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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a smart entity choice for many start-up businesses.  The LLC provides personal liability protection and has the potential to save money on taxes. With a little research, you can learn how to form an LLC in Indiana without an attorney.

Unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership where the small business owner can be held personally liable for lawsuits against the business, the LLC is a separate legal structure, protecting for the business owner’s personal assets.

Besides the liability protection, the Limited Liability Company provides several other benefits over the sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation because of the multiple tax options, ease of administration and management flexibility.

Forming an LLC in Indiana can be both affordable and is simple enough for most people to start on their own.  That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a legal professional like While the filing is pretty straightforward, it’s nice to have some support if you have questions, alerts when the annual report is due, forms like operating agreements, banking resolutions and more.  There are companies like IncFile or ZenBusiness and others that do all of this for as little as $49.

To form a Limited Liability Company in Indiana, file the Articles of Organization with the State of Indiana, Business Registration Division.  The LLC filing fee for online processing is $95 and $100 when filing by mail.

Approval for the LLC typically takes 24 hours when filing online and around one week when filing by mail.

If you have questions, contact the Indiana Secretary of State.
317-234-9768
http://www.in.gov/sos/business/index.htm

HOW TO FILE THE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION AND FORM A INDIANA LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show filing online.

To get started, register with Indiana INBiz. Alternatively, you can download the Articles of Organization (Form 49459).

Starting at INBiz, select “Start a New Business” and sign up for a new account.

After registering,

  1. Select “Start a New Business” in the top menu
  2. Click on the “Next” button in the lower right
  3. You can choose the “Business Wizard” or “Frequent User” .  For this step-by-step guide, we chose “Frequent User”.
  4. Next, you will select your business entity.  Select Limited Liability Company in teh Domestic Entity Type column.

Select Entity Type LLC

Step 1: Register a Business Name

You are asked whether a name has been reserved for the LLC.  This isn’t a requirement to be done ahead of time and if it hasn’t been reserved, select “No”.

Indiana LLC Name Reservation

Next, you will search for available LLC names.  The name of the LLC also has to differ from other entity names registered with the Indiana Secretary of State.  Here, you can check on available Indiana LLC names before filing.

Indiana LLC Name Search

The name of the LLC must include one of the following designators at the end of the business name:

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

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

Enter a business name with the designator to check if the name is available. If the name search comes back as available, click Next.

Step 2: Business Information

Enter an email for the Secretary of State to communicate information regarding the LLC.

Step 3 – Period of Duration

Most businesses intend to exist forever and would choose “Perpetual”.  If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses) choose the date the will close.

Indiana LLC Period of Duration

Step 4: 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.

Indiana LLC Effective Date

Step 5: 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 physical address of the LLC or the address where the business records are stored.  The Principal Office Address does not have to be in Indiana.

Indiana LLC Principal Office

Step 6: Registered Agent

To have an LLC in Indiana, a Registered Agent must be identified.  The Registered Agent can either be a resident of Indiana (select “Individual” and create a new agent) or a registered agent service (select “Business”, enter their name and search).  The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state to act as a point of contact to receive legal documents, tax notices, summons, subpoenas, etc on behalf of the LLC.

Even though the business owner can be the registered agent, their name and address become public record and with that comes a loss of privacy. This is more important for some entrepreneurs, especially when they are doing business from home.

Indiana LLC Registered Agent

Step 7: Manager / Member Information

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

  • Member-Managed LLCs have members (owners) that 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.

The next question is optional and asks if the LLC is a Single-Member LLC.  A Single-Member LLC is simply one that is owned by one person.

Indiana LLC Manager Member-Managed LLC

Step 8: Principal Information

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

Indiana LLC Principal Information

Step 9: Attachments

Attachments are additional rules or requirements for the LLC.  This is options and many LLCs down add additional articles.

Indiana LLC Additional Attachments

Step 10: Review

Review the information to ensure it is correct.

Step 11: Signature

Review the terms and someone with authority to sign on behalf of the LLC will sign and provide their title.

Step 12: Pay

Pay and file the Articles of Organization.

In approximately 24 hours is filing online or around one week if filing by mail, the LLC will be approved.

If mailing the LLC-1 form, send payment to:

Indiana Secretary of State
302 West Washington Street
Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204

That concludes the basics of forming an LLC in Indiana.  Remember, even though you can do it yourself, there is more to an LLC than just the filing.  If you have questions, work with an attorney or a specialized entity formation company such as IncFile or ZenBusiness to make sure everything is done correctly.

Wrapping Up

While not required, an Operating Agreement is recommended in many cases.  An Operating Agreement is a legal document outlining the roles and responsibilities for the members of the LLC.  Read more about when an LLC needs an Operating Agreement.

After filing the LLC, be sure to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The EIN is basically a social security number for a business and will be needed before opening a business bank account.  There is no cost to apply and it takes about 5 minutes to get.  See how to apply for an EIN.

Last, before starting a business in Indiana, you may still need to apply for business licenses, sales tax permits, self-employment taxes and more in Indiana.  See the Guide to Starting a Business in Indiana for more information

Step 4: Organizer Information

The LLC Organizer is someone who is involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization.  The Organizer may or may not be a member, such as a mentor, attorney or accountant, but the initial members could be listed as an organizer.

At least one organizer has to be listed.

Step 5: Period of Duration

Most businesses intend to exist forever and would suggest “At-will”.  If you have a specific end date in mind (typically used for investment-related businesses) choose the close date.

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