How to Start an LLC in Indiana (2024 Guide)
Wondering how to start an LLC in Indiana? We’ve got you covered.
To get started, you'll need to pick a suitable business name, choose a registered agent, and file your Articles of Organization with the Indiana Secretary of State ($95 processing fee online or $100 by mail).
You can do this independently, consult with a business attorney for specialized legal guidance, or join the other 65% of our readers and hire a specialized Indiana LLC formation service (recommended).
Northwest ($29 + State Fees)
LegalZoom ($249 + State Fees)
How to Form an LLC in Indiana in 6 Steps
In order to form your LLC in Indiana, there are certain steps you’ll need to complete:
- Name Your LLC
- Choose an Indiana Registered Agent
- File Your Articles of Organization
- Create an LLC Operating Agreement
- Obtain an EIN
- File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Step 1: Name Your Indiana LLC
Before you get started, you will need to pick a suitable name for your Indiana LLC.
This will need to comply with all applicable naming requirements under Indiana law and be both succinct and memorable, as this will make it easily searchable by your potential clients.
1. Important Naming Guidelines for Indiana LLCs:
- Your name must include the phrase “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
- Your name cannot include words that may imply that your LLC is affiliated with a government agency; examples of such words include “Division,” “Corporation,” and “State.”
- Restricted words (e.g., Bank, Attorney, University) may require written approval and/or and a licensed individual, such as a doctor or lawyer, to be part of your LLC.
- Master LLCs must contain the phrase “Limited Liability Company-S” or one of the following abbreviations: “LLC-S”, “L.L.C.-S.”
For more information, we recommend having a look at Indiana’s Naming Guidelines.
2. Is the name available in Indiana?
To check whether your desired name has already been taken by another business entity in Indiana, you can perform a Business Name Search on the State of Indiana website.
If you’re not going to start your LLC right away, it might be a good idea to consider reserving your name for up to 120 days.
3. Is the URL available?
We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to make a business website right away, this is an extremely important step as it will prevent others from acquiring it, potentially saving you both time and money in the long term.
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Once you have verified your name is available, you may now select a professional service to complete the LLC formation process for you.
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FAQ: Naming an Indiana LLC
LLC is short for “limited liability company.” It is a simple business structure that offers more flexibility than a traditional corporation while providing many of the same benefits. Read our What is a Limited Liability Company guide for more information.
Or, watch our two-minute video: What is an LLC?
You must follow the Indiana LLC naming guidelines when choosing a name for your LLC:
- Include the phrase "limited liability company" or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
- Do not use words that could confuse your business with a government agency (FBI, State Department, CIA, etc.).
- Receive the proper licensing when using the words such as lawyer or doctor.
If you are having trouble coming up with a name for your LLC use our LLC Name Generator. That will not only find a unique name for your business but an available URL to match.
Most LLCs do not need a DBA. The name of the LLC can serve as your company’s brand name and you can accept checks and other payments under that name as well. However, you may wish to register a DBA if you would like to conduct business under another name.
To learn more about DBAs in your state, read our How to File a DBA guide.
Step 2: Choose a Registered Agent in Indiana
After you find the right name for your LLC, you will need to nominate an Indiana registered agent. This is a necessary step in your Articles of Organization (i.e., the document used to file and register your LLC with the Secretary of State).
What is a registered agent? A registered agent is an individual or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your business. You can think of your registered agent as your business's primary point of contact with the state.
Who can be a registered agent? A registered agent must be a resident of Indiana or a corporation – such as a registered agent service, individual (e.g., yourself, etc.), or an attorney – that is authorized to transact business in Indiana.
Keep in mind that you will need to specify whether you’re using a “commercial” or “noncommercial” registered agent while completing your Articles of Organization. Commercial registered agents are individuals or business entities that are registered with the SOS (e.g., a registered agent service, etc.).
FAQ: Nominating a Registered Agent
Yes. You can choose to act as your own registered agent, appoint a member of your LLC, work with a business attorney, or hire a professional registered agent service (recommended).
Read more about being your own registered agent.
Using a professional registered agent service is an affordable way to manage government filings for your LLC. For most businesses, the advantages of using a professional service significantly outweigh the annual costs.
For more information, read our article on Indiana registered agents.
Step 3: File Your Indiana LLC Articles of Organization
To register your Indiana LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State Business Services Division. You can do this online or by mail.
Before filing, make sure you have completed your Articles of Organization correctly. You will need to have the following information:
- The name of your LLC
- Your address of principal office
- Your registered agent’s name and address (will need to specify whether nature is commercial or noncommercial)
- Period of operations (choose to exist in perpetuity or choose a specified month, day, and year in which your LLC will be dissolved)
- Your LLC’s management structure (e.g., member-managed or manager-managed, etc.)
File the Articles of Organization
OPTION 1: File Online With the Indiana Secretary of StateFile Online
Note: You will need an Access Indiana account to file online.
- OR -
OPTION 2: File Form 49459 by MailDownload Form
State Filing Cost: $95 online, $100 by mail (Nonrefundable)
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
For help with completing the form, visit our Indiana Articles of Organization guide.
Note: If you're expanding your existing LLC to the state of Indiana, you will need to form a foreign limited liability company (LLC).
FAQ: Filing Indiana LLC Documents
It typically takes around an hour for your documents to be processed if filed online or three to four days if filed by mail. Unlike many other states, there is no expedited filing option available in Indiana.
An LLC is referred to as a "domestic LLC" when it conducts business in the state where it was formed. A foreign LLC must be formed when an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state.
The cost to start an Indiana LLC will vary depending on the type of LLC you’re establishing and the method through which you do so. In general, it costs $95 online or $100 by mail to form a domestic LLC and between $125 for foreign LLCs.
To learn more, read our guide on the cost to form an Indiana LLC.
Step 4: Create an Indiana Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not required in Indiana, but it's a good practice to have one.
What is an operating agreement? An operating agreement is a legal document outlining the ownership and operating procedures of an LLC.
Why are operating agreements important? A comprehensive operating agreement ensures that all LLC members are on the same page and reduces the risk of future conflict. This is important even if you’re starting out as a single-member LLC.
For more information on operating agreements, read our Indiana LLC operating agreement guide.
FAQ: Creating an Indiana LLC Operating Agreement
No. The operating agreement is an internal document that you should keep on file for future reference. However, many other states do legally require LLCs to have an operating agreement in place.
Step 5: Get an Indiana LLC EIN
You can get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for free. It is used to identify a business entity and keep track of a business’s tax reporting. It is essentially a Social Security number (SSN) for the company.
Why do I need an EIN? An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required for the following:
- To open a business bank account for the company
- For federal and state tax purposes
- To hire employees for the company
Where do I get an EIN? An EIN is obtained from the IRS (free of charge) by the business owner after forming the company. This can be done online or by mail.
FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: You do not need an SSN to get an EIN. Learn more here.
Get an EIN
Option 1: Request an EIN from the IRS
- OR -
Option 2: Apply for an EIN by Mail or Fax
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935
FAQ: Getting an EIN
A social security number is not required to get an EIN. You can simply fill out IRS Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. Then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Learn more here about applying as an international applicant.
All LLCs with employees, or any LLC with more than one member, must have an EIN. This is required by the IRS.
Learn why we recommend always getting an EIN and how to get one for free in our Do I Need an EIN for an LLC guide.
When you get an EIN, you will be informed of the different tax classification options that are available. Most LLCs elect the default tax status.
However, some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by choosing the S corporation (S corp) status. To learn more, read our LLC vs. S Corp guide.
Step 6: File a Beneficial Ownership Information Report
Beginning January 2024, LLC owners will need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Existing LLCs can file their report any time between January 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025, while new LLCs will need to file their report within 90 days of formation.
This contains similar information to that of your Articles of Organization, such as your LLC name and member information, and can be filed online for free. Failure to file an accurate report on time can result in a $500 per day fine.
Note: There are certain filing exemptions, such as for large companies (i.e., more than 20 full-time employees), tax-exempt entities, and publicly traded companies.
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Maintain Your Indiana LLC
After you’ve successfully formed your LLC, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to periodically take in order to maintain it, including:
- Filing a Business Entity Report
- Sorting out your taxes.
We’ve broken down how to complete each of these steps in greater detail below.
File a Business Entity Report
In order to stay in good standing in Indiana, your LLC will need to file a Business Entity Report with the Indiana Secretary of State biennially (every two years). This report is due every second year at the end of the anniversary of the month you initially registered your LLC in Indiana.
In order to fill out your Indiana Business Entity Report, ensure you include, update, or verify the following information:
- Your business name and principal address (this cannot be changed without filing an amendment, which carries a $30 filing fee).
- Your LLC’s registration details, including where and when it was initially formed.
- The type of business you operate.
- The name and address of your registered agent.
- For corporations and nonprofits, the names and addresses of officers and directors.
Sort Out Your Taxes
LLCs in Indiana will need to pay a number of taxes at a local, state, and federal level. With that said the taxes your LLC must pay will vary depending on the nature of your business (e.g., its industry, niche, number of employees, etc.).
Below, we’ve broken down the most common taxes in Indiana that your LLC may be expected to pay:
In addition to your federal income tax responsibilities, your Indiana LLC will also need to pay taxes on its earnings at a statewide level. There are two main types of income taxes to be aware of, including:
- Personal Income Tax: Each member of your LLC will pay this tax at a flat rate of 3.23% on their share of the business's profits by submitting Form IT-40 and declaring their income to the state.
- Corporate Income Tax: If your LLC opts to be taxed as a C Corp, it will be required to pay a flat corporate income tax rate of 4.90% on the net income it makes from Indiana sources. You’ll need to file Form IT-20 with the Indiana Department of Revenue in order to pay this tax.
Understanding the nuances of your state income taxes is crucial for individuals and corporations as they form a central part of your statewide tax responsibilities.
Sales and Use Taxes
Sales and use tax in Indiana is applied at a general rate of 7% across the state. Your LLC will be responsible for collecting this tax from your customers on a quarterly basis and paying the collected tax to the Indiana Department of Revenue.
Indiana doesn’t allow localities to impose their own additional rates on items covered by this general sales tax rate, meaning an item should be taxed in the same way in different counties. However, counties are allowed to impose higher local sales tax on certain specific items, such as rental vehicles or event tickets.
Note: Before your LLC can start to collect sales tax, you’ll need to first register your business with the Secretary of State and obtain a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate (RRMC). You can do this online using the INBiz platform or by mail using a Business Tax Application (Form BT-1).
Steps After LLC Formation
After forming your LLC, you will need to get a business bank account and website, sort all required business licensing, and get business insurance, among other things.
Visit our After Forming an LLC guide to learn more.