Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Indiana Secretary of State website.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Indiana. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized and are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Entity type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Creation Date – Date the entity was filed with the Secretary of State
- Principal Office Address – This could be the physical address of the business or it could be 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’s information – A 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 or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Names of the officers and their title
How to do an Indiana Business Name Search
2.Enter the name you would like to use in the “Entity Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Pool Doctor”.
3.Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Pool Doctor”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Indiana, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered.
The word “The” for “Pool Doctor” isn’t considered unique.
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 there is already one registered. To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the link in the “Business ID” column. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Doctor, LLC”.
4.Clicking on the last link for “The Pool Doctor, LLC” will show a detailed report.
While the name “The Pool Doctor” may not be available, another 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.
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.
How do I form an 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 Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Indiana business licenses and permits may still be necessary.