Everything You Need to Know About Indiana Corporations:
Indiana Incorporation Options
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How to Incorporate in Indiana
To start a corporation in Indiana, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Business Services Division. You can file this document online or by mail. The articles cost a minimum of $96.50 to file. Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Indiana corporation.
Per IN Code § 23-0.5-4-1 (2019), every Indiana corporation must appoint a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your corporation. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the Indiana SOS’ INBiz Business Name Search and browse until you find the perfect name for your corporation.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your corporation name is, you’re ready to file your Indiana Articles of Incorporation. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Indiana Articles of Incorporation
Learn more about each Articles of Incorporation requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Better yet, skip the form entirely and hire us to incorporate your Indiana business. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private. And for the cheapest way to start a business? Pay just $45 out the door with our Corporate Guide Service monthly payment option.
1. Corporation Type
Indiana uses the same form for multiple types of corporations, so indicate if you’re forming a for-profit corporation, benefit corporation (has a charitable or educational purpose), or a professional corporation (provides a state-licensed service). Note that benefit and professional corporations have additional regulations to follow. Tip: Most corporations are for-profit.
2. Corporation Name
Your name must include “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” “Limited,” “Company” or an abbreviation of one of these words. Tip: Most corporations keep it short and sweet with “Corp” or “Inc.”
3. Principal Office
This is the street address where you’ll receive any mail besides legal notifications for your business. Tip: Keep things simple with one address for all your mail. With Northwest as your registered agent, you can use our Indiana address as your principal office address.
4. Registered Agent
For your Indiana registered agent, you can list an individual state resident (like someone in your Indiana corporation) or a commercial registered agent service (like Northwest). Tip: We recommend Northwest.
5. Registered Office
If you have a noncommercial agent, you’ll need to list the agent’s Indiana street address. This information will become part of the permanent public record of your Indiana corporation. Have a commercial registered agent like Northwest? All that’s needed in your articles is our name.
6. Registered Agent Email
If you have a noncommercial agent, you also have the option to provide an email address. Remember that any information you include will be public record. Many corporations skip this optional section—or avoid putting personal information by hiring a commercial registered agent like Northwest.
7. Authorized Shares
List the number of shares you want to create. You must list at least one. You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting. Have multiple classes or series of shares? You’ll need to explain their different rights or restrictions in an attachment entitled “Exhibit A.”
8. Indiana Incorporator
Incorporators sign and submit your Articles of Incorporation. They must include their name, address, date, and signature. Incorporators don’t have to be directors, officers, or anyone in the corporation—just someone you authorize to submit articles. Tip: When you hire Northwest, we’ll be the incorporator for your Indiana corporation.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Indiana Corporation?
Professionals in Indiana hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent for incorporation—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. We are located in Fort Wayne, IN. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Business Services Division. We know all the fastest filing methods, which translates to fast, professional service—without extra fees.
As your registered agent, we list our Fort Wayne registered office address on your corporation’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Gary, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding, Business Address and More
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
Plan on accepting credit cards? We also offer a Free Credit Card Processing Consultation. Our specialists work with processors to negotiate low rates and better contracts for our clients.
And now, try our in-house Northwest Phone Service for 60 days, free of charge with our formation service. Get a virtual phone number with your choice of area code, make and receive calls from any device, and more—for just $9 a month.
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your corporation in Indiana. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Indiana Corporation Is Formed?
After your Indiana Articles of Incorporation are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting bylaws, holding your first meeting, opening a bank account, and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my Indiana corporation need an EIN?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings, and the Indiana Department of Revenue requires an EIN for its business registration. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service. Or choose our Corporate Guide Service—an EIN is included.
Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on Indiana Corporate Bylaws (including free Corporate Bylaws templates), see our Indiana Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need bylaws for my Indiana corporation?
Yes. State statute § 23-1-21-6 (2019) notes that bylaws shall be adopted either by the company’s incorporators or board of directors.
You don’t have to submit bylaws to the state though. Corporate bylaws are internal documents you keep with your other corporate records, such as meeting minutes and resolutions.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
Indiana bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law. For example, IN Code § 23-1-52-2 (2019) states that bylaws cannot abolish or limit a shareholder’s right to inspect and copy corporate records.
How do I write bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your Indiana corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for Indiana organizational meetings?
If the initial board of directors are not named in a corporation’s articles, the incorporators will hold an organizational meeting to elect directors who will complete the organization of the corporation. Election of directors can be held without a meeting if written consent signed by each incorporator is provided. Organizational meetings can be held in or outside of Indiana.
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my Indiana corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in Indiana, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Indiana corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
The corporation’s bylaws
The corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
File Indiana Reports & Taxes
In Indiana, corporations file a Business Entity Report biennially. The state also has a corporate net income tax.
What is the Indiana Business Entity Report?
The Indiana Business Entity Report is a filing you must submit every other year. You update information on directors and officers, as well as your principal address. You must also confirm your registered agent and office.
How much is the Indiana Business Entity Report?
If you file your report online, Indiana charges a $31 fee—plus a transaction fee of $1 for a total of $32. When filing through the mail, the fee is $50.
When is the Indiana Business Entity Report due?
The filing is due before the last day of your anniversary month (the month you first incorporated). For example, if you formed your business on April 17, 2021, you’re required to file by April 30, 2023.
These filings can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders for your Indiana Business Entity Report filings. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your biennial report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
What should I know about Indiana corporate taxes?
Indiana corporations must pay a corporate net income tax. As of 2021, that rate is a flat 5.25%, and will change to 4.9% starting July 1.
The Indiana sales tax is 7%. While there are no local taxes for cities or counties to add, specialty sales taxes may apply, such as use tax, rental tax or lodgings tax.
Do corporations have to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue?
Yes, if you conduct business in Indiana, you’re required to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue. You can register via INBiz or by filling out a Business Tax Application (BT-1). You’ll need your EIN before you can register.
Indiana Corporation FAQs
How can I submit the Indiana Articles of Incorporation?
You can file Indiana articles online or by mail. Mailed filings must be submitted (typed or printed in black ink) to the following address:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 West Washington Street, Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
How much does it cost to start an Indiana corporation?
At least $96.50. When filing online, the base fee is $95, and a payment processing fee is also applied – $1.50 for paying by eCheck, and $2.14 for a credit or debit card. If you file your Articles of Incorporation by mail, the total fee is $100.
Hire us for a one-time fee of $323, including the state filing fees, a year of registered agent service, a business address and more. Or, pay just $45 out the door with our Corporate Guide Service monthly payment option.
How long does it take to start an Indiana corporation?
It takes less than a day to form a corporation in Indiana when filing online. When sent by mail, it can take 5 to 7 days for someone in the Business Services Division to manually process your filing.
If you hire Northwest to start your corporation, we file online and typically have your Indiana corporation formed within 24 hours.
Does an Indiana corporation need a business license?
There’s no general, statewide business license required in Indiana, but some professions require licensing from particular boards and agencies – a barber, for instance, would need a license from the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. Cities and counties may also have local requirements. For example, while Indianapolis only licenses specific business activities, Gary requires all businesses to obtain a $100 license and renew it each year.
For some license applications you may need an EIN or a certified copy of your Articles of Incorporation. At Northwest, we can streamline the process and get these for you—simply add on these items during checkout.
What is a foreign Indiana corporation?
A corporation formed outside of Indiana—but which conducts business in the state—is considered a foreign Indiana corporation. For example, if you incorporated in Illinois but decide to open a storefront in Indiana, you would be a foreign Indiana corporation. This also means you would need to register with the state by filing an Application for Certificate of Authority of a Foreign Corporation with the Indiana Secretary of State. Foreign corporations are required to file the Indiana Business Entity Report every other year as well.
Can Northwest help me form a nonprofit corporation?
How can I get an Indiana phone number for my corporation?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your corporation, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order Indiana Incorporation Service
Our Indiana incorporation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
We offer flexibility with two different options for payment. You can pay everything up front, which includes a full year of registered agent service. Or, pay just $45 out the door with our Corporate Guide Service monthly payment option. With our Corporate Guide Service, we also include an EIN. Just choose one of the buttons below, answer a few easy questions about your business and submit your payment.
Next, we’ll prepare and submit your Indiana Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State, Business Services Division. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Indiana Business Services Division has approved your filing, we notify you that your Indiana corporation has been legally formed. You can now move on to next steps, like holding your organizational meeting and opening a bank account.