How to Form a Company in Illinois


Although Illinois is known for its rich history and beautiful architecture, it’s not one of the top destinations for entrepreneurs. In fact, Illinois ranks 47th out of 50 states when it comes to business competitiveness. If you want to start an LLC in Illinois, then you need to understand how that process works by creating an LLC in Illinois yourself. This will help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your company has everything it needs to thrive.

Form an Illinois LLC

If you want to create a business entity in Illinois, you probably already know that LLCs are a popular option. They’re flexible and have fewer requirements than other kinds of companies. They also are taxed differently—LLC members pay pass-through income tax, so all profits and losses go on their personal returns—which can save money for businesses that aren’t profitable enough to need an S corporation or partnership form.

Here’s how to form an LLC in Illinois:

  • Choose your name for the business
  • File Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State’s office (or online)
  • Select an agent for service of process and receive acknowledgement from the Secretary of State’s office (or online)

Name your business

Once you’ve decided on a business structure, it’s time to choose a name. The first step is finding out if anyone else has already registered that name in Illinois. You can do this by entering your proposed company name into the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) database or searching the online UCC filings database. If your company name isn’t available, then you’re free to register it!

It’s important not to pick too generic of a name for your business—one that could apply to any type of entity—as these names tend not to be unique enough and could cause confusion among customers looking for specific companies with similar names. It’s also best not to choose an overly descriptive name like “Chicago Business Services” if there are already several companies with similar names because people might get confused about which one they should go with when researching options online or in other ways. Pick something short but memorable so people will remember it more easily later on down the road when they’re ready make purchases; this makes marketing easier later on too! And finally: no offensive terms—that’ll just spell trouble down the line!

File your Articles of Organization

You can file your Articles of Organization either by mail or online. The fee for filing is $30 if you file online and $40 if you use the mail. When applying online, remember to include a check for the filing fee along with your application.

If you choose to submit your Articles of Organization by mail, please send them to: Secretary of State – Business Services Division- Corporate Record Filing Unit PO Box 19287 Springfield, IL 62794-9287

If applying by mail, remember that all documents must be typed or printed in black ink (no color). Please do not staple anything together except the original copy of your Articles of Organization form and any attachments (such as an Officers Statement). Any additional information required should be clearly marked on the form(s) so we can properly match it up with its corresponding document(s).

Publish a Notice of Publication (for certain types of businesses)

If you are a business that is required to publish a notice of publication, you must also follow certain requirements. The notice must be published in an Illinois newspaper within 30 days of the filing date and contain:

  • The name and address of your proposed business.
  • A statement that a copy of the application has been filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
  • The date on which your company was formed or will be formed if not yet formed.

Additionally, publications about new businesses must include:

  • Information regarding any bond required by law (if applicable), such as an anti-recovery bond from either a surety company or trust fund;

Appoint a Registered Agent

A registered agent is an individual or business that has been appointed by the LLC to receive legal documents on behalf of the LLC. This person must be an Illinois resident and available during normal business hours. In addition, he or she must have a physical address in Illinois.

Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is the governing document of a company. It should include important details about how you will run your business, including how profits and losses are shared, who has decision-making power, and what happens if one partner leaves. If you plan on hiring employees or leasing office space from someone else, this is also where you can lay out those arrangements.

An operating agreement is not required by law but recommended by most lawyers because it gives each partner clarity on their role in the company and helps prevent disagreements later on (for example, when it comes time for one of them to leave). If there are no disagreements about major issues like these going into the start-up phase then this part of forming an LLC might not be too much trouble!

Get an EIN

  • What is an EIN?

The EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. It’s a unique number that the IRS assigns to business entities, such as corporations, partnerships, trusts and sole proprietorships. An EIN is used by these organizations to pay income taxes or file business tax returns with the federal government.

  • How do I apply for an EIN?

You can apply online at the IRS website or by mail if you prefer not to use their online service. If you choose the mailing method, check out this page on the IRS website for instructions on how to complete and submit your request form correctly!

Open a business bank account & credit card

Once you have an LLC, it’s time to open a business bank account. You’ll also want to get a credit card for your new company. This will help with cash flow and keep your personal finances separate from business expenses, since these are usually accounted for differently in the IRS’s eyes.

You should request that all payments be made by check or wire transfer rather than cash whenever possible so that there is no risk of losing money if the employee’s paycheck bounces or if a vendor doesn’t pay up on time (or at all).

Apply for licenses and permits

Once you’ve chosen a business name and filed your paperwork, it’s time to get the necessary licenses and permits. This process varies by industry. For example, if you operate in the food industry, you may need a license from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). However, if your business is in the medical field or requires hazardous materials handling certification, then it will fall under different regulatory bodies like the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

If you’re unsure whether or not your company needs any type of license or permit, check with your state’s website for more information.

File annual reports

The second step is filing annual reports with the Illinois Secretary of State. These documents are due on the anniversary of your company’s incorporation, and they must be filed each year that your business remains in existence. To file an annual report, go to this page and click “Online Annual Report Filing” at the bottom. You will be prompted to log in using your username and password—the same ones that you used when you registered for a DBA or registered as a foreign limited liability company (LLC).

Once logged in, there are two ways that you can complete this task: enter information manually or upload an Excel spreadsheet. If entering data manually sounds like too much work for you, consider uploading an Excel spreadsheet instead! The process is very similar to completing other forms such as Schedule Cs; just follow these steps:

  • Click “File Online” under “What would like?”
  • Select “Form IL-1120” from among all of the available options displayed onscreen
  • Clicking “Continue” will require login credentials again (user name/password)

Forming your LLC is the first step toward running a successful company in Illinois.

An LLC is the most popular business structure for small businesses. This type of business protects you from personal liability and allows you to raise capital from investors without having to create an S corporation or C corporation.

An LLC is also a good choice for businesses that need to limit their liability, such as one that provides professional services or sells products online.

To form an LLC:


Hopefully, the information in this blog post has helped you understand how to form an LLC in Illinois. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of steps involved, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. A good first step would be to contact us here at LegalZoom so that we can walk through everything with you one-on-one and make sure everything is done properly. We can also help if this is not your first time forming an LLC or if something goes wrong during the process—we know these processes well!

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