How to get a business license in Indiana

Updated on December 21, 2023


Obtaining the right business license is a crucial step for legally operating in Indiana. This guide will detail the necessary licenses, the application process, associated costs, required documents, maintaining compliance, and special state-specific considerations.

Who Needs a Business License in Indiana?

Most commercial businesses in IN require some form of licensing, including retailers, restaurants, service providers, rental properties, contractors, and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include fines up to $500 per violation, business closure after multiple offenses, and potential criminal charges.

Understanding Indiana Business Licenses

Common Indiana licenses include:

  • Local city/county licenses – Required in most areas
  • Retail merchant certificates – For collecting/charging sales tax
  • Professional licenses – For specialized occupations and services
  • Industry-specific permits – Hospitality, liquor, agriculture etc.

Preparing to Apply for a License

Start by determining the specific licenses your business requires using Indiana’s Business One Stop portal. Prepare supporting documents such as EIN/TID numbers, business formation papers, and commercial lease agreements. Application fees will vary based on the license type.

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply

Indiana simplifies the application process through its online OneStop Business Portal. To apply online:

  1. Access Indiana’s OneStop Business Portal
  2. Run the Licensing Wizard
  3. Select your required license types
  4. Provide requested business and owner details
  5. Pay fees
  6. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online application processing aims for 7-10 business days typically. Check your status via OneStop.

If issues occur, administrators will contact you needing clarification or additional documents. Denials may result from zoning problems, incomplete details, or ineligibility.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain compliant in Indiana once approved:

  • Visibly display license certificates onsite
  • Renew licenses prior to expiration
  • Remit timely sales/use tax payments
  • Maintain required insurance policies
  • Report changes to ownership, activities, locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Remember to obtain necessary federal registrations, including an Employer ID Number (EIN) and trademark protections.

Special Considerations

Special rules apply to businesses like liquor stores, casinos, healthcare services, real estate brokers, accountants, and engineers in Indiana. Ensure to verify specific requirements with regulatory agencies.

Registering Your Business Name

For trade name registrations (DBAs) in Indiana, visit the Secretary of State’s office.

Indiana Tax Permits

Common tax permits in Indiana include Retail Merchant Certificates and Food & Beverage Tax Permits.


Who Needs an Indiana Business License?

Most commercial entities in Indiana, including retailers, service companies, and contractors, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in Indiana?

License costs in Indiana range from $25 to $200 initially, with lower annual renewal fees. The exact amount varies depending on the business type and activities.

How long does it take to get a license in Indiana?

Typically, the processing time for a business license in Indiana is around 7-10 business days for online applications. However, this duration can vary depending on the specific license type and any additional requirements or verifications needed.

Additional Resources

For further guidance, refer to additional resources on Indiana’s official state websites.

Final Thoughts

Registering your business correctly in Indiana is key to legal operation and avoiding penalties. Opt for the online filing options for a more efficient application process.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.