Form Your US Company in Indiana
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Form Your US Company in Indiana
If you’re ready to start a new business in Indiana, an LLC (Limited Liability Company) is one of the best business structures you can choose. An LLC offers you the legal protections of a corporation but with more beneficial tax rates.
If you live in Indiana or plan to do business in the Hoosier State, you’ll need to form an Indiana LLC. Indiana’s LLC filing process is relatively straightforward, so with the help of our guide below, you’ll be well-equipped to form your Indiana LLC yourself.
How to Start an Indiana LLC
Step 1: Choose Your LLC’s Name
Before you will be able to fill in any forms, you will need to select a name for your LLC. This is the step you’re likely most prepared for, but don’t worry if you’re not exactly sure what name you want to pick yet. You need to make sure that your name is not the same as any other business in Indiana, so you will need to do a search to make sure your desired business name is available.
To find out if your LLC name is still available, click here.
This search will help you to narrow down what names are available to use. Be aware that your name can also not be too similar to that of another business already registered in Indiana, regardless of that business’s structure. For example, if there is a business registered as Benny Ballpits LLC, you cannot register Benny’s Ballpits LLC.
Your business name also needs to end with a designator to identify it as an LLC. In the state of Indiana, the designators you can use are:
- Limited Liability Company
Your LLC name also cannot include any terms or abbreviations that would indicate it is associated with a government agency, for example, IRA, CIA, FBI, or State Department. You may also need to submit additional paperwork if you wish to use restricted terms such as “bank” or “lawyer” within your LLC’s name.
While you’re checking the availability of your LLC’s name, you should also check to see if a corresponding domain name (website address) is available. If you intend to brand your business differently from your LLC’s name this may not be important to you, but if it is, make sure you secure a domain name now for your LLC.
Optional: Reserve Your Business Name
If you’re going to go ahead and register your Indiana LLC straight away, you won’t need to do this step. However, if you are looking at the process now and have found your preferred name is available, but don’t intend to register your LLC now, you should consider reserving your business name.
You can file an application with the Indiana Secretary of State to reserve your business name for up to 120 days for a fee of $20.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent
All LLCs are required to have a registered agent in the state they form their LLC in. A registered agent is an individual or company that will take responsibility for receiving any legal or government correspondence (known as “Service of Process”) on behalf of your Indiana LLC. Most of the time this will simply be tax information, but it can include court summons if something goes wrong.
The Registered Agent must have a physical address in Indiana where they can receive mail during normal business hours (9 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday). If you live and work in Indiana, you can be your own registered agent. Alternatively, you can choose a friend, family member, or commercial registered agent. It’s important to note that your registered agent’s address will be available publicly.
A commercial registered agent is an affordable option, and for a small monthly fee will forward your mail to you electronically or physically.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you should act as your own registered agent, check out our guide here.
If you decide a commercial registered agent is the right move for you, we can be your Indiana registered agent. Simply reach out to us for more information and we’ll ensure you have everything you need to move forward with forming your Indiana LLC.
Step 3: File Your Articles of Organization
This is the step you’ve been waiting for; the one where you officially register your business and get your Articles of Organization. You can fill out this form and send it by mail, but this step will be easiest, and much faster if you complete it online.
The filing fee for your Articles of Organization is $100 and you can pay online by credit card (or by check if you are choosing to mail in a form). The information you will need to provide includes:
- the name of your LLC
- the principal address of your business (this is your base of operations)
- the name and address of the registered agent
- a statement of whether your LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
- your business’ purpose – this can just be a brief statement
- the duration of your LLC – this is likely to be perpetual, but if you have a predetermined end date, you should state that here
- the signatures of the LLC organizer(s)
If you are filing for a Foreign LLC (meaning you already have an LLC in another state), the process is much the same but it costs $125 to file and you’ll need to use this form: File Foreign Registration Statement. You’ll also need to provide a Certificate of Existence or a Certificate of Good Standing from the state you first formed your LLC in. The certificate must be no more than 60 days old.
Once you have submitted your Articles of Organization online, and it has been approved, your Indiana LLC will receive its Certificate of Organization. This process usually takes about 24 hours, but there have been delays recently meaning it may take up to 15 business days.
Step 4: Create Your Operating Agreement
Although it is not legally required by the state of Indiana, it is a good idea to create an Operating Agreement for your LLC. An operating agreement is essential if your LLC has more than one owner, known as “members”. An Operating Agreement is an internal document, meaning you won’t have to share it with anyone outside of the LLC, that outlines the obligations, rights, and responsibilities of each member.
Your Operating Agreement should include:
- the name and primary address of the LLC
- the name and address of your registered agent
- the name of each member and their role within the company
- financial contributions of each member
- the distribution of ownership
- management structure
- the duration of the LLC
- how taxes will be paid
- how profits and losses will be dealt with and distributed
- the purpose of the LLC
- procedures for taking on new members
- procedures for outgoing members
- voting rights
- and anything else that should be put down in writing to avoid legal issues later.
Step 5: Get Your EIN
With the formation of your LLC complete, you can register for your Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is like a Social Security Number for your business. You need an EIN regardless of whether you intend to hire employees or not.
Your EIN will enable you to hire employees and handle payroll, open a business bank account, pay taxes, and apply for licenses and permits.
Applying for your EIN is easy, all you need to do is fill out the form and you’ll receive your EIN instantly.
You do have the option to apply for your EIN by mail, with Form SS-4, but you will need to be prepared to wait up to 4 weeks to receive your number.
Step 6: Biennial Business Entity Report
All Indiana LLCs need to file a Business Entity Report every two years with the Indiana Secretary of State. With a filing fee of $30, this report must be submitted by the anniversary month of your LLC’s formation, but the Secretary of State will send a reminder in the month your report is due. Click here to file your Business Entity Report with INBiz.
Step 7: Apply for Necessary Licenses and Permits
One of the last steps you need to complete before you will be able to begin trading is to apply for any licenses and/or permits that your Indiana LLC will need.
The state of Indiana doesn’t have a comprehensive business license so you will need to find out which licenses or permits your business or industry will need. Read through the Indiana State Business Owner’s Guide to find general requirements, local regulations, and specific licensing and permits.
If you intend to hire people or collect sales tax, you will need to register your LLC with the Indiana Department of Revenue online to get your Sales Tax license.
Step 8: Get Your Business Bank Account
As an Indiana LLC, you will need to open a separate business bank account. Though not a legal requirement in the US, this is an essential step, even if you are the only member of your LLC. A business bank account will make sure that you avoid mixing personal and business assets, which can otherwise leave them more vulnerable if you were ever to get into a legal dispute. After all, protecting your assets was probably a big part of what led you to choose an LLC business structure.
Instead, you should use your newly registered business and EIN to get a business bank account now so your business and personal finances always remain separate.
Step 9: Keep Essential Documents On-Site
The final step you should complete, or at least be aware of, is that you need to keep several essential documents on-site at your business’s registered office. These documents are:
- an up-to-date list of LLC members, including names and addresses
- a copy of your Articles/Certificate of Organization, along with actions and amendments
- a copy of the current Operating Agreement
- all recent financial statements
With all steps complete, your Indiana LLC is formed and you are finally ready to start trading!
Let Us Do the Hard Work for You
While we have made this process easier for you by following this guide, it will be time-consuming! Starting an LLC requires a lot of filling in forms and making sure you’ve put the right information in the right place, taking hours or even days that could be better spent making sure that your new business is ready for action.
The good news is that we can take care of all the boring stuff for you, leaving you free to make sure that your products and/or services are as good as they can be and your marketing strategy is ready to go.
We form LLCs and corporations all day every day, and we can do the same for you. Just spend a couple of minutes filling out this short form and we’ll handle formation for you, including registering your LLC name, filing for Articles of Organization, and getting your EIN for you.
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