How to Start a Business in Indiana:
It is quick and easy to register a business in the State of Indiana. You can file your formation documents online using the state's government website, which allows you to incorporate and register your business for taxes, and keep up with ongoing requirements, in one location.
Form your business.
Review Indiana formation options.
Indiana offers 7 ways of forming your business. Review these closely and pick the one that fits your business best.
Name your business.
Once you have chosen a name for your business, you will need to check that it is not already in use by another business and has not been registered with the state. You can do this by completing a name search on the Indiana Secretary of State (SOS) website.
If the name is available, you may file an application to reserve the name for 120 days.
If you need help finding a business name, be sure to check out NameSnack's free business name generator.
To perform a name availability search, go to the SOS website and enter a business name/business ID/filing number/registered agent name on the form and click "search."
Get an employer identification number.
Nearly all businesses will need to register for federal taxes by applying for an employer identification number.
Register your business in Indiana.
Before registering your business, you will need to appoint a registered agent to act as your legal contact for your business. He/she must reside within the State of Indiana.
If you are starting a sole proprietorship or a general partnership in Indiana, you don't need to register your business name—unless the business name does not contain your personal name. In this instance, you will need to register your business with the County Recorder.
For all other busines structures, you can file your organizational documents with the Business Services Division of the Secretary of State at inbiz.in.gov. If you are doing business under a different name than the one filed with the SOS's Office, you will need to file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the SOS.
Create an account on INBiz.
Select "Start A New Business."
Fill out the organizational documents for your particular business entity.
Pay the filing fee.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses.
Indiana does not have a general state-issued business license, and certain businesses in this state do not need a license to operate. For instance, the only construction contractors licensed by the State of Indiana are plumbers.
Businesses in Indiana are subject to regulatory requirements that involve several state agencies. The state has over 400 different permits, licenses, certifications, and other permissions, which may be required for various businesses and professions.
Common professions that require a business license or permit in Indiana:
- Businesses serving, selling, or manufacturing alcoholic beverages for consumption need to obtain a permit or license from the Alcohol Tobacco Commission.
- Food establishments need to comply with a range of state responsibilities and requirements, for instance being inspected and regulated by a County health department.
- Childcare Providers.
- Healthcare Professionals.
- Financial Service Providers.
Go to in.gov to learn more about regulatory requirements for your business type in Indiana.
Be sure to contact your county office to determine if you need a local license/permit to operate in your area, and to learn more about zoning regulations.
Register your business for taxes.
Register for Indiana state taxes.
To register your business for taxation purposes with the State of Indiana, you need to visit an office of their Department of Revenue or go to INBiz.
Register/Sign in to your account.
Select "Taxes and Fees."
Fill out the appropriate tax forms and submit.
Register for sales and use tax.
If you sell or transfer tangible personal property, you will need to register as a retail merchant by filing Form BT-1 with the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR). Once you are registered, the DOR will assign you a tax identification number and issue the applicable sales tax returns.
Register for corporate income tax.
All corporations are required to pay corporate income taxes in Indiana. There are three types of corporate income taxes: gross income, adjusted gross income, and supplemental net income tax. Corporations are required to file Form IT-20 to report taxable income.
Register for Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax.
All employers are required to register with the Department of Workforce Development by going to the Employer Self Service portal. You will need to create an account and follow the prompts online.
There are other state taxes which include those for personal property, the sale of food and beverage, the rental of motor vehicles, the manufacturing and distribution of fuel, accommodation rental, and the sale of tires and fireworks.
Hire employees and report them to the state.
Report to the Indiana New Hire Reporting Center.
Once you start hiring staff, bear in mind that you are required by law to report newly hired and re-hired employees to the Indiana New Hire Reporting Center within 20 days. On the website, create an account and follow the prompts.
Obtain Workers' Compensation Insurance.
By law, all Indiana employers are required to purchase workers' compensation insurance in order to provide benefits for employees who have been injured or become sick at work.
Display mandatory posters at your place of business.
All employers are required to prominently display specific labor law posters in the workplace. You can find more information on which posters to display at in.gov.
Indiana Business Filing Fees:
Certificate of Assumed Business Name
Articles of Incorporation
All Other Filings
Indiana Business Types:
1. Sole Proprietorship.
A Sole Proprietorship is the simplest business structure as you are not required to file formation papers with the state. The business is owned and operated by one individual, with no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. In Indiana, your business license requirements are dependent on your occupation and location.
A Corporation, owned by multiple shareholders, is a formal business structure that needs to be filed with the state. The business is authorized to act as a single entity and is recognized as such in law, meaning that shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
3. Limited Liability Company.
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the most common business structure. It separates the owner/s and the company from a business and liability perspective. An LLC is the best option for a small business as it is flexible, easy to set up, and requires minimal paperwork. Although not required by law, an LLC should operate under an Operating Agreement in Indiana.
4. General Partnership.
A General Partnership (GP) is run by at least one general partner and one limited partner who manage the day-to-day business operations and are personally liable for all of the company's debts and obligations. This is the simplest form of a partnership with minimal paperwork. In Indiana, partnerships should operate under a written Partnership Agreement to avoid future problems.
5. Limited Partnership.
A Limited Partnership (LP) is similar to a General Partnership except that limited partners do not manage the business and are only liable for the amount they invest in the company. To form an LP, you must have a registered agent and file a Certificate of Formation with the state.
6. Limited Liability Partnership.
A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is similar to a General Partnership but each partner is protected from other partners' debts and obligations. To operate as an LLP, the business must be filed with the Secretary of State.
7. Nonprofit Corporation.
A nonprofit corporation engages in activities that do not provide financial gain for its members. This type of business structure must obtain nonprofit or tax-exempt status from the IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue to be free from certain tax burdens.
How much does it cost to register a business in Indiana?
It costs $90.00 to register a business in Indiana.
What permits do I need to start a business in Indiana?
Indiana does not have a general state-issued business license. However, you may need a license/permit depending on your location and profession.
Is Indiana a good place to start a business?
Yes, Indiana is a great place for small businesses due to its low tax burden and high survival rate for startups. The state's cost of living is ranked the 9th lowest in the U.S.
How do you get a seller's permit in Indiana?
You will need to apply for a Registered Retail Merchant Certificate from the Indiana Department of Revenue.
How do I start a sole proprietorship in Indiana?
- Choose a business name.
- File an Assumed Business Name with the county recorder if you are not using your personal name.
- Obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
- Obtain an EIN number.
- Open a business bank account.
Can I be my own registered agent in Indiana?
Yes, you can be your own registered agent as long as you have a physical address in Indiana, and are available at all times to accept legal documents.