in Indiana, you need to file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office. This document provides the state with essential information about your business, some of which you can preview below.
- Your LLC’s name
- Your LLC’s principal office address
- Your LLC’s registered agent name and address
- If your LLC’s duration is perpetual or not
- Whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed
- Your LLC’s organizer’s signature
You can file your Articles of Organization online or through the mail. There is a $100 filing fee associated with this form.
To file your Articles of Organization online, proceed to the InBiz online filing system. From there, you need to select the option to “start a new business.” Follow the instructions given, including creating an account, and then proceed through the options to file your document. Upon submittal, you will be prompted to pay the $100 filing fee.
If you wish to file your Articles of Organization through the mail, you need to select the correct form from this list of business forms on the Secretary of State’s website (it can be found under the ‘Limited Liability Companies [Domestic]’ option).
Complete the form electronically or by printing it out and filling it in with dark ink. Then place the form into a secure envelope and include a check of $100 made out to the Secretary of State’s office. Seal the envelope and mail it to the address below.
Secretary of State Business Services Division
302 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Step 4. Create an Operating Agreement
Indiana doesn’t require LLCs in the state to create an operating agreement, but it is a good idea to draft one up anyway. An effective operating agreement sets clear guidelines for how your LLC is managed, the rights that members or managers have, and what to do if your LLC dissolves or experiences a lawsuit.
If you choose not to create an LLC operating agreement, Indiana LLC law will dictate how your LLC is to be managed in the event of dissolution, conflict, or lawsuit. This may not be in your best interests, so creating an operating agreement can protect you and your assets. To get started, check out a template here.
Step 5. Get an EIN/Tax ID Number
As soon as your LLC has been officially established in Indiana, you need to apply for a Tax ID number, also known as an EIN (Employer Identification Number), through the IRS. Any LLC that has more than one member — or for any single-member LLC that wants to hire employees or chooses to be taxed as a corporation — is required to apply for an EIN.
Your EIN is used to identify your business to the IRS on all tax documents and necessary government filings; the number acts as a social security number for your LLC. If you want to hire employees, file federal taxes, open business bank or credit accounts, or apply for business funding, you need an EIN.
It is free to apply for your EIN with the IRS, and you can file the application online or by mailing it in. Keep in mind that if you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, you must file for your EIN through the mail.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for your EIN is online; you will receive your number once your application is completed. Visit the IRS website to apply for your EIN for free.
You need to fill out this form when applying for your LLC by mail. If you are a foreign filer or do not have a social security number, leave section 7b blank. Mail the completed form to the address below. You can follow up on any questions with the IRS at (267) 941-1099.
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Step 6. Keeping Your LLC Running
There are several items of business that you must keep up with to ensure that everything stays operating smoothly.
File Biennial Reports
All LLCs operating in Indiana are required to file a Business Entity Report every two years during the anniversary month of the LLC’s formation. This means that if you established your LLC in July of 2020, your report is due every other year in July, starting with 2022.
You can file your business entity report by mail or through the online InBiz system. To file by mail, select the applicable form from this list and follow the instructions. To file online, proceed to the InBiz system and select the option for ‘file a business entity report.’ There is a $50 filing fee.
Separate Your Business Finances
Even though Indiana does not require LLCs to open separate business bank accounts, it is a good idea to do so anyway. A business credit or debit account can keep your LLC’s finances separate from personal ones: this officially establishes the LLC as an independently operating business. This can protect your assets in the case of a lawsuit against your business.
When establishing a business bank account, you most likely need to show essential internal LLC documents, such as your Articles of Organization, an operating agreement, or your business’s EIN. Be sure to compare all your options before deciding which bank account to open as banks will have varying minimum required balances or credit spending limits; you want to be certain that you select the best option for you and your LLC’s needs.
Keep Up With Federal and State Taxes
It is essential to keep up with federal and state taxes while running your LLC to avoid encountering major tax penalties or fines.
Federal Tax Requirements
There are several tax structures you can choose from to use in your LLC that may meet different company needs; each structure comes with its own unique federal taxation. This article can help you gain an in-depth understanding of the differences between each type and help you decide which is best for you.
In general, most LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships or partnerships. This means you are expected to file Schedule C along with your individual income tax return to declare income that you receive through your LLC. When using this tax structure, keep in mind that you likely need to pay self-employment tax (at a rate of 15.3%) in addition to any income tax. You may also need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid IRS fines; the IRS website gives more details on this.
You can also choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation, like an S Corporation or a C Corporation. You must fill out IRS Form 8832 and IRS Form 2553 to declare this. After these are been processed, your LLC will be treated as a corporation and expected to file a separate corporate tax return with the IRS.
Indiana Business Taxes
While there isn’t a general business tax requirement in Indiana, you may be liable for separate state taxes depending on your LLC’s individual taxation structure. LLCs in the state are not required to pay separate income tax, but all individual members of the LLC are required to report any business income on their state income tax returns each year. The same goes for LLCs taxed as S Corporations in Indiana.
LLCs taxed as C Corporations in the state may be liable to file and pay a separate corporate income tax. More information on this can be found through the Indiana Department of Revenue here.
Sales and Use Taxes
Any LLC in Indiana that plans to sell goods or services will likely need to register for and pay sales and use taxes in the state. This tax is handled by the Indiana Department of Revenue, and you can find more information about it here.
State Employer Taxes
If your LLC is hiring employees in Indiana, you are liable to pay withholding and unemployment insurance taxes. Keep in mind that you may also need to pay these taxes on a federal level; meet with a professional accountant if you are unsure about your overall tax burden.
Indiana withholding taxes are registered for and paid through the Department of Revenue, while unemployment insurance taxes are handled by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses
There is no general business license required in Indiana, but you may be liable to acquire permits or licenses on a local level. Check with the County Clerk’s office in the area your LLC operates to be sure you are up to date on all local licensing regulations.
Additionally, you may need to obtain or meet certain professional licensing requirements before operating your LLC. This depends on the type of business or service that you are offering. For more information on state licensing, can check out the Indiana Business Owner’s Guide.
On a federal level, you may also need to obtain specific permits and licenses for your LLC, depending on the type of business you run and the services you offer. To determine if you need to meet additional federal licensure requirements, you can use the directory on the US Small Business Administration’s website.
Indiana LLC Resources
The compilation of resources below can guide you through each step of the Indiana LLC set up process.
- Available LLC name search
- Available domain name search
- List of Indiana Business Forms
- Indiana InBiz online filing system
- IRS EIN online application
- Indiana Department of Revenue
- Indiana Department of Workforce Development
- Indiana Business Owner’s Guide
- S. Small Business Administration
Keep in mind that the links for Indiana business forms and the InBiz online filing system can provide all the applicable forms and filing information that you need as you work to successfully establish your LLC in the state.
Indiana LLC FAQs
Reviewing our list of frequently asked questions can help ease any lingering worries about the LLC establishment process in Indiana.
In Indiana, it costs $100 to file your Articles of Organization. You may also need to pay $20 to reserve an LLC name or $20 to register a fictitious business name in the state.
The cheapest way to start your Indiana LLC is to file your Articles of Organization online without first reserving an LLC name or registering a DBA name for your business. Doing it this way will only cost $100 to get your business set up.
How much your LLC pays in taxes depends on the individual taxation structure you have set up. In addition to federal taxes, you may be liable to pay individual state income taxes, state corporation taxes, sales and use tax, or state employer taxes.
Make sure to consult with a professional financial advisor or accountant if you are confused by your overall tax burden.
In Indiana, you need to file a business entity report on a biennial basis. The report is due during the anniversary month of your LLC every other year. The report can be filed online or through the mail, and there is a $50 filing fee associated with it.
If you are finished conducting business under your LLC in Indiana, you must file a Dissolution with the Secretary of State’s office. More information on this process can be found here.
You also need to follow any internal documents or operating agreement guidelines for tying up business loose ends and completely shutting down your LLC.