Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Indiana

Indiana provides many possibilities for company owners and entrepreneurs as one of the Midwest's states with the quickest expanding economies. It's desirable for new and existing businesses due to its robust economy and helpful business infrastructure. From picking a name and submitting paperwork to getting required licenses and permits, we'll give you the information to set up your company, 

Choose a Corporate Name

Selecting the ideal corporate name can be crucial in building your identity if you want to launch a business in Indiana. 

Criteria for choosing a name

It's crucial to pick an original name that another business hasn't taken to form a corporation in Indiana. This way, you can avoid legal problems. 

How to check name availability ?

  • Consult the Secretary of State for Indiana: You can look up current company names using the business entity search feature on the Indiana Secretary of State's website. Enter your preferred name to see if any companies are already using it.
  • Check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to see if a comparable name has already been trademarked. The USPTO has a trademark search application that you can use. You can steer clear of future legal problems by doing this.
  • Search the web: Check Google and other search engines to see if companies or websites already use your preferred name. This can help you determine how popular the name is and whether it's already used in your sector.

Importance of a strong brand name

A powerful brand name can help a business stand out from its rivals and become more distinctive. Customers are more likely to choose a company they are acquainted with and believe in, which can boost brand loyalty and customer retention.

Additionally, a business can become the market leader and develop a solid image with a powerful brand name. This may result in more press publicity and word-of-mouth advertising, which could eventually result in higher revenue and earnings.

File Articles of Incorporation

A vital stage in creating a company is submitting the Articles of Incorporation. These formal papers list the company's name, address, goals, and ownership, among other fundamental details. 

Information required for Articles of Incorporation

  • Name of the Corporation: The name of the corporation, together with the terms "corporation," "incorporated," "company," or "limited," shall be set forth. 
  • Registered Agent: The corporation's registered agent in Indiana should be identified by name and location.
  • Business Purpose: The Articles of Incorporating in Indiana should briefly describe the corporation's intended business purpose or actions.
  • Shares of Stock: The company should state the total number of shares it is permitted to issue, along with the par value of each share.
  • Information about the incorporator(s): The incorporator(s)' name and location must be disclosed.
  • Length: It is essential to include the corporation's length. (whether perpetual or limited).
  • Optional Provisions: The corporation's articles of incorporation should be amended to include any optional provisions.

Where to file Articles of Incorporation ?

Indiana incorporation articles can be submitted to the Secretary of State's office. The Secretary of State's website offers internet filing for articles of incorporation and postal and in-person delivery options. In Indiana, the articles of incorporation are presently filed for $100.

Before submitting, it is crucial to confirm that the Articles of Incorporation contain all necessary information and are duly signed and stamped. The processing of the Articles of Incorporation may be late, or even rejected if precise or complete information is not provided.

Mailing Address and Office address:

Secretary of State

Business Services Division

302 W. Washington St., Ro

How to file Articles of Incorporation ?

The actions listed below must be done to submit Articles of Incorporation:

Appoint a Registered Agent

Appointing a Registered Agent is an essential step in forming a corporation. A registered professional is someone who is a designated individual or entity authorized to receive legal and official documents on behalf of the corporation.

The Registered Agent must carry a concrete address in the state where the corporation is being formed and must be available during regular business hours to receive important documents such as tax notices, legal summons, and other official correspondence.

Definition and role of a registered agent

A chosen person or organization is known as a "Registered Agent" and is permitted to accept legal and formal papers on behalf of a company. 

How to choose a registered agent ?

Opting for a registered professional is imperative for any business entity. Below are some crucial points to remember:

Legal requirements for a registered agent in Indiana

Physical address: To receive legal and formal papers from the company’s side, the Registered Agent must have an actual street location in Indiana. No, a P.O. box won't do.

Availability: To receive legal and formal papers, the Registered Agent must be accessible during regular business hours. This guarantees that crucial communication arrives on time.

Residence: The Registered Agent must either be an Indiana citizen or a company legally permitted to conduct business in the state.

Consent: The Registered employee must give written approval before acting as the corporation's employee.

Documentation: On the Articles of Incorporation submitted to the Indiana Secretary of State, the company must include the name and location of the Registered agent.

Consequences of not having a registered agent

  • Legal and Financial Penalties: A company may be subject to legal and financial penalties, including fees and the potential loss of its legal status, if it does not have a Registered Agent or the agent does not carry out its obligations.
  • Missed Legal and Official Correspondence: In the absence of a registered agent, a company risks missing critical legal and official correspondence, such as notifications of legal proceedings or regulatory actions. Deadlines may be skipped, which may have adverse legal and budgetary repercussions.
  • Loss of Liability Protection: Corporations benefit from limited liability protection, which shields owners' and executives' individual assets from lawsuits brought against the business. However, if the company doesn't keep a registered agent on file, it might lose this defense and leave stockholders and executives open to private liability.

Prepare Corporate Bylaws

A corporation's internal administration and operation are governed by its corporate bylaws, a collection of rules and regulations. They are usually developed by the corporation's founders or executives and serve as a roadmap for decision-making within the organization.

What should be included in corporate bylaws?

Corporate rules are a crucial document that describes a corporation's interior operations. The following are some essential components that ought to be in company bylaws:

  • Purpose and Objectives: The bylaws should specify the corporation's purpose and goals, the character of its operations and any particular targets it has set for itself.
  • Corporate Structure: The bylaws should outline the corporation's organizational structure, including the number and responsibilities of the board of directors, officials, and any future groups.
  • Meeting and Voting Procedures: The Bylaws should outline the steps that will be taken to convene meetings of the board of directors and stockholders, as well as the methods for providing notification of meetings, conducting ballots, and any quorum requirements.
  • Officers and Directors: The positions of officers and directors, as well as their terms of office, methods of election or appointment, and any particular tasks or commitments they may have, should be specified in the bylaws.

How to create and amend bylaws ?

Creating bylaws

  • Identify the Bylaws' purview: The corporation's purpose, the duties of directors and officials, voting processes, and other crucial issues of the internal administration and operation of the Indiana corporation formation should all be addressed in the bylaws.
  • Create the bylaws: After the scope has been established, create the bylaws to represent the company's requirements and objectives.
  • The corporation's board of directors must ratify the bylaws before they go into force. Before voting to accept the bylaws, the board should examine, debate, and make any required changes.

Changing the bylaws

  • Identify the need for a change: Determine the required adjustments and the justifications for them if the bylaws need to be changed.
  • Write the amendment: Write the amendment in a straightforward, concise style that correctly represents the Bylaws' modifications.
  • Approve the amendment: For the amendment to be effective, it must be passed by the company's board of directors. Before accepting the amendment, the board should examine, debate, and make any required changes.

Importance of following corporate bylaws

Corporate policies are guidelines that control a corporation's internal operations. These regulations lay out the duties and rights of stockholders, directors, and officials and the rules by which the company must conduct itself.

Comply with Annual Report and Tax Requirements

Any company, whether a tiny start-up or a big corporation, must comply with yearly reports and tax requirements. These specifications ensure that the company complies with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and its stakeholders' responsibilities.

Annual report requirements in Indiana

  • The ending date of the month, the corporation's creation or registration date is when annual reports must be filed. 
  • The filing charge for a yearly report in Indiana is $31. At the moment of filing, the fee must be made.
  • The name, location, registered representative, main office address, and names and addresses of all officials and members of the company must all be included in the yearly report. A summary of the corporation's business operations and any modifications made during the preceding year must also be included.
  • Annual reports in Indiana must be submitted virtually through the web portal of the Indiana Secretary of State. Paper applications cannot be submitted.
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: If a yearly report is not submitted, the company may be administratively dissolved or revoked its license to conduct business in Indiana.

State and federal tax obligations

The Indiana Department of Revenue must receive a yearly state income tax return from all businesses working in Indiana. The tax percentage differs depending on the kind of company entity and its taxable revenue.

Federal Income Tax: Indiana-based companies must submit a yearly federal income tax report to the Internal Revenue Service. (IRS). The tax percentage differs depending on the kind of company entity and its taxable revenue.

Sales Tax: Sales taxes must be collected and sent to the state by companies offering Indiana products or services. Local sales taxes might also apply to Indiana's 7% state sales tax.

Employment Taxes: Indiana law requires employers with personnel to pay employment taxes, such as Social Security and Medicare contributions, federal and state unemployment insurance payments, and workers' compensation insurance taxes.

Property Tax: In Indiana, businesses may be required to pay property tax on real and personal items used for company purposes.

Report Biennial Document

All businesses operating in Indiana are required to submit a Business Entity Report to the Secretary of State every other year at the month’s end. Conduct a Business Search to discover the precise day that your report is due. The report can be submitted electronically or by paper. $50 is the registration cost.

How to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Establish Eligibility: A business needs a good cause to get an EIN, like employing staff, establishing a bank account, or forming a corporation.

Obtain the Required Information: To receive an EIN, businesses must provide certain information, including their legal name, address, owner's name, Social Security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), and the kind of business entity.

Pick an Application Method: Companies can register online, by letter, facsimile, or by phone for an EIN. The IRS website is the quickest and most convenient way to apply.

Fill out the form: To file for an EIN, businesses must submit Form SS-4. Information about the company, its proprietors, or other accountable parties is requested on the form. Online, postal, fax or phone submissions of the finished form are acceptable.

Obtain the EIN: The IRS will issue the company an EIN once the registration has been completed. The company is identified for tax reasons by its unique nine-digit EIN.

Importance of compliance with tax and reporting obligations

Companies must comply with their tax and reporting obligations to prevent legal and financial repercussions. Penalties, fines, and judicial action may come from failure to meet tax responsibilities. Inaccurate financial statements can harm a company's image and cause a loss of investor trust if filing requirements are not followed. Compliance with tax and filing requirements also contributes to the accuracy of a company's financial documents, which can help with decision-making and long-term planning. Businesses can also keep good ties with government organizations by honoring their tax and reporting requirements. This can be advantageous during audits or other encounters with regulatory bodies.

Appoint Initial Directors and Hold First Board Meeting

A new corporation's initial directors should be chosen, and the first board conference should be held as one of the first stages. Setting the tone for future decision-making and starting your company requires this action.

Importance of appointing initial directors

The original directors must manage the corporation's business until the first shareholders' gathering can be conducted. You should hand over the essential paperwork to the state and conduct a gathering to pick the initial directors before you can name them. In some states, you might also be required to submit an information statement containing the original directors' names and locations.

How to hold a board meeting

Select a convenient time and place for all board members, and then convene a meeting after sending out the schedule. Discuss and decide on various subjects during the conference, including financial reports, operational updates, and long-term strategic planning. 

What should be discussed and documented in the first board meeting ?

Several crucial subjects must be addressed and recorded during your first board gathering. These include selecting committee members and electing officials, approving company bylaws and other administration papers, establishing a fiscal year, and issuing stock. 

Legal requirements for holding board meetings

When having board meetings, regulatory requirements must be adhered to. 

  • All of your board members must receive adequate notification of the meeting, a majority of the board must be present to conduct business, and the session must be properly recorded, including minutes detailing the decisions and actions. 
  • Additionally, boards are required to abide by any state and federal laws that may be in force, including securities laws and laws about corporate administration. The company and its directors risk legal and financial repercussions if these criteria are unmet. 
  • The conduct of all board sessions must therefore be by the relevant law standards.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Acquiring licenses and permits to function lawfully when starting a company is crucial. Different licensing and permits are required depending on the sort of company and the area; failing to acquire them may result in penalties or even legal action.

Overview of licensing and permitting requirements in Indiana

If you're looking to form a corporation in Indiana, it's essential to understand the licensing and permitting requirements that apply to your industry. Failure in doing the aforementioned, can result in costly fines and even the closure of your business. Here's a quick overview of what you need to know:

First, it's important to note that licensing and permitting requirements vary depending on the industry and location of your business. For example, if you're starting a restaurant in Indianapolis, you'll need to follow different requirements than starting a construction company in Evansville.

Nevertheless, there are a few standard criteria that apply to the majority of Indiana companies. All companies must acquire a state tax identification number and file with the Indiana Secretary of State. Depending on the kind of business you're beginning, you might also need to apply for a business license from your local authority.

Additionally, special licenses and permits are needed for some sectors. For instance, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will require you to acquire a license to open a daycare facility. 

How to determine the necessary licenses and permits

  • Find out what kind of company you are running: The licenses and permits you require will depend on the sort of company you are operating. A restaurant will have distinct needs than a building business, for instance.
  • Research municipal, state, and federal laws because they may have various licenses and permit requirements. Further, research the laws that each degree of your company must abide by.
  • Message pertinent organizations: Once you have determined which laws apply to your company, contact the appropriate authorities to learn more about the details.
  • Once you have determined which licenses and permits you require, finish the necessary paperwork and pay any fees that are connected with it.

Importance of compliance with licensing and permitting requirements

Legal requirements: Failure to operate your business legally could result in penalties, legal action, or even your company's closing.

Ensures quality standards: Businesses must frequently satisfy specified criteria in licensing and permitting regulations to keep their licenses or permits. This guarantees a certain measure of operation for companies, which can benefit both the company and the clientele.

Customer confidence can be increased by complying with licensing and allowing requirements because it demonstrates that a company is functioning lawfully and has taken the necessary precautions to ensure quality and safety.


In summary, determining a business's necessary licenses and permits requires research into federal, state, and local regulations, contacting relevant agencies, completing the necessary paperwork, and keeping licenses and permits up to date. Compliance with licensing and permitting requirements is vital for legal reasons, public safety, quality standards, and building trust with customers and do not forget to take professional advice or a seamless journey. Also, keep in mind to issue all of the aforementioned licenses to have a smooth flow of your corporation.

We can help!

At levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can think of what matters most — your business.

We can help you streamline the incorporation process of your business and save up on time in the long run. Learn more.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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