Last Updated: February 16, 2024, 12:56 pm by TRUiC Team

How to Start a Corporation in Indiana

The process of opening an Indiana corporation is quick and easy.

First, you will need to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State. You will then need to create your corporate bylaws and choose your initial director(s) by holding an organizational meeting. 

Or, simply use a professional service:

four point six out of five Northwest ($29 + state fee)

Learn how to start a corporation in Indiana

It's Easy to Incorporate in Indiana

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Step 1Name Your Indiana Corporation
Step 2Choose a Registered Agent
Step 3Hold an Organizational Meeting
Step 4File the Articles of Incorporation
Step 5Get an EIN

For a look at corporation formation in every state, check out our other How to Start a Corporation guides.

Not sure if a corporation is right for you? Check out our LLC vs. Corporation guide to help you make your decision.

Step 1: Name Your Indiana Corporation

Choosing a business name is the first step in starting a corporation. 

1. Indiana naming guidelines:

  • If your company is a professional corporation, its name must contain the words "Professional Service Corporation" or "Professional Corporation" (or abbreviations of these terms).
  • No names will be accepted that are too similar to the fictitious names used by foreign entities licensed to operate in the state of Indiana.
  • Only a professional corporation in which all shareholders are licensed physicians may use the term "medical" in its corporate name.
  • All corporations must use one of the following terms or abbreviations in their names: corporation, company, limited, or incorporated. Suitable abbreviations can be used instead. 
  • The name you choose must not be the same or indistinguishable from the name of another corporation on the Secretary of State’s records.

Read the Indiana state statute regarding corporation naming guidelines for more information.

 2. Is my corporation name available in Indiana?

Your Indiana corporation name must be unique and distinguishable from other business names in Indiana. Use the Indiana Secretary of State’s Business Search Portal to determine if your desired business name is available.

3. Is the URL available?

Before registering your Indiana corporation, you’ll need to check if a good URL is available for your business name. It’s important to secure your URL right away.

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Step 2: Choose an Indiana Registered Agent

You must appoint an Indiana registered agent when registering your corporation with the Secretary of State.

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive service of process, government correspondence, and compliance documents on behalf of a business.

Your registered agent can be an individual, business entity, or professional registered agent service. Any member of the corporation or individual can serve as your Indiana registered agent as long as the person:

  • is 18 years or older
  • has a physical address in the state where business activity is conducted
  • is available (in person) during normal business hours
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Recommended: Northwest offers one year of free registered agent services with their corporation formation package ($29 + State Fees).

Step 3: Hold an Organizational Meeting

Before you officially file the Articles of Incorporation in Step 4, you will need to hold an organizational meeting to complete the following tasks:

  • Fill out and execute the Articles of Incorporation
  • Create and approve bylaws
  • Select your initial director(s)
  • Determine your share structure
  • Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

Create and Approve Corporate Bylaws

Bylaws are the rules that determine how your organization will be governed and run. For detailed instructions on creating your bylaws, read our corporate bylaws guide.

Appoint Initial Directors

You must appoint at least one director who will oversee your Indiana corporation until the first shareholder meeting.

A corporate director is in charge of the adoption, amendment, and repeal of operational bylaws as well as the election, supervision, and removal of officers.

After forming the corporation, the incorporator(s) — or initial director(s), if named on the formation documents — should call an organizational meeting. During this initial meeting, either the incorporator(s) will elect the board of directors or the initial director(s) will appoint the officers. 

Choose a Share Structure and Strategy

A share of stock is the unit of ownership of a corporation. Each share of stock represents a percentage of ownership of the company. For example, if a corporation issues one share of stock the shareholder (stock owner) would then own 100% of the corporation. 

Shares can be structured into classes. Each class, termed a share class, holds different rights and privileges. You can have multiple classes and each class can hold any number of shares.

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Authorized Shares: the number of shares the corporation is allowed to issue.
Issued Shares: the total number of shares actually issued to shareholders.
Share Class: a group of shares that has a unique set of rights and privileges.

The Articles of Incorporation form issued by the Indiana Secretary of State may only be used to start a corporation with one share class. If the corporation needs a multiple share class structure, you must add an additional section, titled “Exhibit A,” detailing the share type, rights, and preferences.

Create and Execute an Incorporator’s Statement

The incorporator(s) should sign an Incorporator’s Statement with complete names and addresses of each initial director and store it in the corporate records book. 

This document names the initial director(s) that will serve until the board of directors is elected during the first shareholder’s meeting. It should be stored with the rest of your corporate records.

Step 4: File the Indiana Articles of Incorporation

You will need to file the Indiana Articles of Incorporation to set up a corporation in Indiana. You can file it online, by mail, or in person with the Indiana Secretary of State. The filing cost is $100.

This document will cover the basics of your corporation, including:

  • Corporate name and principal address
  • Corporate registered agent name and street address
  • The number of authorized shares the corporation is allowed to issue
  • Incorporator(s) name(s) and address(es)

The Articles of Incorporation form issued by the Indiana Secretary of State may only be used to start a corporation with one share class. If the corporation needs a multiple share class structure, you must add an additional section, titled “Exhibit A,” detailing the share type, rights, and preferences.

File the Indiana Articles of Incorporation

Option 1: File Online With Indiana INBiz

File Online

- OR -

Option 2: File the Articles of Incorporation by Mail or In Person

Download Form

Filing Cost: $100

Filing Address:
Indiana Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 W. Washington Street, Room E018
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Step 5: Get an EIN for Your Indiana Corporation

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used by the federal government to identify a business entity. It is essentially a Social Security number for the company. An EIN is needed:

  • To open a bank account for the company
  • For federal and state tax purposes
  • To hire employees

Get an EIN

Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS

Apply Online

- OR -

Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax

Download Form

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

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

Running Your Corporation

It is very important to adhere to the formalities of running a corporation. Read our How to Run a Corporation guide to learn more.

Taxes, Biennial Reports, & Licensing

Indiana State Corporation Tax Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to register for one or more forms of state tax:

Indiana Sales Tax

If you’re selling a product, you’ll typically need to register for a seller's permit through the Indiana Department of Revenue's website. This allows a business to collect sales tax.

Indiana Employer Taxes

If you hire employees, you will need to register for Indiana employer taxes through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Uplink website. This includes Employee Withholding Tax, Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Disability Insurance.

Indiana Corporation Licenses and Permits

To operate your corporation in Indiana, you must comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. For example, restaurants likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Learn more in our Indiana Business License guide.

File the Indiana Business Entity Report

Business Entity Reports are due every other year at the end of the month of your corporation’s formation. You can create an account on Indiana’s INBiz website and file online, or you can submit a hard copy form to the Secretary of State by mail. The filing fee is $20.

Corporate Dissolution & Indiana Good Standing

How to Get an Indiana Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing, known in Indiana as a Certificate of Existence, verifies that your Indiana corporation was legally formed and has been properly maintained. 

You can order a Certificate of Existence through Indiana’s INBiz website. You will need to create an account to be able to log in to the website. The fee is $26.

Order a Certificate of Existence

Request a Certificate With Indiana INBiz

Request Online

Fee: $26

How to Dissolve a Corporation in Indiana

If at any point you would like to permanently stop doing business, or close your business, it is important to officially dissolve your corporation. Failure to do so in a timely fashion can result in tax liabilities, penalties, or even legal trouble.

There are five main steps to close your Indiana corporation:

  • Stop doing business
  • Hold a board meeting, vote on dissolution, and record the meeting in the corporation minutes
  • File the Articles of Dissolution with the Indiana Secretary of State
  • Close your federal and state business tax accounts with the IRS and Indiana Department of Revenue
  • Close your business bank accounts

File Dissolution Documents

There are two options for filing dissolution documents for an Indiana corporation: articles of dissolution and articles of dissolution prior to issuing shares or commencing business.

Articles of Dissolution
If your corporation already issued shares and commenced business, you must use the Articles of Dissolution (Form 34471). You can also file this form online using Indiana’s INBiz website. The filing fee is $30.

Articles of Dissolution Prior to Issuing Shares or Commencing Business
If your corporation has yet to issue shares of stock or start conducting business, you must use the Articles of Dissolution Prior to Issuing Shares and Commencing Business (Form 39035). This can also be done online using Indiana’s INBiz website. The filing fee is $30.

Is a Corporation Right For You?

An LLC provides limited liability protection without corporate complexity.
Find out if an LLC is the right structure for you.

LLC vs. Corporation | Form an LLC

Steps After Forming a Corporation

After forming a corporation, you’ll want to protect your personal and business assets and build credit.

Taking these steps will set your business up for success:

Form a Corporation with Northwest for $29 Plus State Fees

Indiana Corporation FAQ

Submitting the Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State has a filing cost of $100. This is the same regardless of how you file it (i.e. in person, by mail, or online).

There is also a $20 fee to register your business name with the Secretary of State.

Appointing a registered agent is an important part of the startup process. See our Best Registered Agent Services article for all you need to know about picking a registered agent. 

A number of differences surround LLCs and corporations – primarily pertaining to double taxation and the flexibility of the regulations imposed on their operation and management.

On balance, LLCs are better suited for the majority of situations as they are cheaper, simpler, and more flexible to run.

However, due to their appeal to investors, corporations are preferable where you plan to attract early investment. These differences are discussed further in our LLC vs Corporation article.

If submitted online, your filing can be processed within a few hours. If submitted in person, this rises to one business day, and if mailed in this rises again to three to five business days.

Unlike other states, Indiana does not offer expedited service filings if you need this completed more quickly.

To find out more about how to operate your corporation once you have set it up, see our How to Run a Corporation article.

No, quite the opposite. Starting a corporation in Indiana is very easy to complete, and only involves a few simple steps:

  • Selecting a suitable name
  • Appointing a registered agent
  • Conducting an organizational meeting
  • Filing Articles of Organization

That being said, starting an LLC is widely regarded to be even simpler and more affordable than starting a corporation. You can learn more about this process in our Forming an LLC article.

Although the process to establish an LLC does not differ greatly from that of forming a corporation, the continuing operation and management of an LLC is certainly less burdensome.

This is because corporations are subject to stringent federal oversight and must adhere to specific governance protocols in order to remain compliant.

See our How to Start a Corporation in Indiana article for a more in-depth overview. 

Indiana Corporation Quick Links