Business & Commercial Law
Indiana Small Business Law
As a small business owner, you could probably use as much help as you can get to relieve the overall stress of managing the finances, legalities and operations of your company. State and local government websites are often great resources for information and connections, but they won’t always have the answers you’re looking for.
For business owners in Fort Wayne, Evansville or Indianapolis, it’s important to understand state and federal laws and know how to proceed when a legal issue develops. LawInfo has the Indiana small business law information you need from business taxes to workers’ compensation.
First Steps to Starting a Small Business in Indiana
To take your small business from idea to reality, there are several important tasks you’ll need to complete. While Indiana’s Business Services Division has its own guide to starting a business, there is no one “right” way to start a business. Some of the first things you should do, however, include:
- Make a business plan.
- Choose a legal structure for your business.
- Choose and register your business name.
- Find a location that suits your business’s needs and get information on the required safety and zoning codes.
- Seek financing if you’re unable to self-finance your business.
- Register for federal, state and local taxes, licenses and permits.
- Register your new and original business products, services or inventions as intellectual property using trademarks, servicemarks, copyrights or patents.
Indiana Business Insurance
Small businesses are typically vulnerable to bankruptcy or lawsuits without adequate protection. Business insurance can help protect your small business from failing too soon from accidents or legal mishaps.
There are many types of insurance policies that offer protection from specific and general business liabilities. Some insurers will offer several policies bundled in a single Business Owner’s Policy, while other individual policies may provide sufficient general liability coverage. An insurer and a small business attorney can help you determine the right policies for your business needs.
Some of the most important policies you’ll need for your small business include:
- Health Insurance—Many businesses purchase a group health insurance policy for their employees as a part of an employment benefits package. This isn’t always an affordable option, however, especially for small businesses.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance—When an employee is injured on the job, workers’ compensation can help to cover the medical and legal costs of the accident.
- Professional Liability Insurance—When an employee or your small business makes an error or an omission, this kind of policy can protect the business from malpractice and negligence claims.
- Product Liability Insurance—If a product you manufactured, sold or distributed causes a customer personal injury, this policy can help cover the costs of a product liability lawsuit.
Indiana Business Taxes
Some of the most critical elements of your small business’s budget will be business taxes. As you’re developing your business plan, you’ll want to research the federal, state and local taxes your business will be liable for. The specific types of business tax your business will be liable for depend on a number of factors, such as the legal structure of your business, whether your workers are employees or independent contractors, the kinds of products or services you offer, etc.
Indiana’s Department of Revenue provides a handbook for small business owners that covers the state taxes and requirements. Among the business taxes you may need to pay, some of the common ones include:
- Sales and use taxes—A seven percent state sales tax is levied on the sale of goods. A seven percent state use tax is levied on goods that were sold in other states but used in Indiana.
- Withholding taxes—State law requires employers to withhold part of employees’ income to pay for state and local taxes.
- Adjusted gross income taxes—Some corporations or other organizations are subject to a tax on their adjusted gross income, which is at a rate of six percent as of the 2017 tax year.