How to Start an LLC in Indiana
An Indiana limited liability company (LLC) is a business entity that provides its owners significant liability protection and a simple management structure. By default, LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities. To form an LLC in Indiana, you will need to file the Articles of Organization with the Indiana Secretary of State and pay the $100 filing fee. First, you’ll need to choose a company name and a registered agent for your LLC. Filing an LLC in Indiana only takes a day if you file online but could take around two weeks if you file by mail. We’ll tell you the steps you need to take to get your business started.
Ready to Start an LLC in Indiana?Get Started
Name Your LLC
Designate a Registered Agent
Submit LLC Articles of Organization
Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Get an EIN
Open a Bank Account
Fund the LLC
File reports + taxes
1. Name Your LLC
First things first: your LLC needs a name. Indiana’s requirements for naming LLCs are covered in Indiana Code § 23-0.5-3. In a nutshell, your LLC’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: “corporation,” “corp,” or “limited partnership.”
- Contain the word “bank” or any word derived from “bank” unless approved by the Department of Financial Institutions.
In addition, your LLC’s name will need to include the words “limited liability company” or an abbreviation like “LLC” or “L.L.C.”
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 LLC, 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 LLC’s name and an assumed business name?
The business name you write on the Articles of Organization is your LLC’s official name. Any other name your LLC 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 a DBA.
2. Designate a Registered Agent
You will need to appoint an Indiana registered agent before you can complete your Articles of Organization. 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 LLCs are required to include their registered agent’s name and address on their Articles of Organization 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 an LLC?
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 LLC Articles of Organization
To formally start your LLC, you will need to submit your Articles of Organization to the Indiana Secretary of State 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 LLC:
- Company name. Must contain “limited liability company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.”
- 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).
- Dissolution date. If you want your LLC to dissolve on a known date, you can add that date here. Otherwise, select “The LLC is perpetual until dissolution.” Hint: Most LLCs don’t add an end date.
- Members or managers. Indicate whether your business is run by members or managers.
- Single-member LLC (optional). Check the box if your business is a single-member LLC.
- Signature. Whoever fills out your Articles will sign here.
How can I keep my personal information off the public record?
Articles of Organization 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.
What’s the difference between a member-managed and manager-managed LLC?
In a member-managed LLC, all members share the responsibility of running the LLC. In a manager-managed LLC, the members hire managers to run the LLC. Whoever manages your LLC will be able to enter contracts, hire and fire employees, and open bank accounts, among other powers.
For help with deciding which management structure will work for you, see our page on LLC Member Vs Manager.
How do I file the Indiana Articles of Organization?
You can file your Articles of Organization 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
What’s a series LLC?
In a series LLC, there is a parent LLC (aka umbrella LLC) with one or more divisions within it, called “series”. Each series has its own assets, interests, and liability, and is protected from the liability of the other series. If you’re thinking of structuring your business as a series LLC, consult with an attorney to find out if it’s a smart move for your business.
Intrigued? Learn How to Start a Series LLC in Indiana.
4. Write an LLC Operating Agreement
Your operating agreement is your business’s most important internal document, covering the nitty gritty details of how your LLC will work. This is where you’ll record how much each member invested, how you will vote on amendments, and even what you’ll do if the whole thing falls apart.
Check out our attorney-drafted Indiana LLC Operating Agreement.
Does Indiana require an LLC to have an operating agreement?
No, you’re not legally required to have an operating agreement in Indiana. Indiana Code § 23-18-4-5 states that an LLC may enter into an operating agreement but doesn’t mandate it.
However, for legal protection and a range of other practical reasons, you should consider an operating agreement a must. In fact, you’ll need to show the bank your operating agreement when you open a business bank account. Since your operating agreement is an internal document, you don’t need to file it with the Secretary of State. But in the absence of one, your business will have to follow Indiana’s default LLC statutes.
What should be included in an operating agreement?
Strong operating agreements plan for the “big-picture” scenarios most LLCs eventually face—everything from allocating profits and losses to dissolution. Here are some topics operating agreements address:
- initial investments
- profits, losses, and distributions
- voting rights, decision-making powers, and management
- transfer of membership interest
- dissolving the business
Indiana’s LLC statutes give some guidelines for what an operating agreement may include, but for the most part, your operating agreement can cover anything that isn’t prohibited by Indiana law.
Does a single-member LLC need an operating agreement?
Yes. Most banks require an operating agreement to open a business bank account—even for single member LLCs. And if your business is ever sued, a strong operating agreement could be the key to maintaining your limited liability.
5. Get an EIN
An EIN (employer identification number) is similar to a social security number, but for a business rather than an individual. It’s the number the IRS will use to track your business for tax purposes. It is free to apply for an EIN directly from the IRS. Applying online is the fastest method, but if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to mail in the paper form.
Do I need an EIN for my Indiana LLC?
Technically, you’re only required to have an EIN if your business has employees or is taxed as a corporation. But your LLC will need an EIN to open a business bank account, which is crucial for maintaining your limited liability. Another benefit is that giving your EIN to a vendor is more secure than handing out your personal social security number.
What To Do After Forming Your Indiana LLC
6. Open a Bank Account
Next, you’ll need to open a business bank account. This is a crucial step because your LLC can only enjoy limited liability protection if it can prove that it’s a separate legal entity from its owners. One way you do this is by keeping business and personal spending separate.
Here’s what you should have with you when you open your business bank account:
- Indiana LLC Articles of Organization (a copy is fine)
- the LLC’s operating agreement
- the LLC’s EIN
- an LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account (if your LLC has more than one member).
If your LLC has more than one member, use our free LLC Resolution to Open a Bank Account.
7. Fund the LLC
Time to fund it your LLC. Each member should make an initial contribution to the LLC as payment for their membership interest. Usually, each member writes a check to the LLC bank account. However, in some cases, members contribute property or services. Keep in mind that contributions of property and services frequently trigger tax events.
What is LLC membership interest?
Your membership interest is the percentage of the LLC that you own. Usually, the amount each member invests is proportionate to their membership interest. So if you invest $6,000 into the LLC and four other people invest $1,000 each, you would own 60% of the business, and they would each own 10%. In many cases, owners with a larger membership interest also have greater voting power.
8. File State Reports & Taxes
In Indiana, you’re required to file a Business Entity Report every other year. The purpose of this report to inform the Secretary of State’s office if your business has changed ownership or your contact information has changed. Indiana’s Business Entity Report fee is $50 for LLCs.
Worried you’ll forget? Let us file your Indiana Business Entity Report for you.
When is the Indiana Business Entity Report due?
Your Business Entity Report is due every other year at the end of the month of your LLC’s formation. So, if you formed your LLC in May 2020, your first business entity report would be due by May 31st, 2022.
How are Indiana LLCs taxed?
By default, Indiana LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities, meaning that the profits “pass through” the business to the owners, who report the profits as income on their individual tax returns. In this case, the LLC itself doesn’t pay taxes. An Indiana LLC’s profits are taxed at the federal self-employment tax rate of 15.3%. LLCs also have the option of filing with the IRS to be taxed as an S-Corp or a C-Corp.
Learn more about S-Corp Vs LLC tax designation.