How to Start an LLC in Indiana

(July 2024)

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Are you considering starting an LLC in Indiana? If so, get your pen, jotter, and thinking cap, as you’re about to discover all you need to get things started.

When founding a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Indiana, you must understand the specific forms needed for an LLC establishment, where you can apply for your LLC formation, the conditions needed, the types you can apply for, and so on.

If you’re wondering where to begin, worry no more, as this article provides you with the required information to get things started—the right way.

All you have to do is read this article to the end to get all the required information.

To begin an LLC in Indiana:
1. Familiarize Yourself with Indiana’s LLC Prerequisites
2. Decide on the Type of Indiana LLC You Want
3. Give Your Indiana LLC a Name
4. Appoint a Registered Agent
5. Bring Together and File the Articles of Organization
6. Create an Operating Agreement, If Necessary
7. Obtain an EIN
8. File Your Business Entity Report
Recap

Ready? Begin right away.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Indiana’s LLC Prerequisites

To begin a Limited Liability Company in Indiana, acquaint yourself with its nuts and bolts.

Before you start anything, take note of the monetary process of founding an LLC in Indiana.

First, submitting the Articles of Organization incurs a $100 fee (may change anytime), set by the Indiana Secretary of State.

Second, if you wish to reserve your LLC name, the Indiana SOS offers this service for a $20 charge.

While self-filing is typically the most economical, managing all the paperwork can be difficult. Opting for legal assistance can be expensive, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

After forming your LLC, you’re mandated by the Indiana government to file biennial reports every other year. You are paying $50 for the report if filed by mail, or pay $32 for online filing.

Is starting an LLC in Indiana worth it? You may ask. Yes, it does. By implication, your business and properties are protected from debts and legal liabilities.

You also enjoy leverage to pass through taxation. But that’s not all…you get to decide if you’re going to work with a member-managed or manager-managed structure.

Explore more about the expenses associated with LLC formation and operation to know how much it will cost you. 

To get in touch with the Indiana Secretary of State, call 317-234-9768, or send an email to [email protected]. You can only reach them from Monday to Friday (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).  

2. Decide on the Type of Indiana LLC You Want

To start an LLC in Indiana, choose the type of business you want to operate on.

Before starting your business, you must choose from the various types of LLCs the Indiana government permits. Such a decision helps you identify the kind of documentation needed, and the process required.

The most common types of businesses allowed in Indiana include the Domestic LLC, formed within Indiana and registered to conduct business in the state.

You also have the Foreign LLC (founded outside Indiana but registered to do business within the state), and Professional LLC (designed for licensed professionals providing services requiring Indiana state approval, such as doctors or lawyers). 

Other LLC types in Indiana include Series LLC (Permits the creation of individual series with separate rights, powers, or duties, providing internal liability protection between series), Low-Profit LLC (Usually combines the characteristics of an LLC with a focus on achieving social or charitable goals), among others.

Check your business goals and structure, and choose the type that aligns best.

>>>PRO TIPS: LLC Taxes: Full Guide

3. Give Your Indiana LLC a Name

To commence an LLC in Indiana, decide on the name you want to use for the business. In other words, this is the name by which your customers will recognize your business.

When it comes to setting up your LLC’s name in Indiana, there are requirements you must take into consideration.

Bear in mind that your business name must be unique.

Speaking of uniqueness, take note of the 2018 Indiana Code, in article 0.5. Uniform Business Organization Code.

The article explains that starting January 1, 2018, names for business entities in Indiana must be unique and distinguishable from existing entities or reserved names.

You’re not allowed to choose a name that resembles others, including dissolved entities or those with reserved names.

The guidelines exclude considering certain words or abbreviations when assessing name distinctiveness.

Avoid acronyms that can be misleading, especially those associated with government agencies such as the NSA, FBI, and more. By all means, avoid the word “bank” from your business name, unless you have the approval to do so.

In a case where you want to register your business with an assumed business name, you must do so with Indiana’s Secretary of State. You can apply online, or by postal mail. You are paying a filing fee of $20 to obtain a Certificate of Assumed Business Name.

4. Appoint a Registered Agent

To start an LLC in Indiana, appoint a registered agent for your business who serves as the official point of contact for legal and government correspondence.  

Part of their responsibilities include receiving important documents like legal notices, tax forms, and official notifications on behalf of your business, ensuring timely communication and compliance with regulations.

Mind you, the agent must have a physical address in Indiana.

It is not compulsory that your agent must be part of your company. As long as the agent is above 18 years old, consents to the responsibility, and has contact information, you can work with them.

You can consider working with professional registered agent services that also work for the Indiana state. Some of the agents include LegalZoom, ZenBusiness, Swyft Filings, Bizee, and Northwest Registered Agent.

Check their offerings, see what other customers are saying about their services, and pick the one that aligns best with you.

If your business is growing to Indiana from a different state, you must assign an agent in your foreign qualification filings so you can obtain a certificate of authority.

When appointing an agent, decide which type you’re working with –whether commercial or noncommercial agent.

If you’re working with a commercial agent, you only need the name being that the secretary of state has their information in place. However, if you assign a noncommercial agent, you shall provide their address (excluding P.O. boxes).

Beware that hiring a Northwest registered agent comes with a $125 yearly fee that allows you to use the agent’s address throughout your entire Articles of Organization with no extra charges.

5. Bring Together and File the Articles of Organization

To begin a limited liability company in Indiana, gather and file the articles of organization.

What are Articles of Organization? You may ask…

These are documents related to your business that the Secretary of State’s office needs to approve to create your Indiana LLC.

Before sending in your Articles of Organization, gather information about your business, address, the name and address of your LLC’s registered agent, the effective date you intend to begin the business, and the name and signature of the organizer. You should also indicate if your LLC is manager-managed or member-managed.

Put aside a filing fee of up to $200. Mind you, this fee can be lower.

You have two major means of filing your Articles of Organization—online, and mail in a paper copy.

To file your Indiana LLC Articles of Organization using the online option:

  • Create and “Access Indiana” login. (search IndianaGovernment on YouTube to watch a video tutorial on the process).
  • Login into your “INBiz” account using the Indiana login you created.
  • Provide the details in the fields provided.
  • Before submission, review the information you provided to ensure everything is error-free. Look out for typos, or any changes you need to make.
  • Once you’re sure everything is good, click “Next” to continue.
  • Tick the three checkboxes, identifying that you agree with the process.
  • Click “Continue” after entering your billing and contact info.

Alternatively, you can file your Articles of Organization by hand, by downloading the Indiana LLC Articles of Organization (Form 49459).

Neatly print out the form and fill out every detail using a blue or black pen. You can also use your computer to fill out the form using a PDF reader such as Adobe. Once you’re done, print the form in a normal white paper (8.5” x 11”).

6. Create an Operating Agreement, If Necessary

To inaugurate an LLC in Indiana, create an operating agreement where you clearly state the structure of your business, its ownership, capital contributions, and the responsibilities of each member.

While the Indiana government does not require LLCs to file an Operating Agreement, you should have it anyway, because it’s essential for your business. 

Your operating agreement verifies your LLC ownership. The agreement contains information such as tax treatment preference, management structure, operating procedures, member information, your business’s basic information, liability statement, and additional provisions.

The agreement can also come in handy during disputes.

Do I need an LLC Operating Agreement, when disagreements are governed by Indiana law (IC 23-18)? You may ask…

If you operate simple business arrangements, the IC 23-18 law might work fine. However, this law might not work well if you seek flexibility in defining operating rules and roles further than Indiana’s typical provisions.

7. Obtain an EIN

To start an LLC in Indiana, acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN). One prominent reason for having an EIN is to allow your company to have its bank account. The good thing about obtaining an EIN is that it is free.

There are four ways you can apply for an EIN in Indiana—by fax, by phone (for international applicants), by mail, or simply online (the most preferred method).

To apply online, simply visit the IRS’ official website at www.irs.gov/business. The entire process requires a few steps.

First, know if you’re eligible to apply. You can apply if your business is within the United States or its territories. Also, when applying online, you must have your valid Taxpayer Identification Number, and keep in mind that you can only apply for one EIN.

Second, your application must be done in one sitting. You can’t save and return to it later to complete the process. Also, whatever you’re doing, make sure you stay active on the website as each session expires in 15 minutes of inactivity.

Third, check if all details are correct and then submit. You will receive your EIN once your application is validated.  

Be careful of dubious websites that charge a fee to provide you with an EIN.

8. File Your Business Entity Report

To launch an LLC in Indiana, file your business entity report with the Indiana Secretary of State, once in two years. The report is compulsory for all LLCs operating in Indiana.

Mandated by the state, the submission of an annual report ensures accurate and updated information about your business.

The report also serves as a vital tool for the Indiana state government to track and update information about LLCs operating within its jurisdiction.

Key details such as your LLC’s name, your principal office address, the names and addresses of your members or managers, and a brief statement of your business activities are required.

If you’re filing by mail, the Indiana government charges you a $50 fee for the process. But if you prefer doing your filings online, $32 is all you are paying.

Before the date you’re to submit the required report, Indiana’s Secretary of State typically sends you—the LLC owner—a reminder prompting you to file the annual report. If you fail to submit the report on time, you may attract penalties or incur administrative dissolution.  

Always refer to the Indiana Secretary of State’s website to stay up-to-date about changes in requirements and fees.  

Recap

To start an LLC in Indiana, get used to Indiana’s LLC prerequisites and decide on the type of business you want to operate within the state.

Give your Indiana LLC a unique and suitable name and appoint a registered agent who meets the requirements.

Bring together and file the articles of organization and create an operating agreement, if necessary.

Finally, obtain an Employer Identification Number and file your business entity report as required by the Indiana Secretary of State

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