How Much Does It Cost to Form a Corporation in Illinois?

Legal business registration — and keeping your business compliant — involves necessary expenses and investment. Some of these costs are payable to the Secretary of State, while others are due to additional state entities or the federal government. Here are some common requirements and fees.

Please note that fees for a permit or business license in Illinois may be due when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.

Initial Illinois Corporation Filing Fee

When setting up a corporation in Illinois, you’ll need to file your Articles of Incorporation and pay a filing fee. Here are the current Illinois corporation fees and filing times:

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$179 3 Weeks 1 Business Day
State Fee $179
State Filing Time 3 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 1 Business Day

When you use Incfile to form a corporation in Illinois, we charge you the state filing fee and forward it to the Secretary of State when we file your incorporation paperwork.

Incfile can file your incorporation paperwork for you for free.

Just pay the required Illinois corporation filing fee.

Illinois allows you to incorporate more quickly by paying a rush fee

Employer Identification Number

Every corporation in the country should have a unique EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. You'll use it when you open a business bank account, file taxes and pay employees. You can get one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you.

Foreign Corporations

If you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a Foreign Corporation.

Illinois Foreign Corporation Registration

Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Illinois, you must request Foreign Qualification in Illinois. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.

To request registration of an Illinois Foreign Corporation, you must complete an Application for Authority to Transact Business in Illinois and pay a processing fee of $150 as well as any calculated franchise tax. The state may have additional registration requirements, so contact the Secretary of State directly for more information and to ensure you're in compliance with state law.

Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State

If you plan to expand your Illinois corporation into another state, you’ll first need Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary before you can create a physical presence, hire employees or bank in that state.

You'll likely have to complete at least one application and pay a filing fee, but each state has its own requirements. Before you start the process, compare state filing times and state filing fees so you can plan accordingly.

Above all, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and for specific instructions.

If you need assistance, Incfile provides a complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.

Illinois Annual Report Requirements

Most states require business entities to file an annual (or other periodic) report. Illinois is a little different in that it requires a franchise tax to be paid at the time of filing your annual report.

You may file your annual report with the Secretary of State digitally online via their website.

The filing fee for your annual report is $75, however you may have to pay additional franchise taxes at this time. You'll use the calculation process incorporated into the form to determine how much you owe.

Incfile can complete and file your Annual Report on your behalf

Illinois Business Licenses and Permits

Before you start doing business, you must secure the necessary state, federal or local business licenses and permits to operate your corporation. Some of the fees will only need to be paid once, while others may be ongoing charges.

Permits and licenses vary based on:

1

The type of business you run (e.g., attorneys must pass the state bar exam)

2

The industry your corporation operates in (e.g., restaurants will need health permits)

3

The location of your corporation (state, county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business in Chicago)

Operating your corporation without the required business license in Illinois can leave you vulnerable to risks, such as fines from local, state and federal governments.

You can research these permits and licenses yourself, or use Incfile’s Business License Research Package, which includes:

  • A complete report on all the licenses, permits and tax registrations your corporation will need
  • The applications you'll need to file with the local, state and federal licensing authorities

Corporate Bylaws

Although you don't need to file them with the state, Illinois legally requires corporations to have and use bylaws at the corporation's primary address.

This document outlines rules for carrying out tasks related to managing your corporation including, but not limited to:

  • The number of directors the corporation has
  • How they'll be elected, their qualifications and the lengths of their terms
  • When, where, and how your board of directors can call and conduct meetings
  • Voting requirements

The bylaws must then be adopted (and amended, if necessary) by the board of directors and shareholders.

Drafting a set of bylaws can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and can help protect your business from any future changes and events that may affect your business.

Other Illinois Corporation Filing Requirements and Fees

The State of Illinois requires you to complete a few more tasks before you can begin conducting business.

Appoint a Director

Some states require corporations to appoint a full board of directors. The Illinois Business Corporations Act 805 ILCS 5/8.10 requires all corporations to have at least one director.

Appoint Officers

In Illinois, the board of directors (or the single director) elects officers, such as the president, CEO, etc. The Illinois Business Corporations Act 805 ILCS 5/8.50 requires corporations to have at least one secretary. A single person can be the president, secretary, sole director and sole shareholder.

Issue Stock to Shareholders

To raise business capital and keep it separate from company owners' money, every Illinois corporation must sell stock to its shareholders. The Certificate of Formation must authorize the sale of at least one share, and the corporation cannot sell more shares than are authorized.

Hold Annual General Meetings

This is one area where Illinois differs from other states. You may hold annual meetings, and it's generally a good idea to do so. But if you decide not to, the Illinois Business Corporations Act 805 ILCS 5/7.05 states, "Failure to hold the annual meeting at the designated time shall not work a forfeiture or dissolution of the corporation nor affect the validity of corporate action."

Get an Assumed Name or DBA

If you want to register a DBA in Illinois (assumed name), you must file a form with the Secretary of State and pay a filing fee.

The filing fee for this varies depending upon the year:

  • $150 if the current year ends with a 0 or 5;
  • $120 if the current year ends with a 1 or 6;
  • $90 if the current year ends with a 2 or 7;
  • $60 if the current year ends with a 3 or 8;
  • or $30 if the current year ends with a 4 or 9.
Incfile can file your Assumed Name or DBA forms on your behalf

Change the Registered Agent

If your corporation is based in Illinois, then you must have a Registered Agent in Illinois. You'll need to appoint one when you file your Articles of Incorporation. You can also change to a new Registered Agent later by filing a form and paying a fee of $25.

Let Incfile serve as your Registered Agent.

It’s free for the first year if you form your IL corporation with us and $119 a year after.

Reserving a Name for Your Corporation

If you're not quite ready to start your business, you can reserve a name for 90 days with the Secretary of State by filing a form and paying a fee of $25. First, conduct a Illinois corporation search and learn the state's business naming rules to ensure you choose a name that meets legal requirements.

Amending Facts About Your Corporation

When you incorporate, the Illinois Secretary of State forms you fill out will state certain facts about your business at that time. Through the years, some or all of this information may change. If it does, you'll need to file Articles of Amendment with the Secretary of State along with a filing fee of $50. You can do this yourself or Incfile can do it for you.

You'll need to file Articles of Amendment when you:

  • Change the company's name
  • Add, remove or change a director
  • Change the Registered Agent
  • Change the number of shares your corporation is authorized to issue
  • Change any other facet of your business that was listed on the original Certificate of Formation

Get a Certificate of Good Standing

Some organizations may request that you prove your corporation's compliance with laws and tax requirements. In many states, this proof is provided with a Certificate of Existence or Certificate of Fact. In Illinois, it's called a Certificate of Good Standing.

If you need to prove you have met your commitments, you’ll need to request an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of State. You can do this by searching for your business and then ordering a Certificate of Good Standing. The fee for this service is $25.

Incfile can obtain an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing on your behalf

The information listed above details many of the fees a standard corporation will be required to pay in Illinois. In some circumstances, there may be other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.

Of course, your corporation will also probably need to pay federal, state, self-employment (if it's an S Corp) and other taxes. You'll find more information on the Illinois taxes page.

FAQs About Illinois Incorporation Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When I Incorporate?

We charge you this fee at cost and then pay it to the Secretary of State on your behalf when forming your Illinois business.

Where Do I Get Permits or a Business License in Illinois?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • Governing organizations in your industry
  • Federal, state and local regulations
  • Where you're located
  • The type of business you run

Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to obtain additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research Package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your corporation needs to be compliant.

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