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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a popular business entity choice structure for many businesses starting in Indiana 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.

Related: How Does an LLC Protect You?

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 is something most people can do on their own, but it’s nice to have some support in case you have questions or get stuck.  IncFile and Inc Authority provide LLC formation guidance for only the cost of the state fees!

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.

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

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

Before finalizing a name, learn more about LLC Name Requirements in Indiana. You may also want to see if a domain name is also available to have a matching website address.

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 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.

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 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

If you have questions, contact the Indiana Secretary of State by phone at 317-234-9768 or by email https://faqs.in.gov/hc/en-us/requests/new

Tasks After Forming Your 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 Operating Agreement

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

Most states do 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
  • Member’s personal liability protection may be diminished
  • Members may not have a full understanding of their roles and responsibilities which could lead to costly disputes in the future

Related: Indiana operating agreement template

Obtain an EIN

The EIN or Employer Identification Number is a unique 9-digit number for a business. Similar to a social security number for an individual, the EIN identifies business entities for tax purposes.  

The EIN will be needed in order to open a bank account, register for business licenses and permits, file tax returns, pay payroll taxes and more. 

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 formation paperwork from the state showing the creation of the LLC.
  • Driver’s licenses of the members.
  • Depending on the age of the LLC, an Indiana Certificate of Good Standing may be needed to prove the LLC is active and in good standing with the state.

Related: How to Open a Business Bank Account for your LLC 

Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on what your business does and where it is located, there will likely be a variety of business licenses and permits to register for before starting. Some common registrations include:

  • Business License – Some cities require businesses to obtain licensing before they can start. In some cases, even home-based businesses must have licensing in order to legally operate. 
  • Professional License – Certain services such as barbershops, accountants, salons and others must be licensed.
  • Registered Retail Merchant Certificate – In order to sell products and certain services, registration with the Indiana Department of Revenue will be necessary.

Related: What Business Licenses are Needed in Indiana?

File the Annual Business Entity Report

LLCs are required to file a business entity report with the Indiana Secretary of State.  The annual report updates ownership information and other details.

Related: How to File an Indiana Business Entity Report