How to Check a Business Name in Indiana

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Indiana law requires the names of new businesses to be distinguishable from the names of businesses already registered with the state. The Secretary of State's office maintains the official record of registered business entities, and the public can contact the office directly to check for official business names and contact information. To make it easier for people to perform an informal check of business information, the Secretary of State's office also maintains an online database on its website where you can conduct searches.

Navigate to the Business Services Division section of the Indiana Secretary of State website. The website contains all of the information that a new business needs to register with the state. Click on the "Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting A Business" link on the sidebar menu.

Choose "Selecting a Name for Your Business" from the drop-down menu. This provides a quick summary of how to check a business name with the most current contact information and links.

Conduct an informal business name search in the "Business Services Online" database. Follow the "Do a name availability check via our website" link and enter the business name that you want to check. If the name is in the database, the business' official record will display. If the name isn't in the database, it doesn't necessarily mean that the name is available for use or that a business under that name doesn't exist. The database only establishes the likelihood that a name is available.

Call the Secretary of State's name availability line at 317-232-6576 to conduct an official search of a business name. The office can confirm the availability of a name, but only for the duration of the call. If you want to use the name to start a business, the office will check the name availability again when it receives your business registration documents. If you want to make sure the name remains available in the interim, you can submit a name reservation request.

File an application to reserve the name for 120 days if needed. Navigate to the forms section of the website by using the sidebar menu. Follow the "All Secretary of State's Office Forms" link. Download Form 26233, "Application for Reservation of Exclusive Use of Corporate Name." As of 2010, the fee to file a name reservation is $20.



About the Author

Terry Masters has been writing for law firms, corporations and nonprofit organizations since 1995. Her online articles specialize in legal, business and finance topics. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a minor in finance.

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