Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

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Simple Steps to Start Your Illinois LLC

As the sixth most populous state in the U.S. and home to the magnificent city of Chicago and the natural wonders of the Great Lakes, Illinois is 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 makes forming an LLC easy and inexpensive. LLCs are great for small and medium businesses because they give you many of the protections and advantages of larger corporations — without all the rules, regulations and compliance issues common to larger business entities. Let’s start by looking at the advantages of forming an Illinois 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. Series LLCs are not available in every state, so being an Illinois business owner is an added bonus if this is a structure that works best for your business. Here are other advantages to forming an LLC in Illinois...

Advantages of Forming an LLC in Illinois

Illinois LLCs have several benefits for business owners.

  • Starting an Illinois LLC is quick and easy — you can complete all the necessary forms and actions online to start your company.
  • An LLC limits your personal liability — any liabilities created by your Illinois business (debts, obligations and other liabilities) are legally considered to be completely separate from your personal assets as the business owner or founder.
  • Illinois LLCs are easy to maintain — LLCs are light on rules and regulations. There’s no need for boards of directors, complex rules and regulations or formal annual meetings.
  • LLCs are very easy to manage and you can add and amend members and make other changes with just a little paperwork.
  • Tracking, filing and paying taxes is simple and easy — any income you earn through your Illinois LLC is reported on your personal tax return. This means you won’t run into “double taxation” issues common with larger corporations.

Start your Illinois LLC in Six Steps

1. Name Your Illinois LLC

  • Your Illinois LLC needs an original, unique name. It should:
    • Be distinctive and not used by another company in Illinois
    • Not be confusable with the name of another company in Illinois
    • End with the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviations “LLC.” “Limited” and “Company” can be abbreviated to “Ltd.” and “Co.”
    • For example: “Illinois Natural Resources Survey Reports LLC” or “Chicago Sports Appreciation, Limited Liability Company”
  • To find out if another company is using your choice of business name, carry out an Illinois business entity name search

2. Your Illinois LLC Needs a Street Address

An Illinois LLC must have a designated street address. That could be your home address (if you’re running the company from your residence), where your office is located or any physical address of your preference — even outside of Illinois. It cannot be a PO Box.

3. Your Illinois LLC Needs a Registered Agent

Every Illinois LLC must have a “registered agent.” That could be you, the managing director, owner or a dedicated registered agent service. The registered agent in Illinoisis someone who receives official legal and tax correspondence and has responsibility for filing reports with the IllinoisSecretary of State.

At Incfile, all of our packages include a “Registered Agent” service free for the first year and $119 per year thereafter. We also have a dashboard you can login to and easily view any document your registered agent has received on your behalf. Here are a few reasons you might want to appoint Incfile as their registered agent service...

  • The Registered Agent must have a physical street address in the state where you are forming the company. Some people establish companies outside of the state they live in and will need to use a Registered Agent service to provide the address.
  • You always need to have someone on hand to receive important documents for your business during business hours (typically 9 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday). Therefore, person must always be available to sign for legal correspondence.
  • The Registered Agent’s name and address is part of the public record and available through the Illinois Secretary of State's website. If you would prefer your name and address isn’t published, this is a reason to choose a Registered Agent service.
  • If you change your Illinois business address or move out of state, you don’t need to file additional documentation with the secretary of state for the new address of your Registered Agent. You will need to setup a new registered agent service in the new state.

There are more considerations, but this should help you with your decision to use a Registered Agent service.

4. You Should Provide Names and Addresses of all Illinois LLC Members

Your Illinois LLC members are the people who own and run the business. They will be the individuals who withdraw profits from the business to pay themselves. Illinois requires you to list the names and addresses of all managers or members when you register the Illinois LLC. You can register these addresses as street addresses or PO Boxes. If you are the sole owner, operator and manager of your LLC, then you are the only member!

5. You Need to File Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State

Once you've gathered all the information together for your LLC, you’ll need to file formal documents with the Illinois Secretary of State. Filing these Articles of Organization creates your Illinois LLC. You can do this online or download a PDF, fill it out and mail it in. Here at Incfile we can file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State of Illinois and create your LLC for you — this saves you research, time and frustration of figuring it out on your own.

6. You Can Create an Illinois LLC Operating Agreement

Illinois LLCs aren’t required to have an operating agreement, but they are extremely useful for several reasons. Your operating agreement covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key areas. If you have more than one member in your LLC, we suggest creating an Operating Agreement. Learn how to create your operating agreement.

We also have a lot more information on how to form an LLC.

Starting Your Illinois LLC: Useful Resources

Form an Illinois LLC without Breaking the Bank

Incfile provides a cost-effective service to help you Create Your LLC. We guide you through the process and handle most of the administrative steps, such as filing the Articles of Organization on your behalf. Our basic package also provides a free Registered Agent service for the first year. If you're looking for help to start an LLC, our comprehensive services provide outstanding value.

Only $49 + 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: $128

Learn more about starting a business in Illinois

Additional resources, guides, and articles for better decision making.

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