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Relocate or Start a Business in Kokomo

Starting a business in Howard County? Let's get started! 

The local, state and federal requirements for licensing, taxes and other regulations vary depending on the type of business and where it is conducted or located. The following are general requirements for Howard County provided to us by the Hoosier Heartland Small Business Development Center. For more information or to set up a one-on-one fact-finding session, please contact the HHSBDC.

FILING OF BUSINESS NAME

Often referred to as the DBA (Doing Business As). If you are a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, you should register the Certificate of Assumed Business Name with the Howard County Recorder's Office located in the Howard County Administration Center located at 220 N. Main St., Room 330, Kokomo, IN  46901. The recording fee for the certificate is $11. Cash, check, debit/charge cards are accepted, however, an extra $2 convenience fee will apply for each card transaction.

Note: You will need to search the public record in the Recorder's office to determine if your company name is already in use.

The Certificate of Assumed Business Name is not a license and does not provide copyright protection.

BUILDING AND ELECTRICAL PERMITS

To inquire about building and electrical permits and any other Howard County permits that may be required, contact the Howard County Building Permits Office, Department of Engineering, Traffic & Inspection Services, 100 South Union Street, Kokomo 46901. Phone: (765) 456-7362.

LOCAL OCCUPATION LICENSE

The City of Kokomo (Howard County) does not currently require a general business license. However, you must file a Certificate of Assumed Business Name in the County Recorder’s Office (if you name your business anything other than your own personal name) or be on record with the Indiana Secretary of State. If your business is an LLC or Corporation, the Indiana Secretary of State will notify the County.

STATE OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE

Over 100 professions and occupations require Indiana licenses or Certificates of Competency. Many require special training or examinations. You can find State Permit Assistance by calling (800) 45-STATE (800-457-8283) or by contacting the Professional Licensing Agency at 317-232-2980.

FENCE, SIGN AND PARKING LOT PERMITS

To comply with the City or County fence, sign, or parking lot ordinances, contact the Department of Engineering, Traffic & Inspection Services, 100 South Union, Kokomo 46901. Phone: 765-456-7362.

PLANNING AND ZONING (COUNTY) & ZONING

If you are starting a business outside the corporate limited of the Kokomo (765) 456-2330, but within Howard County, and the cities of Greentown (765) 628-3263, Russiaville (765) 883-5739, West Middleton, Judson, and Alto, you must contact your respective Department of Planning for information about zoning, improvement location permits, certificates of compliance, and economic development matters. For more information on these matters contact the Howard County Administration Center, 220 North Main Street, Kokomo 46901. For the rest of Howard County (765) 456-2330.

To inquire whether the location of the perspective business being considered is zoned for business, contact the Howard County Planning Commission, 120 East Mulberry Street, Room 114, Kokomo 46901. Phone: (765) 456-2330.

COUNTY HEALTH PERMITS

Several types of businesses must obtain health permits and be inspected by the Health Department. In particular, businesses engaged in handling food must submit an application and detailed plans of their food service prior to being inspected by the Health Department in receiving the food permit. For more information, contact the Howard County Health Department, Environmental Health, 120 East Mulberry Street, Room 210, Kokomo 46901. Phone: (765) 456-2403 or (765) 456-2417.

Indiana law requires Certification of one food handler per establishment. ServSafe is one test approved to meet this requirement. Further information is available at ServSafe®

Indiana Restaurant Association (National Restaurant Association), 200 South Meridian Street, Suite 350, Indianapolis 46225. Phone: (317) 673-4211 or 800 678-1957

FAX: (317) 673-4210 Internet: http://www.indianarestaurants.org/

ServSafe® Training and Exam: Certification lasts for 5 years. Order certificate replacements at http://www.servsafe.com/ or 800-765-2122

All wholesale food businesses which engage in the manufacture of distribution of foods, beverages, and/or additives of any type (whether on a seasonal basis or not) are required to be registered with the Indiana State Department of Health, per the requirements of the Indiana Food, Drug, and cosmetic Act (IC 16-42-1-6). For a detailed information packet, contact the Indiana State Department of Health, Food Protection Program, 2 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, 46204. Phone: (317) 233-7360.

INCORPORATING

All corporations are state chartered and, in Indiana, must file Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Trade Name with the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office. The filing fee is usually $90, but depends on the number of shares issued. Contact the Indiana Secretary of State, Corporate Division, Room 155 State House, Indianapolis, 46204; Phone: 317-232-6576; or view the SOS Business Services Division web site at www.in.gov/sos/business/index.html. Incorporate online: http://www.in.gov/sos/business/2428.html

FEDERAL – EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER

This registers the business with the federal government. All businesses, except sole proprietorships with no employees, are required to register using Form SS-4. If the business has employees, it is required to withhold Federal Income Tax and Social Security Tax from wages paid to employees. A free Business Tax Kit is available at the Internal Revenue Office. The kit includes forms and information that help a business comply with federal tax laws and regulations. You can request a Business Tax Kit by calling the IRS Document Distribution Center in Indianapolis at either 800-829-1040 or 800-829-3676. Also, check out the IRS web site: www.irs.gov. It has an excellent document search function and offers a great deal of helpful information for businesses. From the IRS Home page, click on “Business” in the sidebar, then on the Business page, select “Small Business/Self-Employed” from that sidebar.

Here are some specific forms that will be useful:

Form 1040 ES Estimated Tax for Individuals

Publication 509 Tax Calendar

Publication 937 Business Reporting

Here are some specific forms that will be useful (continued):

Form SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Publication 587 Business Use of the Home

Schedule SE Self-Employment Tax

Publication 917 Business Use of the Car

Publication 535 Business Expenses

Or you can call 800-829-3679 to request the form (EIN application) by mail, or you may apply for your EIN online at http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html

STATE – SALES TAX & CORPORATE INCOME TAX

The State of Indiana requires that businesses collect a seven percent (7%) Gross Retail Sales and Use Tax on certain items. If the business is retail, wholesale, or manufacturing, it must obtain a Retail Merchant’s Certificate for the collection of and/or exemption from the Indiana Cross Retail Sales and Use Tax. (Generally, service-businesses are excluded.) The Certificate allows the business to buy merchandise for resale without paying the 7% tax and also gives them the authority to charge the 7% tax. Complete Form BT-1 to apply for your Retail Merchants’ Certificate. Application includes a $25 fee. This form can be found on the Department of Revenue website at http://www.in.gov/dor/4337.htm

All Indiana corporations are subject to a Corporate Income Tax and may be required to file quarterly estimated income tax returns.

Further information may be obtained for both the sales tax and corporate tax from the Indiana Department of Revenue Indiana, 117 East Superior Street, Kokomo 46901, Phone: (765) 457-0525, or from the Indianapolis office in Room N105 in the State Office Building at 100 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis 46204. The Department of Revenue website is at www.in.gov/dor.

Note: The local office can supply you with the certificate in approximately one or two days. The Indianapolis office will take approximately six weeks.

LOCAL – TANGIBLE TAX

A tax is levied on tangible (physical) business assets with the tax rate set by the local taxing unit. The 2014 taxes are due by May 12, 2014 (Spring) and November 10, 2014 (Fall) and are levied by those assets and inventory held or possessed on March 1, 2014. Contact the Howard County Assessor, Jamie Shepherd, located at the Administration Center, 220 North Main Street, Kokomo 46901, Phone (765) 456-2211, if you need help determining in which township your business is located. For more information regarding your property taxes contact the Howard County Treasurer, Ann Wells, Administration Center, 220 North Main Street, Kokomo 46901, Phone (765) 456-2213. Forms can be downloaded from www.in.gov/dlgt/7576 and are due May 15 to the County Assessor’s office.

FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT TAX

If a business has one or more employees it may be liable for Federal Unemployment Taxes. Contact the IRS at their web site for more information.

STATE UNEMPLOYMENT TAX

In addition to the Federal Unemployment Tax, an employer must pay the State Unemployment Tax. State requirements for employers can be found at: www.in.gov/dwd/employer/requirements.html.

You can also call the Department of Workforce Development at 888-WORKFONE. The Department’s mailing address is Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Indiana Government Center south, 10 N. Senate Ave, Indianapolis, 46204.

WORKER’S COMPENSATION

Worker’s compensation insurance is compulsory for all employers in Indiana. It is carried by private insurance agents, and law regulates premiums paid by employers. Contact your local insurance agency or call the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana, 100 N. Senate Ave, Room 601, Indianapolis, 46204. Phone: 317-232-3808

SMALL BUSINESS OMBUDSMAN

The Small Business Ombudsman helps Indiana small businesses receive fast, clear answers from state agencies. Serving as a mediator, information-gatherer, expediter and problem solver, the Ombudsman works regularly with other state agencies whose functions affect small business. This program continues to work with state agencies to monitor any outdated, ineffective, or overly burdensome information request from state agencies to small businesses. The Small Business Ombudsman is located in the Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at One N. Capitol, Suite 600, Indianapolis, 46204. Phone: 317-232-5679.