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How to Register a Business in Indiana: 2023 Guide

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Embarking on the exciting and fulfilling entrepreneurship journey can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with registering a business in Indiana. However, there’s no need to worry. We’re here to provide guidance and resources to make this process seamless and hassle-free.

In this article, we’ve prepared a comprehensive step-by-step guide specifically designed to assist you in registering your business in Indiana effortlessly. We’ll share valuable advice and resources tailored to simplify your entire process. Whether you’re starting a brand-new venture or registering an existing one, our guide will walk you through the procedure in seven simple steps.

We understand that business registration can still pose challenges even with proper guidance. That’s why we’ve curated a selection of top-quality business registration services like ZenBusiness that can further assist throughout the process. So, without any more delay, let’s begin this journey toward successfully registering your business in Indiana!

>> Indiana Business Registration – ZenBusiness >>

How to Register Your Business in Indiana in 7 Simple Steps

Registering a business in Indiana can be straightforward with the right information. Follow these seven crucial steps to speed up the registration of your Indiana-based company.

Step 1: Select Your Business Entity

The ideal business structure for your venture is determined by the type of enterprise and growth goals you have. Our previous conversations explored the different business structures available in Indiana, incorporated and unincorporated. Now, let’s take a closer look at each option and what it entails.

It’s important to note that if you choose a structure that requires incorporation, such as those listed below, you must register your business with the Indiana Secretary of State.

Sole Proprietorship

In Indiana, the simplest business structure is a Sole Proprietorship, where the owner and the business are seen as one entity in the eyes of the law. As a result, the owner bears personal responsibility for any debts or liabilities incurred by the business. 

This structure is easy to set up and has few legal and administrative obligations. While there’s no need to officially register your Sole Proprietorship with the state of Indiana, obtaining local permits or licenses may be necessary.

General Partnership

A General Partnership refers to a business jointly owned by multiple individuals who benefit from the profits and bear the losses. Each partner assumes personal responsibility for any debts or legal responsibilities incurred by the business. 

While there’s no requirement to register a General Partnership with the state in Indiana, it may be necessary to file a “Fictitious Business Name Registration” in the specific county where your business operates.

Limited Partnership (LP)

In Indiana, a Limited Partnership comprises general partners who oversee the operations and bear full personal liability and limited partners who invest capital but have restricted liability. To form an LP in Indiana, it’s necessary to submit a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” to the Indiana Secretary of State.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

In Indiana, a Limited Partnership comprises general partners who oversee the operations and bear full personal liability and limited partners who invest capital but have restricted liability. To form an LP in Indiana, it’s necessary to submit a “Certificate of Limited Partnership” to the Indiana Secretary of State.


Indiana has two types of corporations: legal entities separate from their shareholders that offer limited liability protection.

  • C-corporations
  • S-corporations

To set up a company in Indiana, you must submit either the “Articles of Incorporation for a Business Corporation” or the “Articles of Incorporation for a Nonprofit Corporation” to the Indiana Secretary of State, depending on your business type. When establishing a corporation, additional formalities include drafting bylaws, issuing shares, and holding regular meetings with your board and shareholders.

Choosing the business entity that best suits your needs regarding liability protection, taxation requirements, and management obligations is important. If you require assistance in making this decision, it’s advisable to consult with a legal or business professional who can offer guidance accordingly.

>> Indiana Business Registration – ZenBusiness >>

Step 2: Select a Unique Business Name

In Indiana, three primary approaches to naming your business are registering a legal entity name, obtaining a trademark, or operating under another legal name. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific naming regulations in Indiana, as they can vary from state to state.

The method you choose for naming your business in Indiana will depend on your entity’s unique needs and circumstances.

You can pursue all three methods to secure exclusive rights to your business name, or you can simply select one of them. While optional, maintaining consistency across all registration methods is often beneficial.

Here’s a more comprehensive overview of each naming option available in Indiana:

Indiana businesses must register a unique legal entity name that distinguishes them from other companies. The state uses this name for identification purposes. To comply with Indiana naming regulations, companies must accurately represent the nature of their business in their entity names and use appropriate suffixes like LLC, LP, or Corp. 

Ensuring that no other business shares the same name is crucial to avoid confusion. To check if a desired name is available, you can utilize the INBiz database provided by the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.


In Indiana, a trademark acts as a type of intellectual property that provides nationwide safeguarding for the name or logo of a business. It’s essential to perform a thorough search in the USPTO database to ensure that the chosen name or logo has yet to be previously registered.

Registering a trademark grants exclusive rights and prevents others from using an identical or similar name or logo for similar goods or services throughout the country. However, obtaining a trademark doesn’t automatically grant unrestricted use of the name or logo in every circumstance.

Doing Business As (DBA)

In Indiana, there’s an option to your business with an “official” name but operate under a different name, a Doing Business As (DBA) name. To proceed, you must submit a Certificate of Assumed Business Name to the Indiana Secretary of State. While federal trademark laws protect DBA names, they do not necessarily have to be unique at the state level.

Understanding and considering these naming choices allows you to successfully register your business name in Indiana and protect your brand’s identity.

>> Indiana Business Registration – ZenBusiness >>

Step 3: Consider Taxes and Other Costs in Indiana

Indiana LLCs are required to comply with various state and federal tax obligations. The taxes that Indiana LLCs commonly encounter and must fulfill include:

  • Indiana Corporate Income Tax: If your LLC is incorporated in Indiana and conducts business within the state, you may have an obligation to remit the Indiana Corporate Income Tax. The existing rate is 5.25%, with a scheduled reduction to 4.9% by July 2021.
  • Indiana Income Tax: Any employees affiliated with your LLC must also fulfill state income tax obligations. The Indiana income tax rate stands at 3.23%, although certain counties within Indiana impose additional tax rates, resulting in combined tax rates ranging from 3.73% to 6.13%.
  • Sales Tax: Indiana imposes a statewide sales tax of 7%. Furthermore, various counties and municipalities within Indiana have their own sales taxes in addition to the statewide rate.

Besides these taxes, Indiana LLCs may also face various other tax obligations, including:

  • Franchise Tax: Indiana LLCs must fulfill an annual franchise tax obligation of $150.
  • Unemployment Insurance Tax: Indiana LLCs with employees must remit unemployment insurance taxes, calculated at 1.2% on the initial $9,000 of wages paid to each employee.
  • Property Tax: Indiana LLCs possessing real property within the state may be subject to property taxes. The specific property tax rate is contingent upon the property’s location.

Please note that the above-mentioned taxes are just a small sample of the ones Indiana LLCs may need to pay. The taxes applicable to your LLC will depend on various factors, including the nature of your business, revenue generated, and number of employees.

If you plan on registering a business in Indiana, you must seek advice from a tax advisor who can guide you on which taxes you must pay.

To simplify the business registration process in Indiana, entrepreneurs in Indiana can take advantage of online services like ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness provides various services tailored to assist business owners with their registration requirements. 

This includes filing all necessary documents with the Secretary of State, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and creating an operating agreement. They offer ongoing compliance support to ensure businesses maintain good standing with state authorities.

>> Register Your Business With ZenBusiness >>

Step 4: Register and Acquire Licenses and Permits in Indiana

You must obtain licenses and permits for your business to meet the essential legal obligations. The following outlines the necessary steps to accomplish this.

Tax Registration

To sell merchandise in Indiana, complete the registration process with the Department of Revenue (DOR) for sales tax collection. If employees are involved, registration with the DOR must also be done for employer withholding taxes. The convenient way to register for these and other business taxes is by electronically submitting Form BT-1 (Business Tax Application) through the official DOR website.

EIN (Employer Identification Number):

If your company employs individuals or is subject to separate taxation, acquiring a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is necessary. While only sometimes obligatory, obtaining an EIN can prove advantageous for business-related matters. 

Financial institutions typically demand an EIN to establish a business account; other organizations you collaborate with may require one for payment processing. The application process for an EIN can be completed online via the IRS website at no cost.

Regulatory licenses and permits:

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain a range of licenses and permits in different areas, such as health and safety, contractor services, daycare services, financial services, transportation, and professional licensing. 

To find out about the specific local licenses and permits required for your business operations, visit the official websites of the cities or counties where your business is located.

Professional and occupational licenses:

Obtaining professional or occupational licenses may be necessary if you or your employees are engaged in certain professions or occupations. The Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) in Indiana oversees numerous regulatory boards and commissions that regulate these licensed professions and occupations. 

On their website, you can access a comprehensive list of the professions and occupations under the PLA’s purview.

It’s important to refer to appropriate resources and websites for comprehensive information regarding licenses and permits specific to your business type and location.

>> Register Your Business With ZenBusiness >>

Step 5: Establish a Business Bank Account in Indiana

After obtaining your EIN, you can proceed with the establishment of a business bank account in Indiana.

According to state laws in Indiana, LLPs, LLCs, and corporations must maintain separate business bank accounts. However, sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships aren’t legally obligated to distinguish between personal and business accounts.

To initiate the process of opening a business account in Indiana, you must visit a local bank and complete all required documentation. You must conduct thorough research and compare the offerings, rates, and benefits provided by different banks before making your final decision.

Even sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships operating in Indiana without legal requirements for differentiation are advised to maintain a distinct company bank account as an effective means of segregating personal finances from their businesses. This practice will prove advantageous should they choose to incorporate their businesses at any point while mitigating potential complications.

Step 6: Safeguard Your Intellectual Property in Indiana

When registering a business in Indiana, it’s crucial to safeguard any intellectual property (IP) that plays a significant role in your company’s success.

This entails preventing unauthorized use of your brand’s name and logo and protecting your product designs and creative works (such as literature, art, or music) from being copied.

To ensure this protection in Indiana, explore the following possibilities and take action promptly to prevent others from capitalizing on your IP.


In Indiana, a trademark is an original symbol, word, phrase, or design that distinguishes a product or service from its competitors. To obtain legal protection for your trademark, register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The registration process takes approximately four to six months. Once registered, your trademark will be safeguarded nationwide, and you can take legal action against any unauthorized use.

By registering your trademark with the USPTO in Indiana, you’re protecting your brand and reputation and equipping yourself with the necessary legal tools to combat any unauthorized usage.

In Indiana, copyright legislation safeguards original authorship, encompassing various forms of artistic expression such as literature, drama, music, artistry, and intellectual creations. This includes a wide range of mediums like written material, software programs, web content, films and videos, sound recordings, and images.

As the creator behind a fresh creation in Indiana’s jurisdiction, you’re automatically protected by copyright. With this protection comes exclusive rights to control the distribution, reproduction, or creation of derivative works and even selling your intellectual property.

For an added layer of legal safeguarding and concrete proof of ownership, you can register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. By registering your copyright in Indiana, you protect your work against any potential infringement and gain a solid foundation to enforce your rights through judicial means if required.


If you’re registering a business in Indiana and have come up with a new product or machinery, obtain a patent. A patent gives the inventor exclusive rights to their creation, preventing others from producing, selling, or importing the patented item for a specific period.

Obtaining a patent is complex and time-consuming, often taking up to five years to complete. For this reason, start the application process as early as possible if you want to protect your unique invention. Applications are submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

By protecting your intellectual property in Indiana, ensure that your brand, products, and creations are secure and maintain a competitive edge in the market. This will allow your business to continue thriving without any hindrances.

>> Visit ZenBusiness >>

Step 7: Establish a Robust Payment Framework for Your Indiana Business

To ensure your Indiana-based business is ready to serve customers immediately upon registration, establish a seamless and efficient payment acceptance system.

Various payment processing options are available, each offering user-friendly interfaces and easy integration with your online presence or point-of-sale (POS) system. Some notable choices include Square, Stripe, and PayPal. These systems provide flexibility and simplicity in terms of setup and customization to align with the objectives of your enterprise.

These payment processors make it convenient to accept various payment methods, including credit and debit cards, ACH transfers, and digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Opting for a reliable payment processing service allows customers to use their preferred methods on a secure platform while ensuring a smooth transaction experience for all parties involved.

When choosing a payment processor, consider your compliance with sales tax regulations in Indiana. This involves obtaining an Indiana Sales Tax License from the Indiana Department of Revenue, which permits you to collect sales tax on taxable goods and services.

By establishing a solid payment system, your business based in Indiana will be fully prepared to cater to customers and generate revenue in a safe and efficient manner. By following these recommendations, you will be well on your way to building a legally compliant enterprise in Indiana.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With ZenBusiness >>

Top 5 Business Registration Services for Indiana Entrepreneurs

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a small business owner seeking to register your business in Indiana, fret not! Numerous business registration services are at your disposal, all geared towards easing the process of setting up and growing your enterprise while ensuring adherence to state and federal regulations. 

Take a look at some of the leading tailored business registration services designed explicitly for Indiana entrepreneurs:


ZenBusiness is an LLC registration platform on the internet that assists Indiana businesses with tasks such as business formation, registered agent services, and annual report filing. 

They offer reasonably priced packages and options, along with personalized assistance and resources to aid in compliance and encourage the growth of businesses. Their website is easy to navigate, simplifying registering a business in Indiana. Read our Zenbusiness review to find more about this service.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With ZenBusiness >>

Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings is a well-known business registration service provider specializing in fast and uncomplicated business formation, such as LLC formation, incorporation, and compliance for entrepreneurs in Indiana. 

They offer customized assistance and valuable resources to help businesses navigate the formation process while adhering to state and federal regulations. Swyft Filings simplifies the registration process for entrepreneurs with its user-friendly website and competitive pricing options.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With Swyft Filings >>

Tailor Brands

Tailor Brands is an online service specializing in creating and enhancing brand identities for businesses in Indiana. They offer a range of branding solutions, such as designing logos, business cards, and social media assets. 

Businesses can customize these assets with tools and resources to create a consistent and polished brand image. Tailor Brands goes beyond traditional business registration services by helping companies craft professional brand identities that attract clients.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With Tailor Brands >>

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent is a well-known online company registration service focusing on registered agent services, compliance management, and document submission for businesses in Indiana. 

Renowned for their outstanding customer service and high standards, they provide tailored assistance to ensure businesses maintain compliance with state and federal laws. They offer various services for forming LLCs, corporations, and nonprofits. Read the Northwest Registered Agent review here.

>> Indiana Business Registration – Northwest Registered Agent >>


Incfile is a digital platform specializing in assisting Indiana entrepreneurs with the quick and affordable registration of their businesses. They offer various packages that cater to the needs of entrepreneurs, including registered agent services, compliance management, and document filing. 

Incfile’s platform is designed to be user-friendly and efficient, making the business registration process simple and hassle-free. They provide ongoing support and resources to ensure compliance with regulations and foster business growth.

By carefully evaluating and comparing these business registration services, entrepreneurs in Indiana can find the service that best suits their specific requirements. This allows for a streamlined registration process that ensures a smooth start for their ventures.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With Incfile >>

Business Registration Laws in Indiana

Business registration in Indiana must adhere to various laws and regulations when establishing a business. It’s crucial to clearly understand these obligations to maintain compliance and avoid legal entanglements. Here are the primary legislations that business owners should familiarize themselves with in Indiana:

Business Entity Registration

To comply with Indiana state law, all businesses must register their entity type, LLC, corporation, partnership, or any other form, with the Indiana Secretary of State. The registration process varies depending on the type of entity chosen.

Trade Name Registration

To register your business in Indiana with a name that’s not its legal name, you must officially register the trade name. According to the regulations in Indiana, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and corporations must register their trade names with the Secretary of State. This registration process occurs at the county level for Sole Proprietorships or General Partnerships.

Trademark Registration

Protecting the identity of your business is of utmost importance. If you desire to safeguard your brand or logo, you can register trademarks with the Secretary of State. This process guarantees that no other businesses can utilize your brand’s identity.

Professional Licensing

Indiana has implemented distinct regulations regarding licensing for particular occupations and sectors. The Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) in Indiana oversees these licenses. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with and meet the necessary licensing criteria if your business operates within these fields.

Local Business Licensing

Apart from obtaining a statewide license, businesses operating in Indiana might also need to acquire local licenses as the local government requires. The specific requirements for these licenses depend on the location and type of business.

Corporate Naming

When choosing a name for your company, you must comply with Indiana regulations prohibiting any similarity with existing businesses. Hence, selecting a unique and adhering to the prescribed naming guidelines becomes crucial.

Articles of Incorporation

If you have decided to register your business as a corporation, it’s mandatory under Indiana law to submit the Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State. This important document includes essential details about your corporation and how it functions.

Annual Reporting

Corporations must submit an annual report to the Secretary of State to maintain their good reputation. Failure to comply with this obligation can lead to penalties and legal issues.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

In Indiana, all businesses must acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This unique number is a business’s equivalent of a social security number and is essential for tax filing and reporting obligations.

Foreign LLC Registration

If you have a business located outside of Indiana and want to operate in the state, you’re required by Indiana law to register as a foreign LLC. This is to ensure that your business can legally function in multiple states.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With ZenBusiness >>

Alternative Business Formation Procedures in Indiana

Here are some alternative business formation procedures in Indiana:

Benefit Corporation (B-Corp) 

If you intend to have a business that seeks profits and has a social or environmental purpose, you can explore establishing a benefit corporation. Benefit corporations must consider their decisions’ effects on different stakeholders, including employees, communities, and the environment. 

To create a benefit corporation in Indiana, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State and fulfill specific legal requirements applicable to benefit corporations.

Series LLC

A series LLC is an exceptional form of Limited Liability Company that can create numerous series or compartments within a solitary LLC. Each series can possess its resources, obligations, and members, offering an internal shield for assets and separation. 

When establishing a series LLC in Indiana, it’s necessary to incorporate precise language in the Articles of Organization while submitting them to the Indiana Secretary of State.

Foreign Entity Registration

If your company is currently registered in a different state and you wish to extend your operations to Indiana, it might be necessary to register as a foreign entity. Registering as a foreign entity permits your existing business to operate lawfully in Indiana. 

You must submit a Foreign Entity Application with the Secretary of State in Indiana, submit the required documents, and meet any additional criteria that may apply.


If you want to own a franchise business, there are opportunities available with established franchises operating in Indiana. Franchises involve a contractual relationship between the owner of the established brand (the franchisor) and an individual or entity that’s granted the right to operate under that brand (the franchisee).

It’s important to note that each franchise agreement typically has its own set of requirements and regulations. Before moving forward, it’s essential to carefully review the franchise disclosure documents and seek advice from a franchise attorney.

In addition to franchises, there are other options for registering a business in Indiana. Each option comes with its benefits, legal prerequisites, and implications. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research, consult professionals, and ensure compliance with all relevant laws before proceeding with any method of business formation.

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Benefits of Choosing Indiana for Your Business

Registering your business in Indiana can bring a variety of benefits, including:

  • Competitive Business Costs: Indiana provides businesses with lower expenses than other states, encompassing reasonably priced commercial properties, utilities, and employee salaries. These cost benefits can directly influence a company’s profitability and contribute to its overall achievements.
  • Manufacturing Strength: Indiana is renowned for its robust manufacturing industry, offering abundant prospects for businesses in this field. The state’s proficient labor force, well-developed infrastructure, and favorable business policies foster an environment conducive to the success of manufacturing companies.
  • Robust Infrastructure: Indiana prides itself on its vast transportation system, encompassing many roads, train tracks, airports, and easy access to the Great Lakes. This allows businesses to easily establish connections with their customers and suppliers, whether within the country or abroad.

Business Registration Necessity in Indiana: Uncover the Facts

Business registration in Indiana can differ based on the type of business structure and specific circumstances. If you operate a Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership under your legal name, there’s no need to register with the Indiana Secretary of State. 

However, if you use a fictitious business name (DBA), it must be registered with the relevant county recorder’s office. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and Limited Partnerships must register with the Indiana Secretary of State.

When registering your business in Indiana, seeking professional legal or tax guidance is recommended to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

>> Get Started With ZenBusiness >>

How to Register Your Business in Indiana – Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Need to Register a Business in Indiana?

To set up a company in Indiana, there are several steps you need to take. You must choose an appropriate name and decide on the legal structure of your business. Once these decisions have been made, you must submit all the necessary paperwork to the Indiana Secretary of State. 

The specific requirements may differ depending on the type of business you’re starting, but generally, you will be asked to file either Articles of Incorporation or Organization.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Company in Indiana?

The cost associated with registering a business in Indiana depends on the legal structure of the company and the necessary paperwork. An LLC has a $90 fee for filing the Articles of Organization while incorporating an Indiana corporation requires a $90 fee for filing the Articles of Incorporation. 

Other expenses may arise depending on additional filings and permits required for the business.

Can a Foreigner Start a Business in Indiana?

International entrepreneurs can register a business in Indiana if they follow all the applicable legal requirements. Foreign business owners must obtain the required visas or work permits and register their businesses with state and federal government bodies.

Do I Need to Register My Online Business in Indiana?

Suppose you’re registering an online business in Indiana. In that case, the obligation to formally register your company with the state may vary depending on the structure of your business and the nature of your online activities. 

While Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships might not be required to go through a registration process, corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) typically have to do so. You might also need to obtain specific permits and licenses from the Indiana Department of Revenue, such as a retail merchant’s certificate.

To ensure you comply with all relevant laws and regulations in Indiana, we suggest seeking guidance from a knowledgeable attorney or accountant. They can provide valuable assistance in navigating the complex rules governing businesses in this state. 

By working closely with them, you can understand the precise requirements of your business and receive guidance on how best to meet them while avoiding any legal pitfalls.

>> Register Your Business in Indiana With ZenBusiness >>

Bottom Line on How to Register Your Business in Indiana

Ensuring compliance with state laws and regulations is paramount when registering your business in Indiana. By following the necessary steps and meeting all requirements, you can lay a strong groundwork for your venture. 

It’s crucial to choose a business name and legal structure that aligns with the guidelines set by the Indiana Secretary of State, complete all required paperwork, and obtain any licenses or permits specific to your industry or location.

To streamline this process and guarantee full compliance, you can rely on a trusted business registration service like ZenBusiness. Their expertise will simplify the complexities while ensuring that every requirement is fulfilled. Properly registering your business in Indiana helps you steer clear of legal and financial complications and establishes a solid foundation for future success.

>> Get Started With ZenBusiness >>