Indiana Business License

Indiana Business License

Indiana Small Business Information

Are you thinking about founding and running a business in the state of Indiana? If so, it's worth visiting the Business and Agriculture section of the state's official website. While there, grab a copy of the "Business Owner's Guide" to save and print for future reference.

Another in-depth resource to use is the Indiana Small Business Development Center or ISBDC. This website guides not only how to begin your enterprise, but how to grow it successfully once you're underway. They have a comprehensive FAQ that covers a wide range of business topics, such as registration, marketing, and financing for businesses. The ISBDC is part of a well-organized national network of development centers of small business owners.

Another site to check is the website for the Indianapolis district office of the Small Business Administration. That SBA website has up-to-the-minute news, events, and resources for Indiana's small businesses. They also publish Indiana-specific guidelines in their "Resource Guide for Small Business." Make sure to download and print your copy from their website.

Get One or Multiple Business Licenses

It's possible to run a business in Indiana without needing a license. However, there are many types of companies that require at least one permit and license. There's no such thing as a one size fits all state-issued business license. Instead, the state has hundreds of various certifications and permits that are particular to each specific industry.

Most permits or licenses fall into two broad categories called regulatory or occupational. Different agencies across the state issue these, so it's crucial to check with each for their rules. The main types of permits and licenses in the state of Indiana are as follows.

  • Daycare Service
  • Health And Safety
  • Contractor Services
  • Professional Licenses
  • Transportation
  • Financial Services

Check the details in the 'Specific Occupational Business Licenses' in the 'Business Owner's Guide' if you need more information.

It's also possible that your business will require a permit or license from your local government. A prime example is the City of Indianapolis, which has specific requirements for anyone operating a company within the city. It's best practice to visit each of the websites of your county and city to look for what regulations you must comply with to begin your new venture.

File The Right Records For Your Business Type

One of the first business decisions you will need to make is what type of business entity will you choose. Basically, this step means deciding the structure of your business. Will you have employees or will it just be you (and possibly some contract freelancers)? If it will be just you in your business you will be fine filing as a sole proprietorship.

However, if you will be hiring employees you will need to file as either an LLC, general partnership, or corporation. With one of these business entities, you will also need to file for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). This will allow you to use your EIN when filling out any paperwork as well as your taxes instead of your social security number. This is a great way to protect personal assets but also protect you from possible identity theft.

There are other records that limited liability companies and corporations need to file regularly with the state of Indiana. They must submit their original registration papers with the Secretary of State, and then they also have additional reporting requirements.

The SOS website contains all the information in the section named "Business Services Division." Head over to discover what paperwork you need to file and when.

Obtain Professional Licensing

Depending on your membership to particular occupations or professions, you will need a license from Indiana. Oversight of most trades goes to the state's "Professional Licensing Agency." The PLA is in charge of many commissions and boards through Indiana. These commissions and committees directly regulate licenses for all of the occupations and professions throughout the PLA's list.

Make sure to visit the Business Owner's Guide and look through the Licenses section to discover your licensing requirements. You can find detailed information about every regulated profession from that point forward.

Register a New Fictitious or Assumed Business Name (Trade Name)

A large percentage of businesses don't use the name of the owner to operate. Instead, they select a fictitious name making it easier for their customers to identify them. Limited Liability Companies (an LLC), general partnerships, and corporations register a Trade Name when they initially register with the state upon their incorporation.

Some companies may even elect to use multiple corporate identities, known as DBAs. The term, which stands for "Doing Business As," applies the Trade Name that the customers know best. Find out from the Indiana Secretary of State website if your company needs registration. They have a "General Requirements" section in their valuable "Business Owner's Guide."

A trade name is a strong way to increase customer loyalty. Decide if it's worth it for your business to register a trademark or DBA.

Register a Trademark or Service Mark

It's also possible your business may need a service mark or trademark. If you need to identify your products or services to state residents distinctively, these are the ways to do it. You may register service marks or trademarks with the state for extra protection. That saves you from harm from competitors who may damage your reputation with cheap imitations.

State registration is a different procedure than Federal registration. Find out if your business can benefit from a state mark by checking out Indiana's Secretary of State website. They have a lot of information in their section called "Trademarks."


As you start your new business there will be many decisions you will need to make. The hope for this article is that we have made those decisions a little more clear. As you have more questions be sure to reference the websites mentioned above as they are filled with great information.

The chamber of commerce is here to help you succeed. As you start your new business in Indiana, we are here to help you make connections and ensure your questions are answered. From the many types of businesses you could start to know just what business activities will give you the best return on investment, we are here for you.

Starting and growing a business is a fun new adventure, don't let all the paperwork and red tape stop you. Getting your business license is just one of the first steps to opening the doors on your new business.

Know the correct filing requirements and have the information you need before you get started on your license application. Soon you will be on your way to succeeding in your new business adventure.


Indiana businesses do not require a state business license. However, they must register with the state. All corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships must file organizational documents with the Secretary of State's Corporations Division. The type of business you're starting will determine the information required for filing. General partnerships and sole proprietorships do not have to register with the Secretary of State, but they are required to register with their local municipality or county to pay income taxes. Although a business license for formal associations is not required by the state, many local governments and counties require that businesses apply for and locally register for business licenses.

Each type of business has its own requirements. To register your business locally, however, you will need to provide information about the address and name of the business as well as the purpose of the business and any other businesses that you have owned in the same city. Your property may need to be inspected by the zoning authorities, and references may be required. Some businesses, such as those in the food service and entertainment industry, may require additional permits before being able to apply for a general business license. Most local business licenses last for one calendar year and must be renewed each January.

Over 400 occupational licenses, permits, and certifications are available in Indiana. For further information about what professions need special permits to work in Indiana, visit Some cities require additional licenses to be able to operate, in addition to state regulations.

Online, mail, or fax registrations can be made with the Secretary of State. The application process for local, county, and city licenses depends on the regulations in that region. Some occupational permits can be applied for online, but others require you to apply in person. To ensure that your business meets all local requirements, it is a good idea to consult your local Chamber of Commerce or city offices.