Explore our comprehensive guide on how to conduct an Indiana business entity name search. Learn to leverage the resources provided by the Indiana Secretary of State, navigate state business regulations, and ensure no trademark infringements with the USPTO.
How to Look Up an LLC Name in Indiana
- Visit the Indiana Secretary of State’s Business Entity Search page at https://bsd.sos.in.gov/publicbusinesssearch.
- Type in the name of the LLC you are searching for in the “Entity Name” field. If you are unsure of the name, you can also search by the registered agent’s name or the business ID number.
- Click the “Search” button.
- A list of entities matching your search criteria will appear. Locate the LLC you are searching for and click on its name.
- The LLC’s details will be displayed, including its name, business ID number, registered agent, principal office address, and status.
Note that some LLCs may be exempt from public disclosure of their information, so not all LLCs may be listed on the website.
Search Business Entity Names in Indiana
Step #1 – Check the Indiana LLC Name Requirements
There are some requirements that you must know before searching for your Indiana LLC name:
1. The abbreviations “LLC” and “L.L.C. must be added to the end of your Indiana LLC. The most commonly used abbreviation is “LLC”.
2. An Indiana LLC is not a Corporation. Your desired LLC name cannot use the words “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” and their abbreviations (“Corp.” or “Inc .”).).
3. The name of your LLC must be distinctive. It must be distinct from all other Indiana businesses.
Differentiability is not created by differences in designators (identifiers at end of business names) or in grammar.
- LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
- Single, plural, and possessive
- A, An, The
- and, or, &
- hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
- Three vs.
Indiana Business Entity Search
Step #2 – Search the Indiana Name Database
1. Visit the Indiana state database
2. Choose defaults
You will find the “Business Search” section at the top of this form. Select “Starts with” or “Business Name”. They may be the defaults.
The bottom half of “Advanced Search” can be ignored. It is not necessary.
3. Find your LLC
In the “Business Name Search Box, enter your desired LLC name.
- You can leave out the “LLC” ending and punctuation.
- Capitalization doesn’t matter.
- To ensure that you are thorough, enter only the first or two words of your LLC name. This will allow you to see all information that could be similar. If your Indiana LLC name is Johnny Apple Farm LLC, enter “Johnny Apple”.
- You can only enter a portion of the first word to make it more detailed. If your Indiana LLC name is Printing Solutions LLC, enter “print”.
4. Check out the Results
To browse the Indiana business listings, click the “Search” button at the bottom.
- A “No Data Found” message will indicate that your chosen LLC name is available.
- If you see names that are similar to yours (meaning they are distinguishable), your chosen LLC name can be used.
- Your desired LLC name is unavailable if it appears in the list. It is possible to come up with unique names or creative variations.
- Your desired LLC name cannot be used if the results show a similar name. It is possible to come up with unique names or creative variations.
Tip Don’t worry if your Indiana LLC name isn’t unique. You can still file paperwork with the state. The state will notify you if your name isn’t available and send your file back.
Contact Information for the Indiana Secretary of State
You can reach the Indiana Secretary Of State at 317-234-96768 for any questions (8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, M-F).
Indiana Business Entity Tips
When you’re ready to start an LLC in Indiana, there are key steps to follow. Begin by conducting an Indiana entity name search to ensure that your desired business name is available for registration. Once confirmed, it’s important to draft an Indiana LLC operating agreement, outlining the internal workings and guidelines of your LLC.
You have the option to serve as your own registered agent in Indiana, or you can opt for professional registered agent services. The timeframe for obtaining an LLC in Indiana can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to a couple of months.
To streamline the process, ensure all necessary information is gathered and promptly submit your filings. Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is essential for tax purposes, and you can follow the necessary steps to obtain one from the IRS. Consider utilizing one of the top LLC services in Indiana to receive expert assistance and ensure compliance with all legal requirements throughout the formation process.
Engaging the best registered agent services in Indiana can provide efficient handling of critical documents and legal notifications. Don’t forget to acquire a business license specific to Indiana, adhering to the licensing requirements relevant to your industry and location. As you plan your LLC formation budget, factor in the cost to start an LLC in Indiana, including filing fees and any additional services you choose.
If you ever need to change your registered agent, we have an article on that.
Lastly, if the time comes to close and dissolve an Indiana LLC, understanding the proper steps and regulations is essential. Seek guidance from legal professionals to ensure a smooth dissolution process in compliance with Indiana state laws and requirements.
Additional Steps to Consider
1. Trademark Search
When searching for a business name, it’s important to note that availability doesn’t necessarily mean the name is free to use if it’s already a registered trademark.
To avoid potential complications down the line, it’s wise to conduct a thorough trademark search using the Trademark Electronic Search System before finalizing a business name.
2. Choose a Registered Agent
After you have chosen an LLC name that is distinctive and unique, you can now choose your LLC’s Registered Agent.
3. Check if the Domain Name is Available
To check if a domain name is available, you can follow these steps:
- Go to a domain registrar website, such as GoDaddy.com or Namecheap.com.
- In the search bar on the homepage, type in the domain name you want to check.
- Click on the search button to see if the domain name is available or not.
- If the domain name is available, you will be prompted to purchase it. If it’s not available, the registrar will suggest some alternative options or you can try a different domain name.
It’s a good idea to check the availability of multiple domain name options as your first choice may already be taken.
Additionally, if you are considering registering a domain name for your business, make sure to also check for any existing trademarks that may conflict with your chosen domain name.
4. Check if Social Media Name is Available
To check if a social media name is available for a new business, you can follow these steps:
- Start by choosing a social media platform where you would like to create an account for your business. Some of the popular options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok.
- Once you have selected the platform, go to the sign-up page and try to create an account using your desired social media name.
- If the name is already taken, the platform will display an error message indicating that the name is not available. In this case, you may need to consider alternative names for your social media account.
- If the name is available, the platform will allow you to create an account using that name.
- It’s important to note that just because a social media name is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s free to use. You should still do your due diligence to ensure that the name is not already a registered trademark or being used by another business in your industry.
5. Register Indiana Business Entity
When you complete the required documents for filing a new business entity, you then register your business and business name with the state. The state of Indiana will either approve your business name or reject it.
If you hire a good LLC service like Northwest Registered Agent, ZenBusiness or Incfile, these LLC services have business name tools available for you to do a quick search. I recommend using any of these 3 services to assist you with forming a new business. They can save you time and provide you with guidance through the formation process.
6. Register an Employer ID Number (EIN) With the IRS
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses and other entities for tax purposes.
Here’s how you can get an EIN:
- Determine if you need an EIN: You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, operate your business as a corporation or partnership, file employment tax returns, have a Keogh plan, or are required to file any of the following tax returns: Employment, Excise, or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
- Apply for an EIN: You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, by mail, or by phone. The quickest and easiest way is to apply online through the IRS website.
- Provide the necessary information: When applying for an EIN, you’ll need to provide your legal name, trade name (if applicable), business address, and the type of legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC).
- Wait for your EIN: If you apply online, you can receive your EIN immediately after completing the application. If you apply by fax or mail, it can take up to four weeks to receive your EIN.
Note that there is no fee to apply for an EIN. Once you receive your EIN, be sure to keep it safe and use it on all tax documents and forms.
7. Create a Brand Logo
Creating a business logo involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Define your brand: Before you start creating a logo, you need to define your brand’s personality, values, and mission. This will help you create a logo that accurately represents your brand.
- Determine the design style: Decide on the design style you want for your logo. Do you want it to be modern or classic, minimalistic or intricate, colorful or monochromatic? Consider your brand personality and target audience when making this decision.
- Choose the colors: Pick a color palette that reflects your brand personality and complements your design style. Colors have psychological meanings and can affect how people perceive your brand.
- Brainstorm ideas: Brainstorm several logo design concepts based on your brand personality, values, and mission. You can use online resources for inspiration or hire a professional logo designer to create a custom logo for you.
- Sketch your ideas: Once you have some logo design concepts, sketch them out on paper to visualize how they might look. This can help you narrow down your options and refine your ideas.
- Design the logo: Use a graphic design software program like Adobe Illustrator or Canva to create your logo design. Make sure it is scalable and can be used across different mediums.
- Get feedback: Share your logo design with colleagues, friends, or family to get feedback. This can help you refine your design further.
- Finalize the logo: Once you have incorporated feedback, finalize your logo design. Be sure to use high-quality images and files for your logo.
- Protect your logo: If you want to protect your logo, consider trademarking it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This will prevent others from using a similar logo and protect your brand’s identity.
8. Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan involves a comprehensive process that covers various aspects of your business, including the industry, market research, marketing and sales strategies, financial projections, and more. Here are some steps to guide you in writing a business plan and links to resources that can help you:
- Executive summary: This section provides a summary of your business plan, highlighting key information about your business, target market, products or services, and financial projections. It should be brief but comprehensive.
- Company description: This section describes your company’s mission, vision, values, and legal structure. It also includes information about the management team, business location, and history.
- Market analysis: This section provides a detailed analysis of your industry, target market, competition, and customer demographics. It also includes information about market trends and growth projections.
- Marketing and sales strategies: This section outlines your marketing and sales strategies, including branding, advertising, pricing, and distribution channels.
- Products and services: This section describes your products or services, their features and benefits, and how they will meet the needs of your target market.
- Financial projections: This section provides a detailed financial forecast for your business, including projected revenue, expenses, profits, and cash flow. It also includes a break-even analysis and funding requirements.
Here are some links to resources that can help you in writing a business plan:
- Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan, including templates and sample plans.
- SCORE: SCORE provides free business plan templates and guides, as well as mentoring and counseling services.
- Bplans: Bplans offers a wide variety of business plan templates, tools, and resources, including sample plans for different industries.
- LivePlan: LivePlan is a cloud-based software that provides business planning tools and templates, financial forecasting, and collaboration features.
- Canva: Canva offers a range of customizable business plan templates and design tools to help you create a professional-looking plan.
9. Open a Business Bank Account in Indiana
A bank account is generally required for a new Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation to separate personal finances from business finances and to establish a clear record of business transactions.
Having a separate bank account for your LLC will help you keep track of your business’s income and expenses, which will be useful for tax purposes, accounting, and financial management. It will also make it easier to accept payments from customers and pay bills, suppliers, and employees.
To open a bank account for your LLC, you will typically need to provide the following documents:
- Certificate of Formation: This is a legal document that shows that your LLC has been registered with the state.
- Operating Agreement: This document outlines the rules and procedures for running your LLC and is required by some banks.
- EIN (Employer Identification Number) Confirmation Letter: This is a letter from the IRS confirming your LLC’s tax identification number.
- Identification documents: You will need to provide personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID, and proof of address, such as a utility bill.
Note that the specific requirements for opening a bank account for an LLC may vary depending on the bank and state where you are located. It’s best to contact the bank you plan to use to inquire about their specific requirements.
Indiana LLC Name Search FAQs
Here are three frequently asked questions and their answers related to forming an LLC in the state of Indiana:
- What are the steps to form an LLC in Indiana?
To form an LLC in Indiana, you need to follow these steps:
- Choose a name for your LLC that is unique and not already in use.
- Appoint a registered agent who will receive legal documents on behalf of your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization with the Indiana Secretary of State and pay the filing fee.
- Create an operating agreement that outlines how your LLC will be run.
- Obtain any necessary licenses and permits to operate your business in Indiana.
- Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS for tax purposes.
- How much does it cost to form an LLC in Indiana?
The filing fee for Articles of Organization in Indiana is $95. However, if you file online, the fee is reduced to $85. Additionally, if you choose to use a registered agent service, there may be additional fees.
It’s also worth noting that there may be other costs associated with forming and operating an LLC, such as obtaining licenses or hiring an attorney to help with the process.
- What are the advantages of forming an LLC in Indiana?
There are several advantages to forming an LLC in Indiana, including:
- Limited liability protection: LLC owners are generally not personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
- Flexible taxation: LLCs can choose to be taxed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, or C corporation, depending on their needs.
- Simplified management structure: LLCs do not have the same formal management requirements as corporations, which can make them easier to operate.
- Professional credibility: Forming an LLC can help establish your business as a professional entity and may make it easier to obtain financing or enter into contracts with other businesses.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: email@example.com