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If you’ve got an idea for a business but need to learn the specific processes to launch it in Indiana, you’ve come to the right place. As in other states, Indiana requires start-ups to file paperwork in order to establish a business. This is true whether you’re forming a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or partnership.

There are certain steps to follow to establish a business in Indiana. One of those steps is to select a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that accepts official documents from the government or lawyers on behalf of your business. 

Need some advice on finding and choosing a registered agent in the Hoosier State? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, as well as answers to help you navigate launching a business in Indiana.

How is an LLC formed in Indiana?

First things first. Business owners must file LLC formation paperwork to legally form a company in the state. Here’s what you need to know to complete the process: 

1. Name the company

Do you have a great name in mind for your business? Be sure you know the rules for naming a company in Indiana. They include:

  • The name must contain “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC” or “L.L.C.” at the very end of the name of your business. 
  • The name must be “recognizably different” than other entities which you can check by searching the business name database on the Indiana Secretary of State website. If your chosen name is available, you can reserve it for up to 120 days through the Indiana Secretary of State. Just pay the $20 filing fee and file a Reservation of Business Name form.
  • If the business name sounds too formal for everyday use, choose something else for real-world usage. A fictitious business name sometimes referred to as a “DBA” (an acronym that stands for “Doing Business As”), can be registered online or by mail through the Indiana Secretary of State. The cost is $20 if you’re filing online and $30 if you’re filing by mail.

2. Pick a registered agent

Every Limited Liability Company in Indiana must designate a registered agent to accept government and legal paperwork on behalf of your company. This is to protect you in case your business is sued. 

3. File the Articles of Organization with the State of Indiana

To create your LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the Business Services Division of the Indiana Secretary of State. The document asks for the name of the LLC and its address, the name and address of the registered agent, the period of duration of your LLC (either perpetual or for a specific period of time), and the LLC organizer’s signature. 

The fee to file is $100

4. Create a company operating agreement

Although it is not required in Indiana, an LLC operating agreement is highly recommended. Primarily an internal document, the operating agreement explains how the LLC will be managed and spells out the rights and responsibilities of managers and members.

It’s easy to find templates online to create an operating agreement for your LLC in Indiana. Just do a quick Google search for “LLC operating agreement template.”

While you may be tempted to skip this step, an operating agreement can also demonstrate that your limited liability company is truly a separate business entity. Without one, Indiana LLC law will govern how your LLC operates.

5. Obtain an EIN

An LLC needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. 

You can apply for your EIN online and there is no fee. The IRS offers an interview-style application where you’ll simply answer questions. If you run into trouble, look for the embedded help topics and hyperlinked keywords and definitions. Be prepared to disclose the of the “responsible party,” as well as a Taxpayer Identification Number (such as your Social Security Number).

6. File a biennial report

Although many states require an annual report, Indiana only requires you to file a Business Entity Report with the Indiana Secretary of State every two years. The report is due every two years on your LLC’s anniversary month. So, if your LLC was formed on August 16 of an even-numbered year, then your report will be due in August of every subsequent even-numbered year. You can file the report by mail for $50 or online for $32.

What is an Indiana registered agent?

As in other states, appointing a registered agent is a requirement when you create your LLC. A registered agent can be a person who resides in Indiana or a business entity (such as a corporation authorized to do business in Indiana); they just need to be willing and able to accept tax or other legal paperwork on behalf of your LLC.

Do I really need a registered agent in Indiana?

Yes, you really need a registered agent to start an LLC in Indiana. It’s required by law.

Can I be my own registered agent in Indiana?

Yes, you can list yourself as the registered agent for your LLC in Indiana, but you’ll need to have an in-state home, office, or business street address. It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to serve as their own registered agent, however, there are other options.

Who can be a registered agent in Indiana? 

The criteria to be a registered agent in Indiana are pretty standard when compared to other states:

  • You must be 18 or older.
  • .You must have an Indiana street address, not a P.O. box.  
  • You must be able to accept legal paperwork delivered in person during normal business hours.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service?

While you might be tempted to serve as your own registered agent in order to save money, it’s important to first understand the advantages of working with a registered agent service. By paying for a registered agent service, businesses enjoy these perks: 

  • Local optionsIf you don’t have a house, office, or business in Indiana, you can’t fulfill the requirements to serve as your own registered agent. There are local registered agent services that can help. 
  • AvailabilityRegistered agents are committed to being available during normal business hours in order to receive your LLC’s important paperwork. As a business owner, you may not want to be tied to your office, home, or business. Remember, you may need to run errands, travel, attend meetings to run your business.
  • PrivacyDo you want law enforcement to deliver your lawsuit in person? Even if it’s just innocent legal documents, it may still come delivered by law enforcement, which may raise some eyebrows among employees, neighbors, or customers. Using a registered agent service provides privacy.
  • ExperienceUnless you’re an expert in compliance matters, including state and federal deadlines and regulations, a registered agent will probably know more than you about your LLC.
  • Time savingsEven if you have the knowledge to fill out lengthy and confusing forms, do you have the time?

List of Indiana registered agent services 

You should have no problem finding a registered agent for your LLC in Indiana, but here are a few choices to get you started: 

  • Northwest Registered Agent: Northwest is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • ZenBusiness: ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but they’ve grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company offers worry-free compliance too, to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Incfile: Incfile is another trusted name for business services, including its registered agent services. Business owners can get a registered agent free for a year. That’s right, free. After the first year, the price kicks in at $119. An online dashboard, automatic mail forwarding, and tailored notifications also come with the service.

How much does a registered agent service cost in Indiana?

Expect to pay between $49 and $200 for a registered agent service in Indiana.

How does an owner select a registered agent in Indiana?

A registered agent is listed on Indiana’s official LLC formation documents, Articles of Organization. This document requires the name and address of the registered agent selected to serve your company. 

Can a company change its registered agent?

Yes, you can update your registered agent by filing a Change of Registered Agent form. To do so, business owners can create an account and make the change electronically by logging into an INBiz account on the secretary of state’s website. There is no fee to file this change with the state.

What’s a statutory agent?

Some states use the term “statutory agent” interchangeably with registered agent.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

If you’re asked to list whether your registered agent is commercial or non-commercial, a general guideline is that if you’re representing yourself, you’re a non-commercial agent. If you’re paying an appointed person or company to be your registered agent, choose commercial.