Start A Corporation In Indiana
Use our free business tools below to complete your Indiana Articles of Incorporation. This is the document you file directly with the Indiana Business Services Division to form your corporation.
If you want more, hire us to form your corporation in Indiana. We’ll get your business stood up in minutes with a free domain, website, email, business phone, and more.
How to Start a Corporation in Indiana
An Indiana corporation is a business with a legal existence separate from its owners. If properly maintained, a corporation can conduct business in its own name and has many of the rights and obligations of a natural person, including the ability to enter into contracts, sue and be sued, hold assets, and pay taxes in its own name.
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. The articles cost $100 to file ($98 online). Once filed with the state, this document formally creates your Indiana corporation.
1. Name Your Corporation
Indiana’s requirements for naming corporations are covered in Indiana Code § 23-0.5-3. In a nutshell, your corporation’s name must not:
- Be taken by another company in Indiana.
- Contain words or abbreviations that make it sound like a different entity type. For example: “LLC” or “limited partnership”
- Contain the word “bank” or any word derived from “bank” unless approved by the Department of Financial Institutions.
In addition, your corporation’s name will need to include the words “corporation” or an abbreviation like “inc”.
Already have a business name? Check to see if it’s available.
Can I reserve a business name in Indiana?
Yes. If you’ve thought of the perfect business name, but you’re not quite ready to form your corporation, you can reserve your business name for up to 120 days by creating an account on the INBiz web portal and selecting “Secretary of State Business Service Division” and then “Name Reservation.” You will need to pay a $10 fee. In Indiana, there is no paper form for name reservation.
What's the difference between my corporation's name and an assumed business name?
The business name you write on the Articles of Organization is your corporation’s official name. Any other name your corporation uses is an assumed business name (also called a trade name or DBA). Before you use an assumed business name, you’ll need to submit a Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the Indiana Secretary of State Business Services Division and pay the $30 filing fee.
Considering using an assumed business name? Learn How to Get an Indiana DBA.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
You will need to appoint an Indiana registered agent before you can complete your Articles of Incorporation. Your registered agent will accept important legal mail on behalf of your business. You can be your own registered agent, or you can appoint another person or a registered agent service to perform this role. Indiana corporations are required to include their registered agent’s name and address on their Articles of Incorporation and to continuously maintain a registered agent for as long as the business is active.
Learn why the pros use a registered agent service.
What does a registered agent do?
The duties of Indiana registered agents are listed in Indiana Code § 23-0.5-4-11. To sum them up, a registered agent must:
- Have a physical street address in Indiana (not a P.O. box or virtual office.)
- Maintain regular business hours.
- Accept legal mail and correspondence from the Indiana Secretary of State and promptly forward it to your business.
Can you be your own registered agent in Indiana?
Yes. As long as you are willing to share your name and address on the public record, and you can maintain regular business hours at this address to accept service of process, you can be your own registered agent.
Can I change my registered agent after I start a corporation?
Yes. You are allowed to change your registered agent in Indiana at any time by submitting a Statement of Change of Registered Agent form to the Indiana Secretary of State. There is no fee to change your registered agent in Indiana.
3. Submit Articles of Incorporation
To formally start your corporation, you will need to submit your Articles of Incorporation to the Indiana Business Services Division online, by mail, or in person.
Note: Most of the information on this form will become part of the public record.
Here is the information you will need to provide about your corporation:
- Company name. Must contain “corporation,” “inc,” or another abbreviation
- Business email. Not visible to the public.
- Return address. Where the state will return your forms,
- Contact info. Who the state will contact if there’s a problem with your filing.
- Principal office. Must be a physical street address, not a P.O. Box.
- Registered agent. Indicate if they are a commercial registered agent (a business) or a non-commercial registered agent (an individual).
- Registered agent address. Must be a physical street address.
- Registered agent email (optional).
- Authorized Shares: Must include issued shares and consideration received.
- Name of Directors: Must include names and addresses of anyone on the initial board.
- Business duration (optional): If you want your business to dissolve on a certain date, add it here.
- Incorporators: Must include the names and addresses of all your incorporators.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
Articles of Incorporation are public documents, meaning people will be able to easily access them online. If you put your own name and address on these forms, you’re likely to be bombarded with junk mail from marketing firms.
The best way to maintain your privacy is to hire a registered agent service that will put its name and address on your business forms instead of yours.
How do I file the Indiana Articles of Incorporation?
You can file your Articles of Incorporation online, by mail, or in person.
By mail or in person:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 West Washington St. Rm. E018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
InBiz web portal
Start Your Indiana Corporation Today!Get Started
4. 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.
Do I need an EIN for my Indiana Corporation?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings. 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 Indiana 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 EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
5. File the Beneficial Ownership Information Report
As of January 1, 2024, most US corporations need to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Entities required to file the BOI Report (called reporting companies) need to provide identifying information about the company and its beneficial owners. Newly formed companies must also list information about the company applicant.
- Beneficial Owner: Includes everyone with at least 25% ownership stake in the corporation or with substantial control over company operations, such as senior officers and General Counsel.
- Company Applicant: The person who filed your corporation’s Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Business Services Division. This person is also known as your incorporator. Only companies formed in 2024 or later need to include company applicant information in their BOI Report.
What's the deadline for filing the BOI Report?
The deadline for your first BOI Report will depend on when you incorporated. If your company was formed…
- Before 2024, you need to file by January 1, 2025.
- In 2024, you must file within 90 days of incorporation.
- In 2025 or later, file within 30 days of incorporation.
What information is required on the BOI Report?
New corporations must provide information about each beneficial owner and their company applicant. (Corporations formed before 2024 don’t need to give company applicant information.) You’ll also need to provide some basic company information.
Beneficial owner and company applicant information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Residential or business street address
- Personal identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport), including the ID number
- Legal business name
- Any DBAs/assumed business names
- Business street address
- State of incorporation
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Will I need to update the BOI Report?
Yes. Any time information that’s required on the BOI Report changes, (such as the chief officers, company name, or address) you’ll need to file an updated report within 30 days. You can file your updated report for free through FinCEN’s E-filing system.
Does the information on the BOI Report go on the public record?
No. Unlike the information on your Indiana Articles of Incorporation, your BOI Report won’t be publicly available. The only groups that will be able to access BOI Report information are US government agencies, law enforcement, and financial institutions. Financial institutions can only access it for customer verification purposes.
Are there exemptions from the BOI Report?
Yes, there are 23 classes of exemption from the BOI Report. The most common exemptions include:
- Large operating companies
- Most financial companies, such as banks and credit unions
- Investment companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Insurance companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Public utilities companies registered with a state or federal agency
- Tax-exempt entities
6. Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules that govern your corporation. 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 Indiana Corporate Bylaws templates), see our Indiana Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need corporate bylaws for my Indiana corporation?
Yes. IC § 23-1-21-6 notes that bylaws shall be adopted either by the incorporators or board of directors. Bylaws are usually adopted at the corporation’s initial organizational meeting.
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.
How do I write corporate 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.
What should I include in my corporate bylaws?
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?
Corporate bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law.
7. 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?
Meetings are held at the call of a majority of incorporators (or directors, if named in the articles), and aren’t required to be held in Indiana. Any initial business actions can be taken without an organizational meeting, if written or electronically-transmitted consent describes the action taken and is signed by each incorporator.
8. 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 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.
9. File State Reports & Taxes
In Indiana, corporations file a Business Entity Report biennially (every other year). 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.