Why Create an Illinois LLC?
Entrepreneurs can take advantage of numerous business incentives, tax credits and tax exemptions in Illinois. One such incentive is the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit Program (EDGE). This program provides annual tax credits to qualifying businesses that support capital investment and job creation, and have a positive effect on Illinois residents' standard of living.
The state also provides grants and loans to help businesses buy necessities such as machinery, equipment and land, provided the business will benefit the community.
For most people, the fastest and easiest way to start a business in Illinois is by creating an Illinois limited liability company (LLC), a type of business entity ideal for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. An LLC offers many of the advantages and protections of larger Illinois corporations, but with much simpler rules and regulations.
Benefits of starting an Illinois LLC:
Separate and limit your personal liability from your business liability and debts
The franchise tax is being phased out (scheduled for repeal on December 31, 2025)
Easily and quickly file, manage, ensure compliance, regulate and administer of your Illinois LLC
Easy tax filing and possible advantages for tax treatment
Learn more about the LLC business structure.
In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your LLC, how to get a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, how to navigate Illinois business taxes and much more. We’ll also explain what you'll need to register and file your LLC, and how you'll interact with the Illinois Secretary of State.
How to Form an Illinois LLC Yourself in 6 Steps
Step 1 - Complete an Illinois LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
Step 2 - Provide an Official Address for Your LLC
Step 3 - Assign a Registered Agent
Step 4 - File Your Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State
Step 5 - Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
Step 6 - Create an Operating Agreement
Complete an Illinois LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name
You’ll need a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not used by any other business in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using our Business Name Generator to get ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Illinois Business Names page.
Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Illinois. To find out whether another company is using your chosen business name, use our tool to do a business name search. You can also conduct a name search on the Illinois Secretary of State website.
Provide an Official Business Address for Your LLC
Whether it's an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence), or any other physical location, every LLC in Illinois must have a designated street address. It can be outside the state, but it cannot be a P.O. box.
To make this easier, consider using a virtual mailbox for your business address. Incfile can provide you with an Illinois virtual mailbox, where we'll receive mail on your behalf and scan it for you to review online. This is a smart move if you run a home-based business because it will protect your home address from being published as part of your business public record.
Assign a Registered Agent
Someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Illinois Secretary of State is called a Registered Agent. Every LLC in Illinois must have a Registered Agent.
This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your Illinois Registered Agent is a person, they must have a physical street address in Illinois, and they’re required to be present during business hours to receive important documents on behalf of your company. In Illinois, you appoint your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Organization.
All of Incfile’s packages include Registered Agent service. It’s free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. You can also log in to our easy-to-use online dashboard where you can easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on behalf of your business.
File Your Articles of Organization
After you have all the information for your Illinois LLC, the next step is to file a form with the Illinois Secretary of State to create your Articles of Organization. Filing it officially creates your LLC.
You can file your Illinois Articles of Organization through the Illinois Secretary of State's online filing system, by mailing a form to the Office of the Secretary of State or by having Incfile do it on your behalf. The Illinois LLC filing fee is $150.
File by Mail
Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
You’re only required to file your Articles of Organization once upon formation, but you will need to file an annual report every year thereafter. Incfile can either remind you to do it, or we can do it for you.
Note: In Illinois, Articles of Organization and Articles of Incorporation are not the same thing. The former is for LLCs and the latter is for corporations.
What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Illinois?
Within 60 days immediately preceding first day of anniversary month.
*includes processing fee
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
You’ll need to obtain an EIN from the IRS to identify your business. This number is used when you file and pay taxes, when you submit payroll information and payments for your employees, or open a business bank account. You can get one yourself, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Illinois LLC formation process.
Create an Operating Agreement
A kind of "instruction manual" that details how you'll run your business, an LLC Operating Agreement outlines how business decisions will be made, how the business is set up among members and what will happen if a member leaves the company.
Some states require that a company have an Operating Agreement in place. It isn’t legally required in Illinois, but it’s a good idea to have one anyway to protect your business.
Other Illinois LLC Types
In Illinois, you have the option to set up a Series LLC. This is a specialized entity designed to allow you to manage multiple separate LLCs under one master LLC. This is a useful option if you don’t want to set up a separate LLC for every individual business you run.
To apply for a Series LLC, Illinois requires that you complete a Certificate of Designation form and pay a filing fee of $50.
Decide whether an Illinois Series LLC is right for your business.
Some states, including Illinois, allow certain businesses to form Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs). An Illinois Professional LLC will typically require members to be licensed, and impose other specialized requirements as well.
But an Illinois PLLC isn't always necessary. The state also allows standard LLCs to be formed to provide professional services, such as the practice of medicine or dentistry, provided all the members are licensed.
Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.
If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Illinois—or vice versa—you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.
Learn more about Illinois Foreign LLC registration.
Helpful Resources from the State of Illinois
More Information in This Guide
You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:
How to find the best name for your business by searching the Illinois Secretary of State's business registry. Includes information on naming rules, assumed names, reserving an LLC name and more.
How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents, and the rules they’re required to follow.
How to understand the various fees you'll pay and the requirements you must meet for both state and federal rules. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.
Information you need to understand the various taxes you'll need to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details of state taxes, such as sales and income taxes, and federal taxes, such as income and self-employment taxes.