How to Start an LLC in Illinois: If you’re looking to start an Illinois LLC, you’ve come to the right page. Setting up an LLC is easy and cost-effective. To form an LLC, you must follow a few steps that include naming your LLC, hiring a registered agent, filing your formation documents, doing the operating agreement, and finally obtaining the EIN. You can easily set up your LLC at a very low cost in Illinois. Though, you must pay the mandatory state filing fee. These fees and charges can be tax deductible, making the LLC formation cost almost negligible.
On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your Illinois LLC has been correctly formed. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂
On this page, you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Start an LLC in Illinois
- After Starting Your Illinois LLC
- Illinois Foreign LLC
- Illinois LLC Formation Review
How to Start an LLC in Illinois
An LLC (aka Limited Liability Company) is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection. For an LLC, members’ personal assets are not affected by business debts. However, in some cases, if the LLC is sued for business debts, courts might pierce the corporate veil and use the owner’s personal assets to meet their corporate liabilities.
If you wish to start an LLC, you must file your Articles of Organization with the State and pay a filing fee of $150. While it’s the most important step, it’s not the only one. There are 4 other crucial steps to follow to get your LLC formed in Illinois. Below are all 5 steps that explain everything you need to do to start an Illinois LLC in 2023. Let’s get started! You can always hire a professional LLC formation service in Illinois to set up your LLC instead of doing it alone; a Pro service will ensure everything is done properly.
Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Illinois LLC
The first step while forming a limited liability company in Illinois is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.
LLC Naming Guidelines in Illinois
There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Illinois have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:
- Your business name should be available, and no other existing business in Illinois can have the same name. ZenBusiness offers unlimited business name searches at $0.
- “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
- You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
- Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Illinois State Government are fulfilled.
- (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
|Important Links –||Submit Offline Form to –|
|Illinois Business Entity Search – Online Name Search|
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Illinois LLC Name Search Guide – Instructions
|Department of Business Services|
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St. Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756.
Reserve Business Name for Future
If you do not wish to file your LLC right now, but want to hold the name you have decided, then you can reserve your LLC name for 90 days. To keep the name, you must file a name reservation application and pay $25 to reserve your name with the Illinois Secretary of State.
Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name
Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Illinois Secretary of State by submitting an Assumed Business Name Registration (online) and the filing fee of $50.
Recommended: You can do name search, business domain, website, emails, and a lot more in one place by hiring a professional service. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 for LLC Formation)
Apart from LLC formation, ZenBusiness offers customized website templates and business emails at a very reasonable price. If you plan to get a website, then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business, but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.io”, “.company”, “.xyz,” etc. Here you can get everything you need for your business in one dashboard.
It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.
Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Illinois
The second step to forming an LLC in Illinois is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity working on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Illinois. Hence, hiring a competent Illinois Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary.
Make sure your registered agent is a resident of Illinois or has a physical street address. This address will be used as the principal address of your LLC to receive any legal documents. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC formation services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $0), you also get registered agent service and other services at a very reasonable price.
These two are our top recommendations for registered agent service, as they are competent and authorized to conduct business in Illinois. Some LLC formation services also offer standalone Illinois registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services without purchasing any other LLC formation services. This standalone service might become handy if you are doing it yourself and don’t want to disclose your home address or you don’t want to pierce the corporate veil.
A person above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Illinois can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity, or can be a representative of a foreign corporation. One is responsible for handling all the legal documents on the LLCs behalf.
Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Illinois and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent, you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Illinois.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t be your own registered agent. The address of the registered agent is used to communicate with the SOS or for any legal activities. If you are your own registered agent, you might have to upload your personal address to the public forum. Besides, the registered agent must be at the address during business hours. It won’t be easy for you as you also have to take care of other things in your LLC. Hence, it is wiser to appoint a separate entity as your registered agent.
If an LLC is sued in Illinois, in some cases, courts might decide to lift the corporate veil, which means the owners of the LLC will be personally liable for their business debts. They might have to forgo their personal assets to repay their business debts. This is called piercing the corporate veil, where personal and business assets are not separated anymore. Your personal assets can be protected if you have enough capital and all your LLC documents are properly filed.
Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Illinois
The third and most important step in forming an LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Illinois Articles of Organization is a legal document that is required to register your business with the Illinois Secretary of State. It costs $150 to file your formation certificate in Illinois.
The articles of organization include details like the name of the LLC, the registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and company structure (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Illinois LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) in other states to Illinois, you must register as an Illinois Foreign LLC.
How to File Online
How to File by Mail
If you prefer filing real-life forms for your LLC registration in Illinois, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form LLC-55. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62746
Processing Time: Normally, it takes around 10 business days (approx) to get your LLC formed in Illinois. The processing time for online filing might be a little faster than offline filing. However, the document processing time can be changed due to various factors.
Recommended: Online LLC Formation service can provide all these documents way faster than usual time with lifetime customer support and 100% accuracy. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Every LLC owner has to pay the filing fees to register their business in Illinois. This fee is mandatory but also tax deductible. If you’re doing it yourself (filing on your own), it will not cost you any additional service fee. However, it is not feasible to do that as the DIY process might be delayed, complicated, and messy, especially if you’re a novice entrepreneur. Hence, it is recommended to get professional guidance to get your LLC formed in Illinois.
Step 4: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement in Illinois
Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is an internal document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.
When it comes to filing an Illinois LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation that helps in taking future business decisions, especially if you decide to dissolve Illinois LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is ideal.
Recommended: You can get a professionally made operating agreement for very less cost with ZenBusiness. You don’t need to worry about drafting it as they will take care of it on your behalf. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
The operating agreement draft can be created for free if you don’t hire a professional. However, there is an advantage to appointing a proficient person/service. You will get a businesslike quality operating agreement at a very cheap fee, which will help you in the future. Hiring a professional service means you can sleep well at night 🙂
Step 5: Filing an Illinois LLC EIN
The Employer Identification Number (aka EIN) is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business, for that matter.
EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Illinois LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Illinois foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.
To obtain EIN (aka FEIN), one must fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally, complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant to help you with the process.
Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999
Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free
Recommended: This hassle will be reduced when you hire an LLC formation service. They take care of obtaining EIN and all other things for your LLC. We recommend using –
ZenBusiness – ($0 + State Fees) Online LLC Setup
Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.
Congratulations, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your Limited Liability Company in Illinois. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to understand and do all the steps properly.
However, if you use ZenBusiness, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option and phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.
After Starting Your Illinois LLC
After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. The most important thing is to separate your business and personal assets. LLCs have limited liability protection that protects your personal assets from business liability. This is called a corporate veil. However, the corporate veil can be lifted or pierced by the court if the LLC is sued. In that case, the owners of the LLC become personally liable for their corporate debts. A few things like appointing a legit registered agent, having enough capital, and filing all the major documents with the state can save the LLCs from being pierced into the corporate veil.
Apart from that, there are a few things you need to take note of,
- Get a company business bank account. Along with a business bank account, get a business credit card, business accounting tools, and other tools to check revenues and business expenses. Get all business accounts to proceed.
- When you get your business credit card, check your business credit score. For any business, the business credit score is much needed.
- File Illinois business permits & licenses. For any formal or informal business structure, it is important to have proper details of business licenses. To run legitimate businesses, one must have proper licenses. Make sure to pay fees for business licenses on time to avoid any discrepancies.
- Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees. There are a number of business insurance companies. With a proper business insurance provider, you can conduct your business with ease in Illinois. There can be various types of business insurance. Choose the one that is suitable for your organization.
- File an Illinois LLC annual report or biennial report
This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings, to make sure your LLC is up-to-date. Along with the filing fees, make sure to pay fees for business licenses to renew them on time.
Cost of Starting an LLC in the State of Illinois
LLCs can be formed by spending a very less price. Apart from the mandatory state filing fees, you don’t have to bear additional service charges if you do it yourself. Following are the fees and taxes LLCs in Illinois must pay to register and run a business in the state. Forming an LLC is no doubt cost-effective compared to other business structures. However, the fees and charges (tax-deductible) that you must pay to the state, such as name reservation fee, name filing fee, LLC filing fee, and Franchise Tax & Sales Tax (If applicable). Here are the main fees and taxes you must pay while forming your limited liability company in Illinois,
|Fees/Tax||Amount to be Paid|
|Name Reservation Fee||$25|
|Articles of Organization Fee||$150|
|LLC Annual Fee||$75|
In Illinois, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 90 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $25.
In Illinois, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $75. Also, the LLC has to pay 6.25% of Sales Tax to the state government. Read our guide on LLC costs in Illinois for more information.
Illinois Foreign LLC
If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in the state of Illinois, then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Illinois Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc., to the Illinois SOS to form your foreign LLC in the state of Illinois. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Illinois Foreign LLC.
Reasons to Start an LLC in Illinois
With the Gross State Product worth $336 Million, Illinois has gained a position in the Top 10 business states by Forbes. LLCs, in general, have a lot of benefits when it comes to business taxes. You, as an LLC, do not have to pay a lot of taxes like corporations. Apart from fewer tax liabilities, LLCs can have a business credit card to separate their personal and professional expenses. Other than the LLC filing fee paid to the state government agency, not much of the expenditure is involved in starting an LLC in the state of Illinois. Besides, with LLCs, you will enjoy personal asset protection, limited liability protection, and personal liability protection. With the feature of limited liability protection, startups get interested in starting an LLC.
Single-member LLCs are similar to sole proprietorships. Hence, single-member LLCs will have similar benefits as sole proprietorships in Illinois. In fact, these LLCs are taxed as sole proprietorships by default. On the other side, a multi-member LLC is similar to a traditional corporation, but it is less complicated. As you know, you can reduce personal liability with your limited liability company, it will also reduce the amount of business taxes. Business owners find it lucrative to start a business in Illinois as it offers potential customers.
In Illinois, the LLC start-up costs are much lesser than in other prominent states. There are incentives and business funding options by the government given to businesses such as any woman-owned business and all. These incentives help LLCs to cover annual costs and other costs to run a successful business. Some of the benefits are given below,
Reporting is made biennial by the government
Reporting any business by the government takes a considerably high time. It nearly disturbs the whole working set-up of a company, but if you have LLC located in Illinois, you don’t have to care about it much. Here the government has set the reporting of an LLC twice a year which makes it easy for the member, and above that, the fees are only around $32 if a person is filing the report online.
Continuous decreasing rates of Income-tax
In Illinois, the tax is only required to pay by the LLC members on their personal profits. This rate of personal income tax is meager, i.e., 3.23%. It means that the LLC profits don’t matter if your profit is 100,000 USD or 10,000,000, then the tax one member has to pay will be the same for all levels of people. Read more on Illinois’ classification of LLC Tax.
Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit
The Hoosier Business Investment is an incentive-based program that is provided to the LLCs, mainly the start-ups. The main motive of this Tax credit is to provide some investment to the start-ups and support the task of job creation of the states through these LLCs. This will improve the financial status of the state and also the standard of living.
No sales taxes are applied
Many states impose sales taxes on their LLCs, like taking nickel and dime from members’ pockets. But in Illinois LLC, these taxes are not imposed on them, which means that they only have to pay the basic sales tax, which leaves them with plenty of money for hiring and research, and development.
Leading Businesses in Illinois
Are you looking to start an LLC in the state of Illinois? If yes, then you have to think of a good and profitable business idea. If you cannot figure out the best flourishing industry in Illinois, here is the best business.
The export business is thriving very well in Illinois state due to the state’s favorable rules and regulations. That is why more companies have started entering the field of exporting business. The state’s primary export product is machinery, chemical, and equipment used in transportation and agricultural processing.
The state has exported a material of 53,000 million dollars which shows the golden opportunity offered by this niche. So, don’t waste any time further and decide the product you want to export to the state.
Illinois is known worldwide, second in manufacturing food products and first in the construction business. The state has the most significant portion of countries manufacturing share of construction machinery, making the manufacturing business a fair choice. Chemicals used in the pharmaceutical industry are also made on a larger scale in the country.
Rocks found in Illinois State are known for being the best source of coal, minerals, and petroleum. According to the census, more than 8 billion tonnes of coal are produced in the state. Also, the amount of petroleum gained from this mining is around 4 billion barrels. These businesses are more than enough for a person to make up their mind regarding starting a mining business.
The state is a hose of 1500 different fertile soil types, which can help you grow any simple ornamental crop. If a person is interested in agriculture, they can also enter the business field and start farming-related businesses.
For a small investment business, here are some options.
- Restaurant and food business
- Departmental stores·
- Digital marketing services
Illinois LLC Formation Review
Time needed: 5 minutes
Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Illinois. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.
- Name your Illinois LLC
The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
- Choose a Registered Agent
In Illinois, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
- File a Formation Certificate
Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming a limited liability company in Illinois. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
- Create an Operating Agreement
An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Illinois but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
- Get an EIN
The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity like a social security number but for a company.
Things to Consider While You Start an LLC in the State of Illinois
In this article, basic steps are explained in brief about the LLC formation process in the state of Illinois. However, there are a few basic things that one has to keep in mind while starting a business in Illinois. There are many professional services available that help you to form your LLC for free. You must know that it might be less costly, but not absolutely free.
As soon as your LLC is formed, you must consider a handful of things, such as deadlines. For example, upcoming filing deadlines, deadlines for tax filing, other government filings, and so on. You must be updated with the filings, especially government filings, to avoid late filings fees. If you are to file amendments, then you can hire professionals for amendment filings, as many professionals provide amendment filing services along with tax filing and such. You must get business tax accounts to pay business taxes for LLC. There is no direct income tax on LLC’s business income. However, there are other taxes to be paid.
To form an LLC, along with filing fees, you must pay federal income taxes and some other business taxes. So, it is definitely not absolutely free. As you are about to start your LLC, you must have a business plan. Your business plan should have all requirements so that you can be prepared for all types of business challenges. As soon as you have a solid business plan, you can move further to bank applications for funding, etc.
In Illinois, women entrepreneurs or first-time entrepreneurs can enjoy more tax benefits than others. LLC is a simple business structure to start with. If you’re a new entrepreneur, it is more profitable for you to start an LLC than a traditional corporation. As soon as the LLC is set up, your company must be up-to-date with coverage for employees if you hire employees. On the other hand, file employment taxes for your professional employees.
In Illinois, there is no mandatory rule to submit an operating agreement. It was mentioned above. However, it is useful to have this operating document along with formation documents. You can read the operating agreement guide to know more about its importance. Professional formation service providers help you with the operating agreement templates. Operating agreements have the name and share of the manager, the authority of manager, and also the names and shares of initial managers.
To form an LLC, you can apply online/by mail. The online application takes less time than filing by mail or any other way. The entire process takes a day or two. With the LLC formation service providers and their excellent customer care service, it is even easier to start your LLC.
Finally, hiring a business accountant would be helpful for several business checking. With some professional services, you may get an accountant in their business kit. Their kit includes other services like business name choice and availability, business address for RA service, business license report service, and other business level services. If you hire a professional to establish your LLC Illinois, you can get your company domain as well. Check desired domain name availability by using their domain name search tool.
If you are a resident of Illinois, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.
Apart from the formation fee of $150 (domestic LLC) and $150 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Illinois include $75 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 6.25% every year
It takes 10 business days to get an Illinois LLC if you file it online or via mail. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend TailorBrands, which has an impeccable turnaround time.
Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $75 to the Illinois Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.
Generally, for LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Illinois Classification of LLC Tax.
How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Illinois
You can get the application processed within 7-10 business days if filing online. However, in case of filing via mail, it usually takes 10-15 business days.
Fortunately, Illinois has streamlined its process for LLC formation, making it relatively quick and straightforward. To begin, prospective business owners need to file the necessary paperwork with the Illinois Secretary of State, which can be done online or by mail. This essential step helps formalize the legal existence of the business, protects personal assets, and confers the benefits of an LLC.
The timeline for forming an LLC varies depending on several factors. However, generally speaking, the process can be completed within a reasonable timeframe, enabling eager entrepreneurs to promptly establish and conduct their operations. Some key elements can influence the speed at which an LLC is formed, including adhering to proper protocols and completing the required documentation accurately.
One crucial aspect that can impact the speed of forming an LLC is the completeness of the paperwork. Providing all the required information without errors or omissions is vital to avoid unnecessary delays or resubmissions. Thoroughly reviewing the documents before submission is thus highly recommended to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with Illinois regulations.
Apart from paperwork, the overall timeline for LLC formation is also dependent on the chosen filing method. Online filing tends to be quicker, allowing entrepreneurs to conveniently submit the necessary documentation electronically. This method is often preferable for those seeking efficiency and speed. Conversely, filing via mail may take longer due to processing times and potential postal delays.
Additionally, there are expedited services available for those in need of a faster LLC formation process. Choosing these options may entail an additional fee, but it can significantly speed up the formation timeline. However, it remains crucial to carefully weigh the pros and cons of such expedited services and ensure they align with the specific needs and constraints of the business.
Moreover, it is important to consider that formation timeframes may also be subject to external factors beyond an individual’s control. During times of high demand or increased government processing times, the overall duration might be extended. Therefore, aspiring entrepreneurs should be prepared for some variability in formation duration, keeping realistic expectations and flexibility in mind.
So, how fast can I form an LLC in Illinois? The answer primarily depends on one’s efficiency in completing the required paperwork accurately, the chosen filing method, and other external factors that could impact timelines. While the process has been streamlined to enable prompt formation, aspiring entrepreneurs must exercise patience and diligence throughout.
Now equipped with a brief overview of the LLC formation process in Illinois, entrepreneurs can make an informed decision about which business structure to pursue and familiarize themselves with the necessary steps toward that goal. In the dynamic world of business, time is of the essence, but thorough preparation and attention to detail should never be compromised. As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race” — and forming an LLC in Illinois is a prime example of how properly managing the process ultimately yields long-term benefits for an aspiring business owner.
LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups, can easily start an LLC located in Illinois at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.