You have a big idea, truckloads of ambition, and dreams of a thriving Indiana LLC, and you’re mentally prepared to make it happen.
But the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and for you, that first step is filing the Articles of Organization.
With such grand plans, the last thing you might want to do is file paperwork, but completing the Articles of Organization is what authenticates your LLC, making it official in Indiana. It’s perhaps the most important step in starting your Indiana LLC. Following this guide will help take the tedium out of paperwork and get your business started quickly.
But before you dive into the Articles of Organization, you should have a few pieces of information ready to help streamline the process.
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Choosing an LLC Name
Before anything else, you will need to decide on an LLC name. You must include a business name on your Articles of Organization, and if the Secretary of State deems that name unacceptable or unavailable, the document will be rejected, so make sure you nail down a good name right away.
In the process of finding your perfect LLC name, be aware of the state’s business name requirements, which say it must contain a term that designates its business type, like “limited liability company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC.” Additionally, it can’t already be in use. Find out if your name is available and distinguishable from all other Indiana business names by searching for it on the Secretary of State’s Business Search tool.
Once you’ve found your perfect name, include it on your Articles of Organization to automatically register it. In the event that you’re not quite ready to file an LLC, you can place a 120-day hold on your name by submitting a name reservation request.
Choosing an Indiana Registered Agent
A registered agent is your LLC’s liaison to the state, the mediator who takes care of all your important legal, tax, and compliance documents, keeping your business in good standing. Without valid registered agent information, your Articles of Organization will not be complete, so reach out to make arrangements with your agent before submitting the application.
Your agent can either be an individual – who is an Indiana resident with a physical address in the state – or a business entity authorized to do business in Indiana. After you’ve chosen your agent and they’ve agreed to the appointment, you can list their name, mailing address, and email address (optional) on the Articles of Organization.
Quick Note: If your first choice doesn’t work out, don’t worry. You can always change your registered agent in the future.
Preparing to File Your Indiana Articles of Organization
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Now for the main event: the Articles of Organization. Here’s your opportunity to get your LLC officially on record and authorized to conduct business in Indiana.
This form has immense importance in the LLC formation process. It’s what makes your business official, allowing it to start its business activities. But despite its profound influence over the life of an LLC, the form itself is surprisingly short and sweet, and if you’ve collected all the requisite information beforehand, you’ll breeze right through it. Here’s what you need:
- The LLC name
- Principal office address
- Registered agent name, address, email address (optional), and consent
- Date of dissolution (if applicable)
- Whether the LLC will be managed by members or managers
- The name, title, and signature of the LLC’s organizer
- Contact information (phone number and email address) and return address
Unfortunately, the Articles of Organization aren’t free. Online submissions cost is $95 and mailed or hand-delivered ones cost $100, so have your credit card or checkbook ready when you file.
The state provides three different options for filing the Articles of Organization: online, by mail, and in person. So, choose the method that’s most congruent with your business and financial circumstances.
The fastest and cheapest way to file is electronically through the INBiz website. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to create an account. From the homepage, select “Start a New Business,” sign in, and follow the instructions to complete the form. Your filing will be processed right away.
Download and complete the paper application. After you’re finished, include your $100 payment and mail it off to:
Secretary of State
Business Services Division
302 W. Washington St. Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Live in Indianapolis? Next time you’re out and about, you can also hand-deliver your form and payment to the same address, if you’d like.
Mailed and hand-delivered forms will be processed in 3-5 business days.
What About Foreign LLCs?
The process outlined above works for domestic LLCs (those formed in Indiana), but what if your business is expanding to Indiana from another state? In this case, you can disregard the Articles of Organization. Your LLC will take a different route.
All out-of-state LLCs must instead foreign qualify in Indiana by filing a Foreign Registration Statement online ($105 fee) or using a paper application ($125 fee). You might be excited to start doing business in Indiana, but hold off until after your filing has been accepted. Otherwise, your LLC could face severe fines and penalties.
After you’ve foreign qualified, however, you’re free to kick off your business activities in the state.
Want Help Filing Your Articles of Organization?
Let’s be honest: you’ve got a lot on your plate. Filing paperwork can take time away from your other tasks, ones more focused on setting your budding LLC up for success.
The good news is that you don’t need to file the Articles of Organization yourself. But if an attorney is out of your price range, hiring an LLC creation service is a great option.
There’s no shortage of business incorporation services out there, but not all of them are equal. Each one offers different packages, costs, and processing times, so it’s important to find the right fit for your LLC.
While each service has optional upgrades and feature packages, on the most basic level, they will review your business information, prepare your formation documents, and submit them to the Indiana Secretary of State. They will complete everything outlined in this guide and notify you when your Articles of Organization have been filed. You won’t have to lift a finger.
There are other benefits too. Some services will include a year of free registered agent service when you hire them. Other services offer order tracking, notifications on future documents (like Business Entity Reports), assistance drafting your operating agreement, or coverage of certain LLC formation costs.
Important Post-Formation Compliance Issues
Once you’ve successfully filed your Articles of Organization, your LLC is an official business entity in the state of Indiana. However, this doesn’t mean that your responsibilities have come to an end. There are several other steps you’ll need to take if you want to operate a compliant LLC for years to come.
Acquire a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
While an EIN isn’t a requirement for Indiana LLCs, we strongly recommend that every entrepreneur obtains one. An EIN enables your LLC to hire employees, open business bank accounts, file taxes, and take care of several other important aspects of LLC maintenance. Even if you operate a single-member LLC with no employees, you should still have an EIN for your business.
Set Up a Financial Infrastructure
One other crucial step is to solidify the financial aspects of your LLC, first by opening a business bank account. You must have separate bank accounts for your personal use and for business purposes, as this will help you keep your personal and business assets separate, a vitally important consideration for any entrepreneur. If you commingle these assets, you leave yourself wide open for lawsuits, as it would be easy for someone to claim that your business is simply an extension of your own personality and not a separate entity from you as a person.
The other portion of this step is to set up an accounting system. This can either mean that you hire an accountant to take care of your LLC’s bookkeeping, or you could acquire high-quality accounting software like QuickBooks. Either way, you need a reliable means of keeping detailed records for each financial transaction your LLC executes. This is another vital part of keeping your personal and business assets separated, and it will also be enormously helpful come tax time.
Acquire Licenses and Permits
The next step involves obtaining any industry-specific licenses and permits your LLC may need to operate in compliance with state laws. Depending on the nature of your LLC’s business, you may require several permits or you may be able to operate your LLC without any state-level licenses.
Thankfully, Indiana makes it very easy to figure out your business’ licensing needs. All you need to do is visit the state’s licensing page and you’ll find the license and permit applications you require. Make sure to check with your county and locality as well, as there may also be licensing requirements for your business on these levels.
Obtain Business Insurance
This step isn’t a requirement, but it is a strong recommendation. The exact insurance policies your business needs will vary based on the type of products and services you offer, but most LLCs should at least have a general liability insurance policy to protect against common perils like slip-and-fall accidents. In some industries, you might need several different insurance policies to cover all of your financial bases, so do your research ahead of time to determine which types of insurance you should purchase.
File Your Business Entity Reports
Each year, every LLC in Indiana must file a business entity report. This report includes some basic information about your business and keeps the state updated regarding any important changes to your LLC’s structure. The information you’ll need to file this report typically includes your LLC’s name, email address, principal office address, current filing year, date and jurisdiction of formation, entity type, registered agent name and address, the names and addresses of each LLC member, and your name, address, email address, and phone number.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Filing the Indiana LLC Articles of Organization
How long does it take Indiana to form an LLC?
If you file your formation documents online, the state will process your formation instantly. If you would rather file on a paper form, you can expect it to take 3-5 business days in most cases.
Should I file my own Articles of Organization, hire an attorney, or use an online service?
This question largely comes down to personal preferences, but we do have some general insights. The DIY route can be quite a bit of work, as you’ll need to complete each step of the formation process on your own with no assistance. As for hiring an attorney, this can be prohibitively expensive for new businesses, as a lawyer can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to form your LLC.
You can think of business services companies as a middle ground between these options. While most of these companies charge a fee to form your LLC, that fee will be significantly less expensive than an attorney’s fee. At the same time, you still aren’t going it alone. Instead, you have an experienced professional guiding you through the entire process.
What does Indiana require for LLC formations other than the Articles of Organization?
Unlike some states, Indiana doesn’t require any related filings other than your formation articles. However, we still strongly recommend obtaining a federal tax ID number (EIN). An EIN allows your LLC to file taxes, hire employees, open business bank accounts, and more. Every LLC should have one, whether your state requires it or not.
How many small businesses are there in Indiana?
Today, Indiana has more than 510,000 small businesses. Clearly, entrepreneurs in many different fields find Indiana to be a great place to own and operate a business entity.
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How to File Articles of Organization in All 50 States
We break down the Articles of Organization formation process in detail for every state. View all of our guides below.
- How to File an Alabama LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Alaska LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Arizona LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Arkansas LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File California LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Colorado LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Connecticut LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Delaware LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Florida LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Georgia LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Hawaii LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Idaho LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Illinois LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Iowa LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Kansas LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Kentucky LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Louisiana LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Maine LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Maryland LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Massachusetts LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Michigan LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Minnesota LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Mississippi LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Missouri LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Montana LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Nebraska LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Nevada LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File New Hampshire LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File New Jersey LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File New Mexico LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File New York LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File North Carolina LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File North Dakota LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Ohio LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Oklahoma LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Oregon LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Pennsylvania LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Rhode Island LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File South Carolina LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File South Dakota LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Tennessee LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Texas LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Utah LLC Certificate of Organization
- How to File Vermont LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Virginia LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Washington LLC Certificate of Formation
- How to File Washington, D.C. Articles of Organization
- How to File West Virginia LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Wisconsin LLC Articles of Organization
- How to File Wyoming LLC Articles of Organization