How to File for an LCC in Indiana

Updated on January 22, 2024

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Indiana can be a great way to formally structure your small business. An LLC offers liability protection and tax flexibility for business owners. There are a few key steps you need to take to establish an LLC in the state. First, you must choose a business name and register your LLC with the Indiana Secretary of State. You’ll also need to create an operating agreement, obtain necessary licenses and permits, set up accounting procedures, and more. With some planning and preparation, starting an Indiana LLC is a straightforward process that puts you on the path to structuring and growing your small business.

Understanding LLCs

An LLC, or limited liability company, is a business structure that combines aspects of partnerships and corporations. LLCs provide liability protection for the owners, called members, so their personal assets are protected if the business is sued. At the same time, LLCs allow pass-through taxation like partnerships, avoiding double taxation on business profits.

There are a few key things to know about LLCs:

  • LLCs limit personal liability for members while allowing pass-through taxation
  • They are more flexible in management structure than corporations
  • LLCs require less paperwork and have fewer compliance requirements than corporations
  • Most states, including Indiana, require articles of organization to be filed to form an LLC

Understanding these basics of LLCs will help when going through the steps to start an LLC in Indiana.

Choosing a Name for Your LLC

When choosing a name for your Indiana LLC, you need to follow certain rules and guidelines. First, your LLC name must include words or abbreviations that indicate it is a limited liability company, such as “LLC” or “L.L.C.”

You also want to make sure your LLC name:

  • Is distinguishable from other businesses registered in Indiana. You can search the Indiana Secretary of State business database to check.
  • Does not contain words restricted by Indiana law, such as “bank,” “university,” or “police.”
  • Is professional sounding and represents your brand.

You can have a designated agent check your desired LLC name’s availability before registering it with the state.

Selecting a Registered Agent

When starting an LLC in Indiana, you must designate a registered agent. This is a person or business entity that agrees to accept legal documents on behalf of your LLC. Here’s what you need to know about selecting a registered agent:

  • The registered agent must have a physical street address in Indiana, not just a P.O. Box. This ensures legal documents can be served in person if needed.
  • You can designate yourself, a family member, your lawyer, or a professional registered agent service. Using a service provider ensures reliability.
  • Shop around to compare registered agent service fees. Costs typically range from $50 to $200 per year.
  • Consider accessibility – make sure your registered agent is easy to contact and will notify you promptly about legal documents.

Properly designating a registered agent who can receive service of process protects your LLC’s legal standing. Take time to select a competent, responsive agent during the formation process.

Filing Your LLC Paperwork

Once you have chosen a business name and registered your LLC with the Indiana Secretary of State, there are a few more steps to complete your LLC paperwork.

  • Draft your Articles of Organization. This document should state your LLC’s name, address, registered agent, and management structure. The filing fee is $90.
  • Create an Operating Agreement. While not required, this agreement outlines financial and functional decisions like ownership percentages, voting rights, member responsibilities, distribution of profits and losses, etc.
  • Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number identifies your business for tax purposes.
  • Set up any licenses or permits required by Indiana or your local government. Common examples include sales tax permits and business licenses.

Carefully completing all documents and properly registering your Indiana LLC establishes your business as a lawful limited liability company. Consider retaining a business lawyer or using an online legal services company to ensure you correctly complete all required paperwork.

Drafting an LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is an important document that outlines the ownership structure, member responsibilities, profit/loss distribution, voting rights, and other governance rules for your Indiana LLC. While an operating agreement is not legally required in Indiana, it is highly recommended for all LLCs to have one.

Here are some tips for drafting your LLC operating agreement in Indiana:

  • Outline the percentage interests of each member and how profits and losses will be shared. This determines each member’s rights to distributions.
  • Define each member’s voting rights and management authority. Will you have member-managed or manager-managed structure?
  • Establish rules for how members can be admitted or removed from the LLC.
  • Set procedures for holding meetings, taking votes, and keeping records.
  • Include rules and restrictions for members transferring their ownership interests.
  • Outline an exit strategy and rules for dissolving the LLC.

While you can write your own operating agreement from scratch, it’s typically advisable for small business owners to use a lawyer or quality online templates to ensure your agreement is legally sound. Pay attention to state-specific requirements as some clauses may be invalid or unenforceable in Indiana unless written properly.

Carefully drafting your LLC operating agreement upfront will set clear rules and expectations for your business as it grows. Revisit and amend your operating agreement as needed, especially when admitting new members or making major business changes.

I focused on covering the key elements to include in an Indiana LLC operating agreement while keeping it easy to understand. I incorporated transition words and phrases for flow, added links for reference, used bullets to break up text, and formatted it with basic HTML headings and paragraphs for copy/pasting. Let me know if you need any changes or have additional sections you’d like me to draft.

Obtaining Tax Identification Numbers

One of the key steps in forming an LLC in Indiana is obtaining tax identification numbers from the appropriate government agencies. This includes getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Retail Merchant Certificate from the Indiana Department of Revenue. Here’s an overview of this process:

  • Apply for an EIN from the IRS online or by fax or mail. This number will be used to identify your LLC for federal tax purposes.
  • Register for a Retail Merchant Certificate with the Indiana DOR. You can do this by completing the Business Tax Application Form BT-1 and submitting it to the department.
  • Once you have your EIN and Retail Merchant Certificate, notify your bank and use these tax IDs to open a business bank account in your LLC’s name.

Obtaining these identifiers early in the formation process will ensure you can establish business accounts and register properly with state and federal agencies.

Pros and Cons of Starting an LLC in California

Starting a limited liability company (LLC) can be a great way to formally structure your small business in Indiana. However, it’s important to understand the key advantages and potential drawbacks of the LLC structure before deciding if it’s the right choice for your business.

Some of the key pros of starting an Indiana LLC include:

  • Limited personal liability – An LLC helps separate your personal assets from the business
  • Tax flexibility – LLCs can choose corporate or pass-through taxation
  • Credibility and professionalism – Forming an LLC establishes business credibility

However, there are also a few cons to weigh:

  • Increased legal and tax compliance – LLCs require more recordkeeping and reporting
  • Higher startup costs – The LLC formation fee in Indiana is $90 plus filing costs

Overall, the protections and flexibility often make an LLC an appealing choice for small business owners in Indiana. But it’s smart to consider how both the pros and cons fit with your business needs.

Cost Considerations

When starting an LLC in Indiana, there are several costs to consider. The filing fee to establish an LLC with the Indiana Secretary of State is $90. You may also need to pay other fees depending on your specific business structure and activities, such as:

  • Annual report filing fees – $30 per year
  • Licenses and permits
  • Accounting and legal fees
  • Taxes

Additionally, you will need to consider ongoing expenses like office space, equipment, insurance, and professional services. Thoroughly researching all expected costs and developing a budget can help ensure your Indiana LLC has enough capital to launch and sustain itself.

Economical LLC Formation Options

When starting an LLC in Indiana, it’s important to keep costs low, especially when just launching your business. Here are some of the most affordable options for LLC formation:

  • Use an online service like LegalZoom or Incfile. These services charge $79 – $99 plus state fees to form your LLC. They simplify the process by preparing and filing the articles of organization for you.
  • Hire an affordable business lawyer. While hiring a business attorney often costs over $1,000, some lawyers offer more economical LLC formation packages for $300-$500 plus state fees.
  • File yourself using the Indiana Secretary of State’s website. This option is free, but you’ll need to understand all the state’s rules and requirements for drafting your own articles of organization.

Choosing one of these budget-friendly routes allows you to save money upfront when establishing your Indiana LLC. Just make sure to research each option thoroughly based on your business needs.

Pre-Formation Steps

Taking the proper pre-formation steps is crucial when starting an LLC in Indiana. This ensures your business is set up correctly from the outset. Some key pre-formation steps include:

  • Choose a business name – Select a name for your LLC that is distinguishable from other businesses in Indiana. Check the Indiana Secretary of State business database to ensure it’s available.
  • File for an EIN – Though not required, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC from the IRS to handle federal tax obligations.
  • Create an operating agreement – Draft an operating agreement outlining financial and managerial details for your Indiana LLC even though it’s not mandatory.
  • Set up accounting – Establish accounting procedures for financial tracking and tax purposes. Choose whether to handle accounting internally or work with an accounting professional.
  • Arrange business licenses – Research if you need business licenses or permits to operate your Indiana LLC based on location and industry.

Completing these key pre-formation steps allows you to establish the foundational structure and financial/legal processes for your LLC prior to official formation and operations.

Comparing Business Entity Types

When starting a business in Indiana, you have several options for structuring your company. Some of the most common business structures include sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Here is a brief comparison of some key factors to consider when choosing an entity type:

  • Formation Requirements – Sole proprietorships have almost no formal requirements, while corporations and LLCs require filing articles of organization with the state.
  • Liability Protection – Sole proprietorships and partnerships offer no personal liability protection, while corporations and LLCs limit owners’ personal liability.
  • Taxes – Sole proprietorships and partnerships pass profits and losses to the owners to report on their personal tax returns. Corporations and LLCs allow profits and losses to pass through to owners’ personal returns (if structured as pass-through taxation entities).
  • Ongoing Administration – Partnerships, corporations and LLCs require meeting certain operational requirements like keeping minutes and annual reporting. Sole proprietorships have fewer administrative responsibilities.

Many small business owners choose LLCs for their liability protection benefits while still allowing pass-through taxation. However, consulting an accountant or attorney can help determine the best legal structure when starting a business in Indiana.

After Filing Your LLC

Once your Articles of Organization have been filed with the Indiana Secretary of State, there are still some important steps you need to take to properly establish your LLC.

  • Create an operating agreement – An operating agreement establishes rules and regulations for your LLC’s operations. While not required in Indiana, having one can help settle disputes among members.
  • Get an EIN – Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number will be used to identify your business for tax purposes.
  • Set up accounting – Establish a business banking account and a record-keeping system for your LLC’s finances and tax reporting needs.
  • Understand tax obligations – Become familiar with Indiana’s tax rules for LLCs, which vary based on how your business is structured.
  • Obtain licenses and permits – Research if your LLC needs any state or local licenses, permits or registrations to legally operate in Indiana.
  • Open a PO box – Consider getting a post office box and use this address as your registered agent’s address for your LLC.

Following these key steps after filing helps ensure your Indiana LLC is fully set up and compliant with state laws and regulations.

Business Licenses and Permits

When starting an LLC in Indiana, you may need to obtain certain business licenses and permits depending on your industry and location. Some common licenses and permits include:

  • Business license – Most cities and counties in Indiana require all businesses to obtain a business license, for which you typically submit an application and pay a licensing fee annually.
  • Sales tax permit – If you plan to sell products, you need to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue to collect and remit sales tax.
  • Food service permit – Food-based businesses need a food service permit from the county health department.
  • Professional licenses – If your business is in accounting, law, medicine, etc., you may need special licensing.

Be sure to research the relevant requirements for your type of LLC. The Indiana Secretary of State website and local government offices can provide more information on licenses and permits.

Growth Considerations for Your LLC

As your Indiana LLC grows, there are some key considerations to keep in mind. You’ll want to maintain adequate capital and cash flow to support expansion, as an LLC needs to remain solvent. Consider whether you need to restructure management and operations to facilitate scaling up efficiently. For example, bringing on additional managers or updating systems and procedures. Also weigh if your business entity type still suits your needs – at some point, converting to a corporation may better fit your growth goals.

Additionally, examine how expansion may impact your sales tax obligations and if you need to register in more tax jurisdictions. Ensure your employee withholding and payroll tax compliance is up-to-date as your staff grows. Staying on top of licensing and regulatory requirements is also key. Planning ahead for these considerations will help your Indiana LLC scale successfully.

Additional Resources

If you still have questions after reviewing the steps on how to form an LLC in Indiana, there are many helpful resources available. The table below includes government resources, legal guides, and small business development centers that can provide more information and assistance.

Indiana Secretary of State official Indiana government website detailing requirements and providing forms to establish an LLC.
Nolo’s Guide to LLCs English guides and resources on the legal aspects of starting and running an LLC.
Indiana SBDC free advising and education for Indiana small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Reviewing these additional resources can help ensure your Indiana LLC is properly set up and in compliance with state regulations. Reach out for assistance if you have any other questions.


Starting an LLC in Indiana provides many benefits for small business owners, such as personal asset protection and tax advantages. By following the key steps outlined in this article, you can officially form your Indiana LLC. First, choose an available business name and register it with the Secretary of State. Then, file your Articles of Organization and pay the required fee to establish your LLC. Don’t forget other important tasks like obtaining an EIN, creating an operating agreement, and complying with licensing and permit regulations for your industry. With the proper setup and maintenance, an Indiana LLC provides an advantageous legal structure to operate and grow your small business.

For more help on launching your Indiana LLC, check out the Indiana Secretary of State’s guide or contact an Indiana small business lawyer. Best of luck with your new business!


What are the requirements to form an LLC in Indiana?

To form an LLC in Indiana, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State, appoint a registered agent, create an operating agreement, obtain an EIN from the IRS, and meet any licensing or permit requirements for your industry. You also need to have at least one member.

How much does it cost to start an LLC in Indiana?

The filing fee to form an LLC in Indiana is $90. You may also need to pay fees for registering your LLC name ($10-20) and for your registered agent ($100+ per year). Overall costs range from $200-500+ depending on your specific needs.

What are the steps to start an LLC in Indiana?

The key steps are: 1) Name your LLC and check name availability 2) Appoint a registered agent 3) File Articles of Organization and pay fees 4) Create an operating agreement 5) Obtain an EIN 6) Set up any necessary licenses, permits, bank accounts etc.

Does an Indiana LLC need to register with the IRS?

Yes. All LLCs need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS within a few months of forming the LLC. This number is used for federal tax purposes.

How often do I need to file reports for an Indiana LLC?

Indiana LLCs need to file a biennial business entity report with the Secretary of State every two years to maintain legal status. You may also need to file annual reports for state taxes, payroll taxes, etc. if actively conducting business.

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