Indiana Business License

To get your Indiana business license you will need to follow a variety of steps. Not all Indiana companies require licenses. However many companies have the option to get a license and some need to.

There isn’t a universal Indiana company license, rather there are several hundred various certifications, permits, licenses, etc., that give permission to engage in certain businesses.

The primary industries where you need to get a business license are:

  • Safety
  • Health
  • Contracting
  • Day Care
  • Financial
  • Transport
  • Professional Licenses

Some municipalities also demand certain permits.

  • As an example, Marion County and Indianapolis require certain licenses, even for small companies.

Filing Records for Small Business entities

Besides licenses, certain types of companies need to meet certain filing requirements with Indiana. If you are a LLC, corporation, or other business forms, you will need to submit articles of organization with Indiana’s Secretary of State to get the proper licenses.

The Indiana Secretary of State’s Business Services will give you the necessary information to get and file the required licenses.

Obtain Professional Licensing

Many different sectors and professions need to be licensed in Indiana. Indiana has a agency that oversees professional licensing (PLA – Professional Licensing Agency) and which has oversight over the many committees that regulate specific professions. You can see the specific commissions the PLA oversees at

Besides Indiana requirements, many localities also demand that certain businesses have a special permit.

  • Indianapolis has over 26 licenses for different professions. 

Register a Trade Name

Lots of companies use an alternate name rather than their legal name or owners’ name. These businesses will use a legal name to register with Indiana (“true” name), however will use a different name when doing business.

Varying based on your business’ structure, the alternate name is called the “DBA” (doing business as), “assumed”, “trade”, or “fictitious” name. If you are an Indiana LLC or corporation that wants to uses an alternate name, you will have to file with the Secretary of State. 

If you are a general partnership or sole proprietorship wishing to use an alternate name you will have to register with the county’s recorder where you are located.

Register a Trademark

You can use trademarks to reserve you’re the specific name of a product, service, or business. Trademarks separate an entity from being confused with competition. You can register trademarks with the Secretary of State.

Do I Need To Have A Business License In Indiana?

If you are a company that operates in Indiana, no license is needed. However you will have to file registration papers with Indiana. Corporations, LPs, LLPs, and LLCs need to send filings to the Secretary of State’s corporate department. What you need to include in your filing varies based on your business.

If you are a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, you need to still pay income tax and often will have to file with the local municipality, but you won’t need to file with the state government.

Many localities will in fact require that a business get a local license.

What Are The Requirements For Business Licenses At The City/County Level?

When applying for a local license, what is required depends on the structure and sector of your company. You usually will need to submit your business’ name, address, purpose, and a listing of prior companies you had in the locality. References will also be needed and the property needs a zoning inspection.

Specific industries will need further licenses before getting a full permit (ex. food, entertainment). The licenses are often for a year and need to be renewed annually in January.

How Do I Apply For A Business License Or Special Occupational Permit?

Registering your business with the Secretary of State can be done online or through mail, fax, or in-person. For municipal licenses, it varies depending on locality.

Whether you can apply online or only in-person depends on the profession. It also would be beneficial to consult the local municipal government or commerce association to ensure you are complying with the business requirements.

Corporate Name Requirements

When naming your corporation, the name must not be able to be confused with another business. A corporate name can have several terms as its ending, such as:

  • Co.
  • Ltd.
  • Inc.
  • Limited
  • Incorporated
  • Corporation

Articles of Incorporation Information

You need to send your incorporation articles to the Secretary of State. It normally takes 2 to 3 business days to process. A corporation must have at least one director. The incorporation documents and bylaws may set director requirements.

  • Directors need not be an Indiana resident, except when the company requires it.
  • The directors don’t need to have their name and address in the incorporation articles.
  • Instead of having a meeting, directors can do actions through writing.

A corporation can have its main office outside of Indiana. If you register a LLC, you must send organization articles to Indiana either online or by mail. During incorporation you need to determine if the LLC is to be member-managed or managed by managers.

Filing Annual Reports

Yearly reports need to be filed by corporations along with a fee with the Secretary of State, specifically on the incorporation anniversary month. The yearly report must have your business’ basic details.

If you miss the deadline for filing, you will be assessed a late fee. You can avoid this by cancelling your LLC within 120 days of missing the deadline.

Many LLCs dissolve every year because they forget to fail a yearly report. After dissolving, the members no longer have personal protection from liability. The company’s officers need to sign the reports. The signatures can be faxed or emailed as well. It normally takes just one to eight hours to process the filing. Extensions are not allowed.

Indiana LLC Business Licenses and Permits

Once the LLC is created, there are many permit procedures you will need to follow. These vary depending on sector and locality.

Non-compliance may cause your business to be fined, penalized, or shut down.

Here are some example Indiana licenses:

  • Municipal license
  • Tax License
  • Building License
  • Health License
  • Occupation License
  • Sign License
  • Alarm License
  • Zoning License
  • Liquor Permit
  • Use and sales tax license
  • Tobacco and alcohol license

Name your Indiana LCC

The LLC name must include the terms “LLC”, “L.L.C.”, or “Limited Liability Company.” Certain restricted terms (such as attorney, bank, etc.) will need more filings and might need a professional to join the LLC. Terms that might confuse your LLC with government agencies are prohibited. 

You need to do a name search on the Indiana website to ensure your desired name is available. Look to see if the LLC name is free, and then you can choose a domain for your website. Even when you don’t want to have a website immediately, buying the domain prevents others from taking it.

Choose a Registered Agent

In order to form your LLC, you will need to choose a registered agent. A registered agent will be the person or company who will be the recipient and sender of legal documents for your LLC. If you are sued, they will be the recipient for service of process. They will also receive state notices.

The registered agent has to be an Indiana resident or can be a company that is permitted to operate in Indiana. The LLC’s registered agent can be a person from your business, yourself included. The registered agent is important, for example because they may assist you in avoiding your company being dissolved if you miss filings and don’t properly send in reports.

Create an Operating Agreement

It’s beneficial to have an operating agreement for your business. However Indiana law does not require you to have or use an operating agreement.

Obtain an EIN

You will also need to get an EIN (Employer ID Number), also called a Federal Tax ID Number, that identifies your company. It is like a social security ID for your business. It is needed when submitting federal and state taxes. Furthermore, EINs are often required to open bank accounts.

You can get an EIN from the IRS for free. You can request either by mail or online.

Key Steps After Forming A Business

A key initial step is to create a bank account for the business. This keeps your business assets separate from your personal assets. This is necessary to keep your personal liability protection, and it also makes taxes and accounting smoother.

A credit card for your business permits you to build a credit history for the business as well as further keep your company finances away from your personal finances. The credit can help you later when raising money for the business.

You must sign up for the unemployment insurance tax if you use employees. You can do this through the state’s “Uplink” program. You can also sign up for employee tax withholding through Indiana’s “INtax” program. You need to also sign up through “INtax” if you are selling goods and/or services that are taxable. INtax will help you pay the state sales tax.

It is important to make sure your records are done correctly even before your business begins operating. Having a strong accounting method allows you to easily monitor the company’s finances, such as costs and revenues, as well as make filing taxes easier.

Having good software also helps with the accounting process. Find a software that connects automatically with your bank, connects transactions with bills, and is usable from your mobile device.

Remember that your LLC must be in compliance with government laws.

  • A restaurant, for example, will need permits for health, building, signs, and more.

The licensing fees and process varies by state. It will also vary based on the kind of license you are looking for. Some states also require you get insurance for general liability and workers compensation. However this differs depending on state.

Furthermore, once you bring in employees there are certain requirements you must follow. These include:

  • Making sure employees are allowed to work in America.
  • Letting the state know about new employees.
  • Keeping workers compensation insurance.
  • Withholding the proper income tax.
  • Having required regulatory posters in prominent spots.
  • Making sure employees are paid at the required time periods.

You need to make sure to file the necessary reports with the state, such as your yearly report, to avoid fines and keep your LLC running on good terms.

You may also be interested in getting a “Certificate of Good Standing.” This certificate will prove that your LLC was incorporated properly and is in good status due to being maintained appropriately. You might also want to get one of these certificates if:

  • You are looking to get loan money from banks or other providers.
  • You are hoping to register your company in a different state (Foreign LLC).
  • You want to get or renew certain licenses and permits for your company.

When you want to not do business anymore through the LLC, it is vital to file the paperwork to close it. If you don’t dissolve it properly and on time, you may face taxes, fines, or legal liability. You will need an Article of Dissolution.

For dissolving the LLC, the main two steps are to:

  • Close the company’s accounts for taxes
  • File for an article of dissolution

Foreign LLC in Indiana

When you want to expand your already-existing LLC to operate in Indiana, you need to register as a Foreign LLC. The main benefit of being a foreign business is you will be able to act as one company in many different places.

If you need help with forming a business in Indiana or getting a license for your business in Indiana, you can post your legal need to UpCounsel’s marketplace. Upcounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.