Name and Availability
When starting a business in Indiana, the first step is to choose a good name for the company. Indiana start law require that a corporation name have one of the following designators (or an abbreviation of them) in the name: Corporation (Corp.), Company (Co.), Incorporation (Inc.), or Limited (Ltd.).
It is also required that the name of the corporation be noticeably different from any other corporation name already registered with the Secretary of State Corporations Division. To determine if the chosen name for your corporation is available, you may either go online or call (317) 232-6576 to perform a preliminary search. After availability is determined, you can either reserve the name for 120 days, or continue with the organizational documents.
Once the name has been determined to be available, you are ready to file your Articles of Incorporation. This document is the legal beginning of your company, and will state the corporation name and address, the name and address of a registered agent, the number of shares the corporation is authorized to issue, and the name, address and signatures of all original incorporators. The filing fee for the articles is $90 and can be done online or through the mail.
At this point, you have completed the paperwork needed to be legally recognized as a business entity in the state of Indiana, but there are a few more forms to be filed for Federal purposed.
First, you will need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This can be done online by answering a few questions. The EIN will be issued immediately for download.
You will also need to elect S-Corp status with the IRS for tax purposes. This can be done by filing Form 2553: Election by a Small Business Corporation. The form must be signed by all shareholders, and is due to the IRS within 2.5 months of the start of the corporations first tax year.
Once your S-corp is set up, remember to get a business license in the city you are operating. Most cities pull data from newly-registered businesses in the state so they can track down who in their city should have a license. While you can wait for your city to come knocking if you are on a tight budget (and many will simply give you a deadline to get a license), some municipalities may not be so friendly about it.