How to Form an Illinois LLC

How to Use this Guide

To form an LLC in Illinois, use the step-by-step guide below or hire a professional service to do it for you:

  • IncFile ($49 + state fee) for basic & quick LLC formation.
  • Rocket Lawyer ($99 + state fee) for LLC formation & optional attorney advice.
  • Harbor Compliance ($399 + state fee) for top-to-bottom LLC formation & compliance.
Amy M. Toepper, Esq.
This Guide is Attorney Approved

Amy Toepper is a licensed Illinois attorney & founder of Legal In A Box.

For a legal advisor on your side, set up a free consultation.

STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC NAME

Choose a Business Name

The most important step, pick a name! Choose a unique name, not too similar to another registered name, and one that does not contain restricted wording (e.g., banque, banc, etc). Remember to include ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘L.L.C.’ in your company name.

Follow these Steps:

  1. Choose a name, and ensure it is available by conducting a Business Entity Search
  2. If concerned about trademark issues, perform a TESS System search to check the U.S. Patent office database.
  3. If needed, request a Reservation of Name Application to reserve your LLC name for 90 days ($300 fee)

STEP 2) CHOOSE A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

When starting an LLC, you are required to designate a registered agent to handle official documents on behalf of your business. They must be a person residing in Illinois or a business entity legally registered with the Illinois Secretary of State and have a physical address (No P.O. boxes!) where legal notifications can be received. They also must be available during regular Monday through Friday business hours.

Follow this step:

  • Designate a registered agent by electing someone within your company, hiring an outside professional, or starting an LLC through a service (such as IncFile) and receiving a qualified Registered Agent free of charge!

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLC

To legally register an LLC in Illinois, Articles of Organization must be filed with the Secretary of State that declares the basics of your business for the public record. Don’t file until you’re ready!

Follow this step:

  • File your Articles of Incorporation online here or download the form here. Payment must be made by certified check, cashier’s check, Illinois attorney’s check, C.P.A.’s check or money order payable to Secretary of State.

Filing Fee: $500 by mail ($100 addt’l expedited); $600 online

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, functions much in the same way as a Social Security Number for individuals. Just as every citizen is required to get a SSN, every business is required to procure an EIN to set up bank accounts, legally hire employees, track business activity, and process taxes.

Follow this step:

  • Register for an EIN at the IRS Website quickly and completely free of charge.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

Setting up your brand’s business account should be the fun part. Banks and credit unions are going above and beyond to attract clients through amazing perks, benefits, and smaller fees. Be sure to shop around and see what’s available. Don’t assume where you personally bank is the best option.

Speaking of which, make sure that your brand’s business accounts are completely separate from any other accounts of any kind. There should be no muddying of the financial waters. Don’t put yourself, your team and the company at risk.

Follow these steps:

  1. Research Small Business Checking Accounts.
  2. Set up your business bank account!

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement outlines ownership and operating procedures, and adds a layer of safety for your company and lays out duties and responsibilities.

While it is not mandatory, or a legal requirement, it “defines each member or manager’s rights, powers, and entitlements. This includes capital accounts, membership interest, distributions of profit and allocated tax responsibility, etc.” We’d argue this should be a requirement, but the state doesn’t care if you fail due to lack of structure.

Follow this step:

STEP 7) HANDLE BUSINESS TAXES & LICENSING

Business Licenses

Unlike setting up a bank account and swimming in perks, this part of the red tape process is where you nail down all the paperwork and fees you’ll need to take care of to get right with the Illinois regulatory environment.

How simple or complex depends on a number of variables like the nature of your business, whether you serve the public, have a physical location, number of employees, etc.

Follow these steps:

  1. Bookmark the Chicago district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Sec. of State’s Business Services They will be go-to sources!
  2. For additional help, consider professional Business License Research packages that quickly source all needed documents for you.

Need Help Forming an LLC?

Use one of these reliable LLC filing services & have all paperwork handled on your behalf. Each service offers a different level of features and pricing but all take care of LLC formation. No matter which you choose, you’ll be in good hands.

IncFile
  • Pricing Starts at
    $49

  • 100,000+ Businesses Formed

  • Perfect for:
    Anyone starting a business on a budget and need quick LLC formation

Read Review
Rocket Lawyer
  • Pricing Starts at
    $99

  • 10,000+ Businesses Formed

  • Perfect for:
    Anyone wanting the choice between basic LLC formation or a suite of online legal services

Read Review
Harbor Compliance
  • Pricing Starts at
    $399

  • 10,000+ Businesses Formed

  • Perfect for:
    Anyone wanting top-to-bottom LLC formation and ongoing compliance

Read Review

Note that this guide on forming an LLC in Illinois isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding Illinois LLC formation or business in general, please consult with a business attorney. We highly recommend Amy Toepper.