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How To Do An Indiana Business Name Search

How To Do An Indiana Business Name Search

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How To Do An Indiana Business Name Search

If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Indiana, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. Like all other states, Indiana requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. You can do an Indiana business name search on the Indiana Secretary of State website to see if the business name you want to use is available.  

Related: Guide to starting a business in Indiana

Step 1: Visit the Indiana Entity Name Database

Visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Step 2: Search your Business Name

Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field.  In this example, we will do an Indiana LLC name search by looking up “Pool Doctor.”

How to do an Indiana Business Name Search

Step 3: View Results

When we search the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Pool Doctor.” To register a corporation or LLC name in Indiana, the name must be distinguishable from the other registered names.

Pay attention to the far right column, “Status.” If there is a business name that you would like to use, but the status is “Admin Dissolved,” you may be able to register it.

If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since one has already been registered. To find more information about each registered business name, click on the link in the “Business ID” column. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Doctor, LLC.”

Indiana Business Name Results

Clicking on the last link for “The Pool Doctor, LLC” will show a detailed report.

Indiana Business Name Result

 

While the name “The Pool Doctor” may not be available, other variants could be something like “The Doctor of Pools.”  Searching for this business name brings a result that says, “No data found.”  While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register. 

Indiana Business Name is Available

These are the basics of searching for a business name in Indiana.  Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.

What information can be found on the Indiana business entity database?

An Indiana business entity search can uncover several pieces of information about businesses operating in the state. Some of the highlights include:

  • Entity Type: Corporation, Limited Liability Company, etc.
  • Business ID: The filing number assigned to new corporations and LLCs by the Indiana Secretary of State.
  • Creation Date: The date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State.
  • Principal Office Address: This could be the business’s physical address or an address where business records are stored.
  • Business Status: Active means the business entity is in good standing with the state, and all reports and filing fees are up to date.
  • Expiration Date: Some entities will have a pre-determined end date (typically investment-related businesses). A “Perpetual” listing means the business intends to operate forever.
  • Principal Information: Title, name, and address of the members/shareholders.
  • Registered Agent Contact Information: An Indiana registered agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business.  This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information.  Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t listed.  
  • Officer Names: Names of the officers and their title.

Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique.  To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.

Related: Should I trademark my business name?

Indiana Business Name Search FAQs

How do I find the business name of an Indiana sole proprietorship?

An Indiana sole proprietorship or general partnership can use the small business owner(s) full first and last name as the business name, but many will want to operate under a specific business name. Unlike corporations and LLCs in Indiana, the names of sole proprietorships and partnerships are not listed on the state database. Instead, they are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. 

To register the business name, they will register for an Indiana Assumed Name, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, or Fictitious Business Name with the County Clerk.

How do I form an Indiana LLC?

Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use.  Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Indiana LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.

While not required in Indiana, an LLC operating agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.

After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to register for any Indiana business licenses and possibly obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so the business is legal to operate.

What are the naming guidelines for an Indiana LLC?

In addition to being unique, the LLC’s name must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., and it may not use restricted words such as bank or insurance unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.

Can an LLC name be reserved in Indiana?

If you want to use a name but are not ready to form the LLC, you can file a Name Reservation application with the Secretary of State to hold a name for up to 120 days.

How To Do An Indiana Business Name Search

How To Do An Indiana Business Name Search

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