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ILLINOIS

Why Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?


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Naming your Illinois Limited Liability Company

You need the right name for your Illinois LLC. Choosing the right name is vital because it tells your suppliers, customers and employees what your business does. Illinois has several rules and regulations about what you can call your new business. Let’s explore what they are.

General Illinois Secretary of State Rules on Naming Your LLC

  • The name needs to be unique and not used by another LLC or business operating in Illinois
  • Illinois LLC names must use the English alphabet or regular numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • The name of your Illinois business must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.” or “LLC”
  • “Limited” and “Company” cannot be abbreviated to “Ltd.” and “Co.” in Illinois

Don't Confuse Your Illinois Business Name With Another Business Name

  • It should not be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of another Illinois business
  • When deciding if names are substantially similar, you generally cannot claim a different type face, font, accents, subscript / superscript characters, punctuation or words like “the,” “and,” “of” etc. to claim your business name is different
  • The following words can’t be used to say your business name is different to another business name: Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp, Co, Inc, Ltd, PC, Professional Corporation, Limited Partnership, LP, L.P., Limited Liability Limited Partnership, LLLP or L.L.L.P.
  • For example, you can’t claim that Blue Widget Co., Blue Widget LLC, Blue Widget Incorporated, Blue-Widget-Company or Blue Widget are different to each other
  • The following terms can’t be used to say your business name is different to another business name:
    • Suffixes like Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Incorporation, Limited, Corp, Co, Inc, Ltd, LLC.
    • Definite articles like “A”, “And”, “An”, “&” “The” etc
    • The singular, plural or possessive forms of a word
    • Punctuation and symbols
    • Abbreviations of words
    • Different typefaces, fonts, superscript, subscript etc
  • It should not be possible to confuse the name of your business with the name of another Illinois business.
  • For example, you can’t claim that Blue Widget Co., Blue Widget LLC, Blue Widget Incorporated, Blue-Widget-Company or Blue Widget are different to each other.

Rules on Words You Can’t Use in Your Business Name

  • The Illinois LLC name can’t suggest affiliation with any federal or state government entity or agency.
  • The Illinois LLC name may not imply a purpose that it would be unlawful for the business to conduct.
  • Certain restricted words need additional paperwork if you want to use them in your business name. This includes both names associated with institutions and words associated with certain qualified professions. This list of words includes: Insurance, Surety, Underwriters, Bank, Bankers, Banking, or any licensed professional services.
  • You cannot use certain prohibited words that would confuse the name of your LLC with a federal or state agency, e.g. IRS, EPA, Treasury etc.
  • You can also be an Illinois LLC with a different “assumed business” name. These need to be registered with the secretary of state. Learn about assumed business names in Illinois.
  • There are many rules on the Illinois secretary of state website on naming your LLC — make sure you review them carefully and comply with the rules before finalizing a name, branding and marketing for your Illinois small business.

Rules on Infringing on Service Marks or Trademarks Inside or Outside Illinois

In addition to the rules above, it’s also vital to see if your Illinois LLC name might infringe on the trademark or service mark of another business. For example, it might not be a good idea to call yourself "Google Search Optimization Services," since Google is a trademark.

The easiest way to see if your proposed business name infringes is to carry out a trademark search. You can do that via the United States Patent and Trademark Office. or Incfile can help you protect your business with our new trademark registration service. You should also bear in mind that your Pennsylvania business entity name cannot be substantially similar to an existing trademark or service mark.

How to Search for Your Illinois Business Entity Name

Search the database of the Illinois Secretary of State for your proposed business name to see if it's unique.

You can search for:

  • Name (search from beginning of name)
  • Keyword (word may appear anywhere in name)
  • Partial word (beginning of any word in name)
  • File number

What Should You Call Your Illinois LLC?

Finding the perfect name can be tough. You want a business name that:

  • Describes what your Illinois business does
  • Appeals to your planned audience
  • Makes your business easy to find
  • Is relatively unique
  • Doesn’t limit you to a particular location or type of product or service

Fortunately, we’ve got some good advice on seeking out the perfect business name for your Illinois LLC. Check out our guidance on naming your LLC and get inspired.

You’ve Found the Perfect Name, What Next?

Once you’ve found the right name for your business, it’s time to make it a reality. Check out our packages for Starting Your Illinois LLC and Form Your LLC today.

Only $49 + State Free 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
$614 1 Week 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: $300

Learn more about starting a business in Illinois

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

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