Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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How to Start an Illinois LLC

As the sixth most populous state in the U.S., Illinois is home to the magnificent city of Chicago and the natural wonders of the Great Lakes — and it’s also a great place to live and to start a business. The Port of Chicago connects to the Atlantic through the network of lakes, and the state is a central hub for domestic and international travel. Known as a bellwether of culture and politics, Illinois is a place where great movements and businesses are born. The industries that dominate in Illinois include agriculture, manufacturing, services and energy.

If you want to start your own business in Illinois, one of the best ways to do so is by forming an Illinois LLC. Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a business entity designed for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. Illinois LLCs give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities.

We’ll cover searching for and creating the perfect name for your Illinois LLC, registered agents, fees, filing requirements, taxes and more.

Briefly, the benefits of starting an Illinois LLC include:

  • Separating and limiting your personal liability from your business liability and debts
  • Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulations and administration of your Illinois LLC
  • Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment

Learn more about the benefits of the LLC business structure.

Six Quick Steps for Creating Your Illinois LLC

This guide has plenty of information on how to form your Illinois LLC, but you can break down the basics of forming a business in IL into just a few simple steps.

STEP 1: Gather Information for Your Members

First, you’ll need to gather basic information about your LLC, including the names and addresses of the managers or members. The LLC members are typically the people who own and run the business. They are also the ones who can take profits out of the business to pay themselves.

STEP 2: Search for and Choose a Unique Business Name for Your Illinois LLC

You’ll need a distinctive and original name for your Illinois LLC that’s not used by any other business in IL. We provide a simple, easy-to-use business name search tool that tells you if another LLC or corporation in Illinois is using your proposed name. Just enter a few details and we’ll search the business registry of the IL Secretary of State.

There are a few rules you’ll need to follow when choosing an LLC name. You can find out more in our guide to searching for and naming your Illinois LLC.

Learn about Illinois LLC business naming rules.

STEP 3: Provide an Official Address for Your IL LLC

Every Illinois LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), your company’s office building or any physical address of your preference. The address can be outside the state of Illinois, but it cannot be a P.O. Box.

STEP 4: Assign a Registered Agent for Your Illinois LLC

Every IL LLC must have a “Registered Agent” when it is formed. This is an official position; the Registered Agent is someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the Illinois Secretary of State.

This position can be filled by you, another manager in the business or a dedicated Registered Agent service. Your IL Registered Agent must have a physical street address in Illinois and must be present to receive important documents for your company during business hours.

At Incfile, all of our packages include an Illinois Registered Agent service that is free for the first year and just $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document your Registered Agent has received on your behalf.

Learn more about Illinois Registered Agents.

STEP 5: Get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) From the Internal Revenue Service

You will need an EIN to identify your business to the IRS. You use this number when filing and paying taxes or when submitting payroll information and payments for your employees. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or we can get one for you as part of the Illinois LLC business formation process.

STEP 6: File Articles of Organization With the Illinois Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information together for your Illinois LLC, you’ll need to file a formal document with the IL Secretary of State. This document is known as your “Articles of Organization,” and filing the document creates your Illinois LLC. Here’s what is typically included:

  • Your business name and address
  • Details of your Registered Agent
  • Purpose of your business
  • Duration (can be permanent)
  • Provisions for the regulation of the internal affairs of the company
  • Names of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Name of the incorporator

You can file your Illinois LLC Articles of Organization online, mail in a form or have Incfile do it on your behalf. There is a fee to file and start an LLC in Illinois. You only need to file your Articles of Organization once.

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Review Information From the Illinois Secretary of State

The IL Secretary of State has plenty of additional information on forming and running a business in Illinois.

Special Types of Illinois LLCs

A regular Illinois LLC is suitable for most business needs, but you also have a few other options to incorporate a special type of LLC.

Form a Series LLC

In Illinois, you also have the option to set up a “Series LLC” — these are specialized LLCs designed to allow you to manage multiple separate LLCs under one master, umbrella LLC. These can be very useful if you don’t want to set up a separate Illinois LLC for every individual business you run.

Decide if an Illinois Series LLC is right for your new business.

Form a Professional LLC

Some states, including Illinois, allow certain occupations to form “Professional LLCs.” These types of businesses typically have specialized requirements and licensing. A standard LLC may be formed to provide professional services, such as the practice of medicine or dentistry, if all the members are licensed.

A limited liability company engaged in rendering a professional service regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation must register with that agency.

Form a Foreign LLC in Illinois

If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Illinois, you’ll need to form a foreign LLC.

More information on Illinois filing and licensing requirements can be found here.

Detailed Information for Your Illinois LLC

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

Naming Your Illinois LLC

How to search the Illinois business registry of the IL Secretary of State and find the right name. We provide a complete business name search tool that lets you know if another corporation or LLC already has the name you want. This section also includes information on naming rules, fictitious names, reserving an Illinois LLC name and more.

Illinois Registered Agents for Your LLC

How to appoint an Illinois Registered Agent to your new LLC or change to a different Registered Agent. Includes information on Registered Agent rules and searching for Illinois Registered Agents.

Fees and Requirements for Your Illinois LLC

How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the requirements you’ll need to meet for both federal and Illinois rules. Includes details of Employee Identification Numbers (EINs), Illinois and federal business licenses, Illinois annual reports and more.

Federal, State, Sales and Other Taxes for Your Illinois LLC

How to understand the various taxes you will need to pay to the federal and Illinois government. Includes details of federal taxes like income and self-employment and Illinois taxes like sales tax and income tax.

Only $0 + State Fee To Launch Your Business

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What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Illinois?

Filing Time and Price

The state charges this amount to file a new business entity. This fee goes directly to the Secretary of State.

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$154 2 Weeks 1 Business Day

Compliance Requirements

This report is mandatory and must be filed within the specified time frame in order for the entity to remain in good standing with the state. Failure to file this report can lead to the company being revoked or administratively dissolved.

Annual Report

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: Within 60 days immediately preceding first day of anniversary month.

Filing Fee: $78

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