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Indiana LLC Simple Start Guide

Indiana LLC Simple Start Guide

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Indiana LLC Simple Start Guide

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, you might be at the stage of forming your business structure and wondering how to start an Indiana LLC. While forming your first LLC can be a little intimidating, this guide will walk you through the process step by step.

Related: Guide to starting a business in Indiana

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Steps To Form An Indiana LLC

Step 1: Choose an LLC Name

The first step in forming an Indiana Limited Liability Company is to make sure the name you want is available.  In Indiana, LLC names have to be different from the other entities registered in the state.  The Indiana Secretary of State has a handy online name database so you can do an Indiana LLC name search to make sure your name is available.

The name of the LLC must include one of the following designators (words or abbreviations) at the end of the business name:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC

A comma may be used after the business name and before the designator.  “Hoosier Hair Cuts LLC” and “Hoosier Hair Cuts, LLC” are both acceptable.

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

In addition to checking for name availability, you may also want to see if a domain name is also available.

Step 2: Appoint an Indiana Registered Agent

In Indiana, every LLC will need to designate a registered agent. A registered agent is simply an individual or company with a Indiana street address who will be responsible for any legal correspondence. This commonly includes the receipt of legal documents, such as lawsuit notifications, on behalf of the business.

While many LLC owners opt to fulfill this role themselves, some owners choose to hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent. Utilizing a registered agent service ensures that your LLC adheres to state requirements while offering an added layer of convenience and confidentiality since the owner’s personal address isn’t disclosed in public records.

Related: What is an Indiana registered agent?

Step 3: File the Indiana LLC Articles of Organization

The paperwork to officially create an LLC in Indiana is called the Articles of Organization. To file, either file online with Indiana INBiz. Alternatively, you can download the Articles of Organization (Form 49459).

Related: How to fill out the Indiana Articles of Organization

If you have questions, contact the Indiana Secretary of State, Business Services Division.
302 West Washington Street
Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204

phone at 317-234-9768
email at https://faqs.in.gov/hc/en-us/requests/new

When going through the Articles of Organization, there are a few sections that can trip people up. I’ll explain the most common ones.

Period of duration: This question on the LLC’s duration is to choose a date in the future when the LLC will close. Most businesses don’t have a set date in mind when they expect to shut down and would choose “Perpetual.”  If you do have a specific end date (typically used for investment-related businesses), choose the date the business will close.

Effective date: The next area asks about the effective date of the LLC.  By default, the LLC is effective on the date submitted.  If you prefer to have the LLC officially start at a later date (up to 90 days), enter that date and time in these fields.

Principal office address: In this section, enter the street address, city, state, and zip code of the initial principal office.  This address can be the LLC’s physical address or the address where the business records are stored.  The Principal Office Address does not have to be in Indiana.

Manager or Member information: This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have members (owners) who are active in the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs have managers hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.

Most LLCs are not managed by managers.

Principal information: Enter the title, name, and address of the principals of the LLC.  A principal is an officer, director, board member, partner, etc., in the business.  This is an optional section.

If you are worried about making a mistake when forming your LLC, or just don't want to deal with filling out state paperwork, an LLC formation service will help guide you through the process. My top recommended services include:

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What To Do After Starting An Indiana LLC

Once the LLC has been formed, there are a few additional steps to take care of. Below is a list of the most common tasks.

Prepare an Indiana LLC Operating Agreement

The operating agreement is a document that governs the framework of an LLC. It covers items like ownership rights, member responsibilities, how profits and losses are distributed, and more.

The state of Indiana does not require an LLC to have an operating agreement, but it is still worth considering. Without an operating agreement:

  • The LLC could be subject to generic state rules that may be detrimental in the event of a lawsuit.
  • LLC Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished.
  • Members may not fully understand their roles and responsibilities, which could lead to costly disputes in the future.

Related: Indiana operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

If the LLC will hire employees or is owned by more than one member, an EIN is required. 

The EIN or Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a Federal Employer Identification Number, FEIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique 9-digit tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.

How much does it cost to get an EIN in Indiana?

There is no cost for the EIN when registering through the IRS. The number is available immediately when applying through the IRS website; however, you can also register by phone, fax, or mailing IRS Form SS-4.

Related: How to apply for an EIN

Open an LLC Bank Account

Opening a bank account for your LLC is important for liability protection as the account separates the business’s funds from the member’s personal funds.

Several documents will be needed to open a business bank account, such as:

  • A banking resolution is a document that authorizes the members to open a business bank account on behalf of the LLC.
  • Copies of the original LLC formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Government ID of the members.
  • In some circumstances, an Indiana Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be various business licenses and permits needed before starting your business. Some common registrations include:

  • Business licenses: The state of Indiana doesn’t have a general business license; however, many cities require a business license to operate.
  • Registered Retail Merchant Certificate: Businesses selling products and certain services will need to register for a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate with the Indiana Department of Revenue, which will allow the business to collect sales tax.
  • Professional licensing: Some occupations and professions, such as home inspectors, interior designers, manicurists, and plumbers, in Indiana.
  • Unemployment insurance registration: If you hire employees in Indiana, registration through the Department of Workforce Development will be needed.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Indiana?

File the Indiana Biennial Business Entity Report

LLCs are required to file a biennial report called the Business Entity Report with the Indiana Secretary of State.  This report is due every other year on the anniversary month when the LLC was formed. For example, if the LLC were formed on November 15th, 2024, the next report would be due on November 1st, 2026. The filing fee is $31 for online filing

Related: How to File an Indiana Business Entity Report

File the Beneficial Owner Information Report

Beginning in 2024, any individual who owns at least 25% or has “substantial control” of an LLC or corporation in Indiana or any other state must file the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) form with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). BOI reports are filed electronically through FinCEN’s website.

Indiana LLC FAQs

How much does an Indiana LLC cost?

The cost to form an LLC in Indiana is $95, payable to the Indiana Secretary of State.

Is there a yearly fee for an LLC in Indiana?

No, but a Business Entity Report will need to be filed and state filing fee of $31 paid every other year.

How long does it take for an LLC to be approved in Indiana?

It normally takes 1 day for the state to approve the LLC paperwork for online filings and 5-7 business days for mailed-in forms.

Is an LLC the best choice?

Choosing the right structure for your new small business is a significant decision that can affect your taxes, personal liability, and even your daily operations. Let’s break down the main differences between an LLC (Limited Liability Company), a sole proprietorship, general partnership, and corporation, to help you decide which might be the best fit for you.

An LLC blends the simplicity of a sole proprietorship or partnership with the liability protection of a corporation. If you’re looking for a way to shield your personal assets from business debts or lawsuits, an LLC could be a smart choice. This means if your business runs into trouble, your personal savings, house, and car are usually safer than in a sole proprietorship or general partnership. Plus, LLCs have greater flexibility in taxes, allowing you to choose whether you’d like to be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

The downside of the LLC is that it has ongoing reporting requirements (once every other year) and a fee paid to the state.

What is a Foreign Limited Liability Company?

An Indiana foreign LLC is an LLC that was formed in another state but wants to physically operate in Indiana. Physically operating means having a presence, such as having an office or hiring an employee.

Related: What is the difference between a domestic Indiana LLC and a foreign LLC?

What is a Professional Limited Liability Company?

Businesses that require state licensing, such as accountants, attorneys, podiatrists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, etc., often must file as a Professional Limited Liability Company (sometimes referred to as a Professional LLC or PLLC) instead of an LLC. Filing for a PLLC is very similar to that of an LLC.

Related: What is a Professional Limited Liability Company?

Indiana LLC Simple Start Guide

Indiana LLC Simple Start Guide

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