Typically, a business owner of a type like a limited liability company (LLC) that files Articles of Incorporation with the Indiana Secretary of State can change the company’s name by filing an amending document with the secretary of state.
A business owner of a sole proprietorship, association or partnership should file with the county recorder’s office to add an assumed corporate name for the business in the county in which the business is located or does business.
Insurance corporations and financial institutions, like banks, should not change business names with the county recorder’s office or the secretary of state's office. Insurers should contact the Indiana Department of Insurance; financial institutions should contact the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions.
Multiple Names for an Indiana Business
A company that files its name with the Indiana Secretary of State and regularly engages in business in the state of Indiana under a name different from its legal name must file an assumed name filing with the secretary of state. Business entities that must file with the secretary of state include:
- Nonprofit corporations.
- Limited partnerships (LP).
- Limited liability partnerships (LLP).
- Out-of-state companies that regularly transact business in Indiana.
Individuals, operating as sole proprietorships, associations and general partnerships conducting a business under a name other than the real name of the individual or general partners must file an assumed name, or DBA, with the county recorder in each county where the business is situated.
County DBA Certificates
A certificate of assumed business name or doing business as (DBA) form must be notarized, meet recording requirements, and include the correct fee to be recorded. Fees vary according to county. The county recorder’s form must contain:
- Name of business.
- Type of business.
- Address of business.
- Signature and full name of member of the business.
What Are Articles of Amendment?
Articles of amendment, or a certificate of amendment, is a document that a business owner files with the Indiana Secretary of State. The document makes a specific change in the information about the company. The filing fee for articles of amendment to an LLC is $30, with the check made out to the Indiana Secretary of State.
In order to complete State Form 38333 to amend articles of incorporation, the owner will need the:
- Name of business.
- Email address of business.
- Name, mailing address, telephone number and email address of the party to whom documents will be returned.
- Date of incorporation of the business.
- Information that owner wants to change in the articles of incorporation or organization.
- Date of each amendment’s adoption.
- Name of registered agent.
- Business address of registered agent.
- Email address of registered agent, if desired.
- Information that shareholder action was or was not required.
If shareholder action was required to effect the change, the business owner will need the number of shares:
- Entitled to vote.
- Represented at the meeting.
- Voted in favor.
- Voted against.
Other Business Changes
Changing the principal address of a business requires filing a change of principal office address. Changing the principal or officer information related to a business requires filing a notice of change of the governing person.
Changes made through the articles of amendment or a certificate of amendment may also involve a change to the number of shares, the distribution of assets, and the period of duration of the business.
A notice of change of registered agent or office contact information will change the registered agent’s information. A statement of resignation of registered agent can be used by a registered agent of the business to resign from a position.
Distinguishable Names for Business
Indiana law requires the name of a corporation, LLC, LP or LLP to be distinguishable from the names of other businesses of the same type in records in the secretary of state’s office. A business owner can determine if a particular name is available by calling the name availability line at 317-232-6576.
They can also check the Business Search website. The Business Search website only provides a preliminary check for name availability. If a name is available, they can file an application to reserve the name for 120 days, which costs $20. Alternatively, they can file documents to organize the business under that name.
Tips for Searching Business Names
The Indiana Secretary of State recommends that when an owner is performing name searches, they use the partial word search function. This returns a greater number of variations. It allows the owner to compare their proposed name to names already in the database.
The owner should use only the singular form of their proposed name when performing their search. This has the effect of returning plurals if the partial word search is used. Singulars are indistinguishable from plurals and possessives for the Indiana Secretary of State’s registration purposes. When an owner searches for information about a company with “and” or “&” as part of its name, they may need to perform the search using both terms.
Choosing a Distinguishable Business Name
A new name that a business owner proposes is distinguishable from an existing name in the database if:
- It contains different letters, numerals or words.
- It has a different sequence of letters or numerals from other names in the secretary of state’s records.
- The roots of the words are the same, but the words are in a different order.
These name features are not distinguishing characteristics:
- Plurals or possessives.
- Differences in punctuation.
- Differences in capitalization.
- Differences in business identifiers like “Inc.” and “LLC.”
- Use of articles such as “an.”
- Hyphenation or combined words.
The words “and” and the symbol “&” are interchangeable in the secretary of state’s records. Arabic, Roman and spelled-out numbers are treated the same.
Information in the Public Record
When a company files to amend its name, certain information on the application form may not become part of the public record. Information that the general public will not be able to retrieve includes the name, email address, return street address and telephone number of the person filing the application.
Information that will become part of the public record includes the name of the entity, the date it registered with the county or secretary of state, and the information to be amended.
- IN.gov: Business Filings
- IN.gov: How Can I Make a Change to My Business Information?
- IN.gov: Business Forms
- Indiana Secretary of State: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting A Business in Indiana
- IN.gov: How Do I File an Assumed Business Name (DBA)?
- IN.Biz: Business Search
- IN.gov: Step One, File With the Secretary of State
- Marion County Recorder's Office: Record a Doing Business As (DBA) Certificate
- Marion County: Certificate of Assumed Business Name
- Indiana businesses may also register multiple trade names (assumed names for business use) with the Secretary of State. Therefore, you can register another trade name instead of changing a trade name. Use the same search tool used for entity names to check for trade-name availability. As of 2010, the fee is $26 for nonprofits and $30 for other entities. Access the "Certificate of Assumed Business Name" form on the "Finding the Correct Forms" page to register a trade name. Follow the same payment instructions and send the form to the same address used for the amendment forms.
- Always check with any other government agencies where you registered the business. For example, check with county or city business or permit offices if you registered for a license or permit at the local level. These agencies may require you to update your records to reflect the change in your Indiana business name.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.