What Business Licenses & Permits are Needed in Indiana?

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Starting a business in Indiana will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Indiana.

Business License – There is no general state of Indiana business license, however many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

Indianapolis –  Certain types of activities require a business license in Indianapolis such as alarm companies, businesses with five or more coin operated machines, groomers, massage businesses and more.  The Small Business Center issues business licenses for businesses operating in the City of Chicago, regulating industries such as retail stores, food establishments, day care centers, manufacturing facilities, auto repair shops and many more. 

Fort Wayne The City of Fort Wayne requires certain businesses to obtain licensing such as kennels, home-based businesses, businesses selling alcohol and more

Evansville – Businesses such as street vendors, precious metal dealers, and others need licensing from the City of Evansville.  

South Bend – Some businesses need to register with the City of South Bend such as pet shops, alarm installers, restaurants and more.

Bloomington – The City of Bloomington requires licensing for businesses such as child care providers, pawnshops, taxis and more.   

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Indiana Business Tax Application – Most businesses operating in the state that are selling a product or offering certain services will need to register for a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate by filing the Business Tax Application (BT-1) with the Indiana Department of Revenue.

Sales Tax Exemption Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain an Indiana Sales Tax Exemption Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License – In Indiana, there are over 400 different professional licenses, permits, etc. that are required before providing certain products and services.  A variety of professionals in the state are regulated such as home inspectors, interior designers, manicurists, plumbers and many more.  Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.

In addition to professional licenses, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, daycares, salvage recyclers and many others require licensing.

Assumed Name Registration – While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Business Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the County Recorder’s  Office in the county where the business is located.

These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are way too many licenses and permits in Indiana for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.