Last updated October 31, 2020
Indiana LLC Name Search
How to form an LLC in Indiana
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Indiana.
Indiana LLC costs:
LLC formation cost: $100 by mail or $95 online (one-time fee)
Business entity report: $50 by mail or $31 online (every 2 years)
★ Check out Northwest vs LegalZoom
The first step to forming an LLC in Indiana is to search your desired LLC name and make sure it is available for use.
Indiana LLC Name Requirements
Before searching your LLC name in Indiana, there are a few requirements you need to know:
1. The abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” must be used at the end of your Indiana LLC name. The abbreviation “LLC” is the most common.
2. Because an Indiana LLC is not a Corporation, your desired LLC name cannot use the word “Corporation”, “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations (“Corp.”, “Inc.”).
3. Your desired LLC name must be distinguishable. This means it must be different and unique from all other businesses registered in Indiana.
Differences in designators (the identifiers at the end of a business name) and differences in grammar do not create distinguishability.
• LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
• singular, plural, and possessive
• A, An, The
• and, or, &
• hyphens, slashes, periods, commas
• three vs. 3
The following examples are NOT distinguishable:
– Smith Investments, LLC vs. Smith Investments, Inc.
– Apple Farm, LLC vs. Apple Farms, LLC
– Print Shop, LLC vs. The Print Shop, LLC
– Night & Day, LLC vs. Night and Day, LLC
– Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC vs. Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Inc
– Three Teachers Consulting, LLC vs. 3 Teachers Consulting, LLC
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Searching the Indiana Name Database
1. Visit Database
Go to the Department of Business Services Database: https://bsd.sos.in.gov/publicbusinesssearch
2. Select Defaults
At the top of the form (under “Business Search”), select “Starts With” and “Business Name” (they may already be the defaults).
You can ignore the bottom half under “Advanced Search”. It’s not needed.
3. Search your LLC
Enter your desired LLC name in the “Business Name” search box.
• Leave out the ending “LLC” and any punctuation.
• Capitalization doesn’t matter.
• To be thorough, just enter the first word or two of your LLC name to ensure you see everything that is potentially similar. (Ex: if your desired Indiana LLC name is “Johnny Apple Farm LLC”, just enter “Johnny Apple”).
• To be even more thorough, you can enter just a part of the first word. (Ex: if your desired Indiana LLC name is “Printing Solutions LLC”, just enter “print”).
4. Browse the Results
Click the “Search” button at the bottom and browse the list of existing Indiana businesses:
• If a “No data found” message appears, that means your desired LLC name is available for use.
• If the results show names that are not too similar to yours (meaning yours is distinguishable), then your desired LLC name is available for use.
• If your desired LLC name appears in the list exactly as you want it, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
• If the results show a name that is deceptively similar to your desired LLC name, your desired LLC name is not available for use. You’ll need to think of a new name or use some creativity and come up with a unique variation.
Tip: And don’t worry, if you’re not 100% sure that your desired Indiana LLC name is distinguishable, just file your paperwork with the state. If your name is not available, the state will send back your filing and let you know that the name needs to be changed.
Once you find an LLC name that is unique and distinguishable, you’re ready to select your LLC’s Registered Agent. We’ll discuss this in the next lesson: Indiana LLC Registered Agent.
Indiana Secretary of State Contact Info
If you have any questions, you can contact the Indiana Secretary of State at 317-234-9768 (8:00am to 4:30pm, M-F)