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How to Form a Indiana LLC in 10 Steps

A Limited Liability Company or LLC is a standard structure in business. Forming an LLC means that either many people or just one person can own portions of your company. Each of your LLC members will receive profits from the company. Unlike corporations, Limited Liability Companies do not file separate tax returns. A particular benefit of LLCs is that they have a reduced risk of liability exposure for owners.

It is quite simple to form a Limited Liability Company. Still, there are certain steps you must take, and we’ve outlined these below. 

1. Choose Your Company Name.

The first step you must take is to choose a new company name for your LLC. It must be a name that no other company has chosen to legally use. At the very least, it has to be a name that has not been used in the State of Indiana.

It is your choice whether you’d like to search for your name yourself or have SunDoc run your name search or reserve your LLC name for you. We would be happy to do this for a small fee. You will also want to make sure there are no registered trademarks on the name of your choice.  

2. Understand the LLC Organizer Requirement.

An organizer is the person or company that drafts your LLC. By preparing on-line with us, SunDoc Filings will be your organizer. If you choose to prepare and upload your filing with SunDoc, you can name your own organizer.

3. Designate a Registered Agent.

You will need to choose and record the name of a registered agent. This can be an individual person, or it can be a firm. The Articles of Organization form (#6) will require that you have this name. To learn more about why you have to have one, read our Registered Agent Service article.

4. Decide Your Ownership and Management Structure.

The Articles of Organization document will also ask about the management style of your new LLC. That is, you’ll be prompted to state whether you’ll be manager-managed or member-managed and whether you’ll have multiple managers, one manager, or all member managers.

5. Create an Operating Agreement.

LLC Operating Agreements are not required according to Indiana State law. On the other hand, an implied Operating Agreement will be formed according to the default conditions specified by the law. Make sure that these default conditions are in your company’s best interest.

If your LLC is going to be managed by managers, remember that you’ll definitely need an Operating Agreement (for company records). Currently, Indiana law states that a manager-managed LLC is only valid when you declare it in both the Articles of Organization and your company’s Operating Agreement.

The Operating Agreement is the legal engine that drives your business, creating its governance, managing its working capital, and paying out its profits. Critical matters of money, voting, liability, and fiduciary constraints are at stake here.  You may also wish to consult an attorney for advice.

6. File the Articles of Organization.

Indiana law requires that your new LLC fill out and file a form called the Articles of Organization. This is a one-page document that will include all of your company’s details. When the Secretary of State of Indiana accepts your Articles of Organization, your company is officially created. You’ll need to have several pieces of information on-hand before you file your Articles of Organization. 

First, you will have to pay a filing fee. You’ll also need the name you’ve chosen for your company (legally available) and your company’s address. You have to have the name of your registered agent and the name of your LLC organizer. And finally, you’ll have to state your desired management method. In Indiana, you don’t have to file member names or have a newspaper of record publication.

If you’d like to save time and energy, you can have a filing service like SunDoc file your Articles of Organization on your behalf.

7. Obtain an EIN and Open a Business Bank Account.

Congratulations! You are now a registered Indiana LLC. Any LLC with more than one member must file with the IRS for an EIN, Employer Identification Number, whether or not you have employees. You can file with the IRS yourself, or SunDoc can file for you.

Up until now, you may have been using a personal bank account to pay for business expenses, but it’s wise to switch over to a business account after forming your LLC. Most banks will ask that you have an Employer Identification Number to open business accounts.

Regardless of what accounts you use to pay for business expenses, always make sure to keep your receipts. It may be a good idea to hire an accountant to handle your business matters at this time as well.

8. Pay Indiana State Taxes.

Each year, starting with your LLC’s first year of operation, you will be required to pay an annual tax, which will go to the Franchise Tax Board of Indiana. This isn’t income tax. Instead, it’s a tax you must pay to do business in the State of Indiana. You’ll also need to start collecting sales tax if you plan to sell goods in Indiana too. Find additional state tax information on the State of Indiana’s tax web site.

9. Determine Necessary Licenses and Permits.

It’s usual for Indiana to require business licenses or permits when operating an LLC at the county or city level. Indiana has a one-stop resource called CalGOLD that will help you find which business licenses or permits will be required for your new company. 

Even if you assume that your business is exempt from needing these permits and licenses, it’s always smart to take a look at CalGOLD, just to make sure. You may be surprised to discover what you’re required to have. There can be expensive fines if you operate your business without the required business licenses and permits. 

10. File an Annual Report.

You will be required to file an Annual Report every year. The Annual Report is a simple form that keeps the state up to date on your company information. And later on, if you make alterations to your LLC, it will be one of the forms you will need to re-file with the state.

Important Notice: It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss your potential insurance needs, or matters relating to employees. You should consult an attorney or accountant with any questions about legal or financial matters. Please note that nothing in this article can be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice.

For additional learning, please visit Indiana LLC FAQs.

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