Indiana catering business owners must follow step-by-step business registration procedures to gain the proper legal licenses to prepare food for catering events and services. The state requirements include registering the catering business with the Indiana state government, getting the proper food creation and alcoholic licenses, and preparing the business for tax payments and employees.

Business Registration

If your catering business is operated as a sole proprietorship or as partnership, the registration must take place at the local county recorder’s office. Any other business structure must register on the state level by filling out a Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the Secretary of State. Also, catering businesses in Indiana must register with the Indiana Secretary of State, if the catering business is operating using a name that is different from the business owner’s legal name. A business license is provided after the application has been accepted.

Catering Permits and Licensing

A catering business operating in Indiana must gain additional business licenses, because the services are related to food production and public food development. A food service establishment permit is required from the local health department, where the catering business prepares the food for end-sale. If the business structure is not a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, the health license must be obtained from the Indiana State Department of Health. Part of the application process includes a health inspection of the area where the food is being prepared. An alcohol license is also needed from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, if the catering business wants to serve wine and beer at catering events.

Hiring Employees

A catering business can be run by a single owner, or be a collaborative effort by a business owner and a set of reliable employees. It is a federal requirement for all business owners to complete the employment eligibility verification form, also known as the I-9 form, for all employees hired by the catering business. The form must be completed to verify that the chosen employees are legally allowed to work in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

IRS’ Employer Identification Number (EIN) and State Taxes

Since a catering business earns money based on services performed for paying customers, the business must register for Indiana state taxes. The online Indiana Tax Center allows catering owners to gain access to tax forms, such as W2s, W2Gs and 1099Rs for new businesses. Depending on the structure and operations of the business, caterers may also need to register with the IRS. Caterers must get an EIN from the IRS if they have employees working for them, is registered as a corporation or partnership or withholds taxes on income, for example. IRS locations in Indiana include Columbus, Indianapolis and Merrillville.