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Starting an Indiana LLC: Indiana and its Many Benefits for Business Owners

Operating your business as a limited liability company is a wise decision for multiple reasons. When you do business as a limited liability company, also known as an LLC, your personal assets are protected and kept separately from the business. This means that once you form your Indiana LLC, your personal bank account and private property are untouchable in the case of a lawsuit or outstanding debts regarding your LLC.

Operating as an Indiana LLC also offers many other benefits, such as being able to open a business bank account, which allows you to open a line of credit that can one day help you grow your LLC. When you operate as a sole proprietorship, you miss out on the many opportunities and benefits that an LLC can provide.

Forming an LLC in Indiana requires quite a few steps, and getting everything in order for your Indiana LLC can be a little overwhelming. Here, we’ve put together a guide that explains the process for you to create an LLC in Indiana.

Although you can complete the process on your own, the professionals at LLC Formations offer services that can help you make business ownership a little bit easier from the start. Using an LLC Formation service allows you to focus on the most important parts of growing your business while we handle the rest.

Here is detailed information about how to form an LLC in Indiana.

The Steps to Forming Your Indiana LLC

1. Name Your Indiana LLC

The first step to forming your LLC is choosing the name you would like your business to operate under. Choosing a unique name for your LLC is an important part of the process when you form your Indiana LLC. The name of your Indiana LLC will often be your first message to customers and clients, so you want to make sure that you’re giving a good impression.

Naming your business has some restrictions though, and you need to keep the restrictions in mind when brainstorming ideas.

Guidelines for Business Names

When choosing your business’s name, the state of Indiana has some rules about what you must include or what you can’t include in the name of your Indiana LLC. Here is the overview:

  • The name of your business has to include the term “limited liability company” or some abbreviation like LLC or L.L.C.
  • Any words that might make your LLC seem like it is a government agency (like FBI, State Department, or Police) are not allowed.
  • Including words like “Bank, Attorney, University” or other terms might mean you need to complete extra paperwork and provide proof that someone within the LLC is a licensed professional.

Is the LLC's Name Already in Use?

Another requirement in Indiana is that your name should not already be in use by another Indiana LLC. Before starting your Indiana LLC registration, check Indiana’s state business registry for information about businesses with the name you plan on using. Be sure to use the exact spelling to avoid getting your application rejected later on. If the name is available, you can continue with the process of forming an LLC in Indiana.

Is There Already a Website with That Name?

Although it it not strictly necessary when setting up an LLC in Indiana, it is a good idea to see if someone already has a website under the name you would like to use. The address of a website is called a “domain name.” If the domain name you would use for your LLC is not already in use, this is a good time to buy it. This makes it impossible for another business to use the domain name while you form your Indiana LLC.

A: If you decide that you don't want to operate under a name that includes the phrase "limited liability company" or any shortened version of it, you can operate under a different name. In Indiana, you can also register a Trade Name or "DBA" name (short for "doing business as") to use a shorter or even entirely different business name. This is helpful if the official LLC name your want is already in use.

Getting Help with Naming

If you have questions or concerns about the name of your LLC, you can contact our team for a consultation. We can help you find out if your business name follows these rules and requirements. We can also give you advice on picking a name that would make a great domain address for your website, which will help you make sales later on.

2. Appoint an Indiana LLC Registered Agent

Once you have a name for your LLC, the state requires that your Indiana LLC appoints an Indiana registered agent. A registered agent is a person or corporation that legally represents your business. This means that any paperwork or documents from the government will be the responsibility of the person or corporation you choose as your Indiana registered agent. Your registered agent’s information will be public record, so many LLC owners prefer to choose someone else to be listed on the state filing.

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Who Can Be A Registered Agent?

Most importantly, your Indiana registered agent must be reliable and responsible. This person will be the one to collect all relevant mail for your Indiana LLC. Your Indiana registered agent also needs to have a street address in Indiana in order to receive mail for your LLC. Mail for your LLC cannot be forwarded by the post office.

Some people choose to hire a registered agent service for their Indiana LLC. The benefit of using a registered agent service is that a professional will be the responsible party, meaning that the chosen registered agent have experience with helping businesses just like yours.

Additionally, when you hire a service, you’re granted more privacy as an LLC owner. The name and address of your LLC’s agent is public record, and since some business owners prefer their information to remain private, a service works best by providing their information instead.

Additionally, any person in your Indiana LLC can be the registered agent, including yourself. However, it’s best to hire a company, like LLC Formations, to work as your registered agent service so you can be sure that everything is taken care of for your Indiana LLC.

A: Picking a Registered Agent service like the one we offer at LLC Formations is a great way to simplify the legal parts of business ownership. Professional Registered Agent services can help you keep track of all your government filings and documents by backing them up for you. They also stay current on Indiana's business requirements, and alert you if you need to make changes to keep your business compliant.

Changing your Registered Agent

Once you have chosen your registered agent for the service of process, it is possible to change the person or corporation representing your LLC Indiana. Simply go to the Indiana Secretary of State website and complete the form titled, “Registered Agent or Address Change.” There is no fee for changing registered agents in the state of Indiana.

Q: Why would I want a corporation to by my LLC’s Registered Agent?

Picking a registered agent service like the one we offer at LLC Formations is a great way to simplify the legal parts of business ownership. Professional Registered Agent services can help you keep track of all your government filings and documents by backing them up for you. They also stay current on Indiana’s business requirements, and alert you if you need to make changes to keep your Indiana LLC compliant.

A: When applying online, the wait is usually about an hour after the online payment is received. Applications by mail take 3 or 4 business days.

3. File Your Articles of Organization for Your Indiana LLC

The next step in starting your business is to file the LLC Articles of Organization with Indiana through the Indiana Secretary of State. Your Indiana LLC Articles of Organization is an important document for your business as it gives an overview of how you plan to organize your new Indiana LLC.

The Indiana Secretary of State handles everything in regards to your LLC Articles of Organization. You need to fill out the paperwork completely and include the filing fee. Your filing fee will depend on how you choose to file with the Indiana Secretary of State.

Filing your Indiana LLC Articles of Organization online costs $95, and filing by mail costs $100. You can file the articles online by visiting the Indiana Business website. Just go to the top of the page, click “Start a Business” and create an account online. You can pay your filing fee by credit card to the Indiana Secretary of State.

You can also choose to file your Articles of Organization by mail to the Secretary of State Business Services Division. Your check or money order will be made out to the Secretary of State for the requiree state filing fees. To file by mail, go to the Indiana Secretary of State website and download the PDF, located under the section titled, “Limited Liability Companies – Domestic.” Forms should be completed and mailed to:

Secretary of State Business Services Division

302 West Washington Street

Room E018

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Q: How long will it take my application to process?

When applying for your Articles of Organization online, the wait is usually about an hour after the online payment is received. Applications by mail take 3 or 4 business days until your Articles of Organization is processed. Whether filing online or by mail, be sure that all of the information for your Indiana LLC Articles of Organization is filled out correctly. Otherwise, your Articles of Organization can be rejected and you will have to resubmit the document.

If you need help with the Indiana LLC Articles of Organization, you can contact the LLC Formation team at LLC Formations for more information about the forms or the formation cost. We can provide you with more information on how to fill out the articles so you can form an Indiana LLC.

5. Create Your LLC Operating Agreement

While some states require that LLC owners submit an Operating Agreement, Indiana does not legally require Operating Agreements. However, successful Indiana LLCs have one.

An Operating Agreement is an outline and overview of how the LLC will work. Operating agreements allow owners to prevent disagreements about how the LLC should run. Although an Operating Agreement is not required, it is a good business practice to create an Operating Agreement anyway. It’s important to have a detailed Operating Agreement to keep your Indiana LLC consistent.

If you are interested in drafting your own Operating Agreement for your LLC, you can reach out to the professional LLC Formation team to help you. Our service ensures that the Operating Agreement for your LLC is legal and effective.

A: Even if you do not plan to hire employees, an EIN is still required for your business. The EIN is a number used by the IRS to identify your LLC as an organization that can be taxed.

6. Apply for an EIN from the IRS

An EIN is a kind of like a Social Security number, but for your LLC. The term EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. An EIN is necessary for an LLC to do important things like open a bank account, file federal and state taxes, and hire employees.

Your EIN is a tax ID for all business transactions. This tax ID is also relevant to your business bank account. Having a tax ID makes it easier for you when it comes time to do your taxes since everything is organized under the EIN.

You can apply for an EIN from the IRS website. You may also apply for an EIN from the IRS by mail. To download the paper application, go to the IRS website and click the link near the bottom of the page that says, “Form SS-4” and complete the application. When you’re done, mail it to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Q: I don’t have employees, do I still need an EIN (Employer Identification Number)?

Even if you do not plan to hire employees, an EIN is still required for your LLC. The EIN is a number used by the IRS to identify your LLC as an organization that can be taxed. In order for your LLC to stay compliant and organized, it’s important for your LLC to have an EIN.

Applying for an EIN is completely free for Indiana LLCs, however, if you find that you don’t understand some of the questions, you can call our professional LLC Formation service for assistance.

A: Getting the permist and licenses for your LLC is a matter of research. One great resource to start with is Indiana's business owner guide. Alternatively, you can also hire a service to help you navigate local and county licensure. This makes the process easier for you, and also gives you confidence that your business will be completely compliant with both the state and the local government.

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7. Apply for Local Permits and Licenses

The state of Indiana has 92 different counties and each has its own regulations on businesses. Once you have completed the process of starting an LLC in Indiana, you need to figure out what kind of licenses and permits you need to operate your Indiana LLC. Here are some examples of the kinds of permits you may need:

City business licenses/tax permits

  • Building permit
  • Health permit
  • Occupational permit
  • Signage permit
  • Alarm permit
  • Zoning permit
  • Alcohol & tobacco permit
  • Liquor license
  • Sales and use tax permit
  • Seller/reseller permit

Getting the correct permits and licenses for your local area is important, because without them your city or county has the right to shut down your LLC. Although licensing can sometimes be overwhelming when you form an LLC, you can do it on your own. Here are some resources in Indiana to help you find out what licenses you will need for your LLC:

Specific Occupational Licenses

Department of Environmental Management

Department of Transportation

Department of Homeland Security

Q: How do I find all the permits an licenses I need?

Alternatively, you can also hire a professional LLC Formation service to help you navigate local and county licensure. This makes the process easier for you, and also gives you confidence that your LLC will be completely compliant with both the state and the local government. Contact the professionals at LLC Formations and we can help you understand what each Indiana Department requires for your LLC.

8. Understand Taxes for Your Indiana LLC

Doing taxes is an essential part of business ownership, and is required to keep your LLC running. Whether you operate as a single-member LLC, you’re member-managed, or manager-managed, you will need to keep taxes in mind when you form an LLC. The first of the tax documents you will need to submit is called the Business Tax Application, also called the BT-1 form.

BT-1 Application

Submitting your LLC’s BT-1 application is done online through the Indiana Department of Revenue. Completing this form can be tricky for some folks, and has several requirements. To see a checklist of these requirements, go to Indiana’s Department of Revenue BT-1 checklist.

In addition to the BT-1 application, you will also need to apply for other taxes, some of which depend on the type of LLC you operate. When forming an LLC, be sure to consider which type of taxes you’ll need to cover at the end of the year.

A: While it is possible to do all the taxes for your LLC on your own, most business owners find it incredibly difficult and time consuming. In order to save time and to make sure that the taxes are done correctly, many business owners choose to hire a tax professional to help them. Although this is an added expense, it can prevent paying fees and back taxes on taxes done incorrectly.

Other Taxes

indiana llc

If you plan on doing any of the following, you will need to submit separate tax applications to the state of Indiana:

  • Sell products or tangible items – sales tax
  • Have employees – withholding tax
  • Sell beverages and food – sales tax plus food-and-beverage tax
  • Rent accommodations for fewer than 30 days – innkeeper’s tax
  • Rent motor vehicles – motor vehicle rental tax
  • Distribute gasoline or other special fuel – fuel tax | gasoline use tax
  • Sell tires – tire fee
  • Sell fireworks – safety fee

The applications for these taxes can be found at Indiana’s Business Owner website under “Registration” and then “Taxes and Fees.” When it comes time to handle your state filing for taxes, you can also contact the LLC Formation professionals for more information. We can guide you through the best options for your Indiana LLC.

Q: Can I do my LLC’s taxes myself?

While it is possible to do all the taxes for your LLC on your own, most business owners find it incredibly difficult and time-consuming. In order to save time and to make sure that the taxes are done correctly, many business owners choose to hire a tax professional to help them. Although consulting with an agent is an added expense, it can prevent paying fees and back taxes on taxes done incorrectly.

A: Usually, the state will begin adding additional fees until the report is filed. If the owner of a business continues to ignore the state's notifications and does not file the report, Indiana has the right to dissolve the business.

Filing a Business Entity Report

Once every two years, your LLC is required by the state to submit a Business Entity Report. This report is due by the last day of the month of your business’s anniversary. For example, if you established your LLC on June 3rd, your Business Entity Report is due by the last business day of June. The report can be filed as much as one month in advance, and businesses that file late may receive fees. Businesses that fail to submit the report can be formally dissolved by the state.

If you don’t remember what day your LLC was established, you can all the Indiana Secretary of State’s office at 317-232-6576 during their business hours. You can also check online and search for your LLC. When you click on the business’s business ID, a list of details, including the creation date, will be included.

Reports can be filed online or by mail. To file by mail, download the Business Entity Report form. Go to this page on the Indiana Secretary of State website and choose “business entity reports” to download the file. Complete the report, and mail with payment to:

Secretary of State

302 W Washington Street

Room E-018

Indianapolis, IN 46204

To file your report online, go to Indiana’s Business Owner website and sign in. From the INBiz dashboard, click “online services” and then “Secretary of State Business Service Division.” Hover over “Indiana Business”, then click “Business Entity Report.” This will guide you through the process.

Filing a report costs $50 when applying by mail. Reports filed online cost $31. Additional fees may be added if the application is submitted later than the last day of the month of your LLC’s anniversary.

Q: What if I forget to file a Business Entity Report?

Usually, the state will begin adding additional fees until the report is filed. If the owner of an LLC continues to ignore the state’s notifications and does not file the report, Indiana has the right to dissolve the LLC.

How Can LLC Formations Help You?

Now that you know how to start an LLC in Indiana, it’s time to get started! Following this step by step guide is a helpful way to begin, but if you get stuck, you can always get help from the professional LLC Formation team at LLC Formations.

To get in touch with our LLC experts, head over to our Contact Page. Good luck, and congratulations on starting your own business! In our upcoming guide we will be talking about LLCs in Iowa.

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