How To Start An LLC In Illinois In 2023

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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Illinois can be a great option for entrepreneurs looking to establish a new business. The benefits of forming an LLC include protecting personal assets, gaining tax flexibility, and creating a professional image.

In Illinois, the process of setting up an LLC involves several steps, such as choosing a suitable business name, appointing a registered agent, and filing the necessary paperwork with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Before diving into the process, it’s essential to understand Illinois state requirements for LLC formation. This includes ensuring that the chosen business name is unique and adheres to specific guidelines related to the use of certain words.

Furthermore, appointing a registered agent with a physical address in Illinois is mandatory for maintaining compliance with legal and tax obligations.

Once the foundational steps are completed, aspiring business owners must file the Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. This document outlines crucial information about the LLC, such as its name, registered agent, and purpose. After submitting the Articles of Organization, a public record is established, and the LLC becomes officially recognized.

Choosing a Name

Name Availability

Before registering an LLC in Illinois, you must ensure that the desired business name for your LLC is available. Names must be unique and not already in use by another LLC or corporation in the state. To check if the name is available, you can search the Illinois Secretary of State’s website.

Naming Requirements

An important aspect of forming an LLC in Illinois is adhering to the state’s naming requirements. Your chosen business name must include “Limited Liability Company” or an abbreviation, such as “LLC” or “L.L.C.” The name should not feature terms like “Corporation,” “Corp.,” “Incorporated,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” “Co.,” “Limited Partnership,” or “L.P.”

Distinguishable Names

Be sure to choose a business name that is distinguishable from other existing businesses in Illinois. Some tips for a unique business name include:

  • Using a distinct combination of words and phrases
  • Steering clear of easily confused words or phonetic similarities
  • Employing unique, industry-specific terms that help set your business apart

Name Reservation

If you have a business name in mind but are not yet ready to form your LLC, consider reserving the name through an application with the Illinois Secretary of State. This will provide extra time to prepare other requirements for your LLC formation while securing your desired name.

By focusing on name availability, complying with Illinois naming requirements, choosing a distinguishable name, and considering name reservation, you can confidently move forward in the process of forming your LLC in Illinois.

Creating Articles of Organization

The first step in starting an LLC in Illinois is filing Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. The main document needed for this process is Form LLC-5.5.

Fees and Payment Options

When submitting the Articles of Organization, you are required to pay a filing fee. The standard fee for creating an LLC in Illinois is $150. The Department of Business Services accepts several payment methods, including credit cards and checks.

It’s important to note that there may be additional fees for specific services, such as reserving a business name or requesting expedited processing. Ensure you’re aware of all relevant costs before submitting your application.

Form LLC-5.5

Form LLC-5.5, also known as the Illinois Limited Liability Company Act Articles of Organization, must be completed and submitted in duplicate. The form includes essential information about your LLC, such as:

  • The company name, which must include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.”
  • The purpose of your LLC
  • The registered agent’s name and address
  • The names and addresses of all organizers

Submitting Form LLC-5.5 correctly and with the required fees will streamline the LLC creation process. Once the Department of Business Services approves your application, your LLC will be officially recognized in the state of Illinois.

Remember to comply with all state regulations and keep your company information up-to-date. While starting an LLC in Illinois may seem daunting, following these guidelines and focusing on the details will help ensure a smooth process.

Selecting a Registered Agent


When starting an LLC in Illinois, one important step is selecting a registered agent. This individual or entity serves as the official point of contact for legal and tax matters. A confident and knowledgeable registered agent is crucial for ensuring compliance with state requirements and handling sensitive documents, such as tax forms and notices from the Illinois Department of Revenue.

An Illinois registered agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of Illinois or a corporation authorized to transact business in the state
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Maintain a physical address within the state (P.O. boxes are not acceptable)
  • Be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents and tax notices on behalf of the LLC

It’s important to choose a registered agent who is dependable and organized, as some responsibilities might include keeping track of filing deadlines and responding to legal correspondence promptly.

Registered Office

In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, a registered agent in Illinois must also maintain a registered office. As opposed to a business or mailing address, the registered office serves as the official location where the registered agent can receive legal documents and tax notices.

The registered office must be a physical street address within the state of Illinois and cannot be a post office box. This address will be publicly available since it’s included in the LLC’s documentation filed with the state.

When selecting a registered agent, it’s essential to consider the proximity and accessibility of their registered office. A centrally located registered office within close proximity to the LLC’s primary place of business can offer convenience and security, ensuring efficient handling of essential communications.

In summary, selecting a registered agent is a key step in setting up an LLC in Illinois. It’s crucial to choose someone who is confident, knowledgeable, and meets the state’s requirements. Additionally, pay close attention to the location of the registered office for optimum convenience and efficient communication.

Drafting an Operating Agreement

When starting an LLC in Illinois, one essential step is drafting an operating agreement. An operating agreement is a legal document that outlines the ownership and member duties of your LLC. This document helps establish a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each member and provides a solid foundation for the business.

Types of Management

There are two main management structures for an LLC: member-managed and manager-managed. Let’s briefly discuss the differences between these two types of management.

Member-managed: In a member-managed LLC, all members are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. Each member has an equal say in making decisions, and their voting power typically corresponds to their ownership percentage. This structure is well-suited for smaller LLCs with a limited number of members who prefer a hands-on approach in managing their business.

Manager-managed: In a manager-managed LLC, members appoint one or more managers to handle the daily operations of the business. These managers can be either members of the LLC or external professionals. Members in a manager-managed LLC take a more passive role, providing input when needed but generally entrusting the decision-making process to the designated manager(s). This structure is ideal for LLCs with a high number of members or those seeking to attract external investors.

When drafting an operating agreement, it’s crucial to clearly define the management structure of your Illinois LLC. Be sure to outline the roles and responsibilities of each member, as well as any appointed managers. Additionally, provisions for decision-making processes, profit and loss sharing, and member withdrawal or admission should be included in a comprehensive operating agreement.

By creating a detailed operating agreement that addresses the needs of all members, your LLC can establish a strong foundation for future success. This foundation will help ensure that all participants are on the same page and contribute to a more harmonious and efficient business operation.

Obtaining an Employer Identification Number

Why It’s Important

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a crucial component for starting your LLC in Illinois. It serves as a unique identifier for your business and allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to track your company’s tax obligations and filings. Obtaining an EIN is mandatory for most LLCs, as it helps with:

  • Filing federal and state tax returns
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Hiring employees and dealing with payroll taxes
  • Applying for business licenses and permits

How to Apply

There are multiple ways to apply for an EIN: online, by mail, or by phone. The most efficient method is to apply online.

Online Application: The IRS provides a free online EIN application for companies with a principal office in the United States or a U.S. Territory. The person applying must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). Keep in mind that there is a limit of one EIN per responsible party per day.

Follow these steps to apply online:

  1. Verify your eligibility – Ensure that your business is located within the U.S. or its Territories.
  2. Review the guidelines – Before starting the application, you’ll need a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (e.g., SSN, ITIN, or another EIN).
  3. Complete the online form – Provide information about your company, its structure, and business activities.
  4. Submit and receive your EIN – After completing the online form, you’ll receive your EIN instantly.

By mail or phone: If you prefer to apply by mail, you can complete IRS Form SS-4 and send it to the IRS. Alternatively, you can call the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933 to apply by phone. Make sure to have a blank copy of the form in front of you during the call.

In summary, obtaining an EIN is essential for LLCs in Illinois. Applying online is the most efficient method, and businesses can also opt for mail or phone applications. Once you have your EIN, your company is one step closer to operating legally and meeting its tax responsibilities.

Registering with the Illinois Department of Revenue

When starting an LLC in Illinois, one of the first steps is to register with the Illinois Department of Revenue. This registration is essential for obtaining licenses and tax identification numbers necessary for your business operations.

To begin, you’ll need to complete Form REG-1, the Illinois Business Registration Application. This form can be easily accessed and filled online through the MyTax Illinois website or acquired by calling the Department of Revenue at 1-800-356-6302. Alternatively, you can also visit one of their offices for assistance.

During the registration process, you’ll be asked to provide essential information about your business or organization, such as the business name, address, and contact information. Moreover, you will also need to submit your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), which can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), if you don’t already have one. FEIN is crucial for tax purposes and the overall identification of your business.

Once you’ve successfully registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue, you’ll be assigned a tax identification number and issued any necessary licenses or permits relevant to your business. For example, some businesses may require a sales tax license or a special permit to operate in a regulated industry. Make sure to acquire relevant licenses before commencing your business activities.

By registering your LLC with the Illinois Department of Revenue and obtaining all necessary licenses, you are ensuring your business operates in compliance with state regulations and tax requirements. This process helps lay a strong foundation for your LLC, allowing you to focus on its growth and success.

Annual Reporting Requirements

First Annual Report

When starting an LLC in Illinois, it’s important to be aware of the annual reporting requirements set by the Illinois Secretary of State. The first Annual Report must be filed within the anniversary month of the LLC’s formation.

This means if your LLC was formed in July, the first Annual Report should be submitted by the end of July in the following year. Staying compliant with this timeline not only keeps your business in good standing but also helps to maintain your LLC’s legal and financial protection.

Subsequent Annual Reports

For subsequent years, Annual Reports must be filed each year within the anniversary month of your LLC’s formation. Consistency in filing these reports is crucial, as failure to adhere to the deadlines might result in penalties or, in some cases, dissolution of your LLC.

To submit your Annual Reports, you can either file electronically with the Illinois Secretary of State or via mail. It is important to include the relevant information about your LLC, such as the names and addresses of members and managers, changes in business activities, as well as other pertinent updates.

Filing Fees

The filing fee associated with an Annual Report for an LLC in Illinois is currently $75. This fee is payable to the Illinois Secretary of State when submitting your report and can be paid either online using a credit card or through a check accompanying the mailed Annual Report.

It is worth noting that fees may change periodically, so it’s always a good idea to verify the current fee structure before submission.

Keeping up with the Annual Reporting Requirements is essential for maintaining your Illinois LLC’s good standing and ensuring the ongoing success and compliance of your business. By staying informed about deadlines, filing fees, and report content, you can confidently and effectively manage your LLC’s annual reporting obligations.

Taxes and Fees

Personal Property Replacement Tax

In Illinois, the Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) applies to LLCs. The PPRT is a tax that replaces the personal property taxes that corporations previously paid on their income-earning property, such as machinery and equipment.

The tax rate for LLCs is 1.5% of their net income, which is paid to the Illinois Department of Revenue. This tax is in addition to the typical state and federal income taxes. It is essential to calculate and plan for these expenses when budgeting for your LLC’s financial obligations.

Sales and Use Taxes

Sales and use taxes apply to businesses operating within Illinois and selling tangible personal property. As an LLC operating in Illinois, you will need to be familiar with the statewide sales tax rate, currently at 6.25%.

Additionally, local jurisdictions may impose their own sales taxes, pushing the combined rate even higher in some areas. It is important to check your specific location’s tax rates to ensure you are charging and remitting the correct amount. Registering with the Illinois Department of Revenue is required to collect and remit these taxes.

Self-Employment Taxes

Members of an Illinois LLC may be subject to self-employment taxes, which cover Social Security and Medicare contributions. These taxes apply if you are actively involved in the management and operation of your business.

The current self-employment tax rate is 15.3%, with 12.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare. The Social Security portion is capped once you reach a specified income threshold, while the Medicare portion has no income limit.

As an LLC owner, you should also be aware of estimated tax payments. Since taxes are not withheld automatically from your income, you will need to make quarterly payments to the IRS and the state. These payments are based on your expected self-employment income and help minimize your financial burden at tax time.

By understanding and properly managing your Illinois LLC’s taxes and fees, you can ensure compliance and smooth operations. Remember to consider all applicable taxes, such as the Personal Property Replacement Tax, Sales and Use Taxes, and Self-Employment Taxes, when planning and budgeting for your business.

Forming a Professional LLC

Professional Certification

When forming a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) in Illinois, professional certification is necessary for each member who will be a part of the company. These professionals must have an active state license related to their specific field or profession.

The certification process ensures that only licensed and qualified professionals are part of a PLLC, thus maintaining a high standard of practice within the company.

Illinois law requires professional certifications for specific types of companies, such as those offering medical, accounting, or architectural services. It is crucial to check the state’s licensing requirements for the particular profession involved in the PLLC and ensure that all members meet these requirements before moving forward with the formation process.

Form PLLC-5.5

When forming a PLLC in Illinois, it is necessary to file the Form PLLC-5.5 – Application for Admission to Transact Business as a Professional Limited Liability Company. This form is essential as it provides the Illinois Secretary of State with detailed information about the company, its members, and their respective professional certifications.

Filing Form PLLC-5.5 includes providing information about:

  • The name of the PLLC
  • The principal address of the company
  • Specific purpose of the PLLC (e.g., legal services, medical practice)
  • Name, address, and professional license details of each member
  • Designation of a registered agent for the PLLC

Once the required information has been submitted through Form PLLC-5.5 and the applicable filing fees are paid, the Illinois Secretary of State will review the application. If approved, the PLLC will be registered and allowed to conduct business in the state.

By following these steps and meeting the specific requirements of professional certification and Form PLLC-5.5, individuals can successfully form a Professional Limited Liability Company in Illinois. It is essential to ensure that all members have valid professional certifications and that the PLLC is operating within the scope of its designated purpose to maintain compliance with Illinois business regulations.

Foreign LLC Registration

Foreign LLCs looking to conduct business in Illinois must go through the process of registering with the state. This process involves two main steps: filing the Form LLC-1.15 and obtaining a Certificate of Good Standing from the LLC’s home state.

Form LLC-1.15

The Form LLC-1.15, also known as the Application for Admission to Transact Business, is a necessary document that foreign LLCs must submit to the Illinois Secretary of State. This form requires the following information:

  • Name of the foreign LLC
  • Home state or jurisdiction of the LLC
  • Date of organization in the home state
  • Registered agent information in Illinois
  • Principal office address

To file the Form LLC-1.15, foreign LLCs must pay a filing fee. Additional requirements may apply depending on the specific business activities of the foreign LLC in Illinois. For more information and to access the form, visit the Illinois Secretary of State website.

Certificate of Good Standing

In addition to filing the Form LLC-1.15, foreign LLCs must obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from their home state or jurisdiction. This certificate serves as proof that the LLC is authorized and in good standing in its home state. The certificate should be dated within 60 days of the filing of the Application for Admission to Transact Business in Illinois.

The process to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing varies depending on the jurisdiction where the LLC is originally registered. Typically, it involves submitting a request to the Secretary of State or the respective government agency responsible for business registrations in the home state.

Once both the Form LLC-1.15 and the Certificate of Good Standing are submitted and approved, the foreign LLC is authorized to conduct business in Illinois. It is essential for foreign LLCs to stay compliant with all state requirements, including annual report filings and maintaining a registered agent in Illinois.

Additional Considerations

When starting an LLC in Illinois, there are several additional factors to consider. This section will cover Business Licenses and Permits, Series LLCs, and Assumed Business Names.

Business Licenses and Permits

Before you begin operating your LLC, make sure to obtain any necessary business licenses and permits from the appropriate authorities. Licensing requirements may vary depending on the type of business you’re running and the location of your company. In some instances, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation might regulate your business activity, requiring specific professional licenses.

Moreover, consider checking with local county or city governments to learn about their specific requirements. Obtaining the proper licenses and permits will not only ensure your LLC operates in compliance with state and local regulations but also prevent potential fines and penalties.

Series LLCs

Illinois allows the creation of Series LLCs, which enable a single LLC to have separate divisions that each function as individual entities. This structure provides an additional layer of liability protection between the different series, limiting financial and legal risks.

To create a Series LLC, you will need to include specific provisions for this structure in your operating agreement. Additionally, each series should have its own separate books and records, bank accounts, and assets to maintain the legal separation. Finally, you must file a certificate of designation with the Illinois Secretary of State for each series you create.

Assumed Business Names

An LLC may choose to operate under a name different from its legal entity name by registering an assumed business name, also known as a “doing business as” (DBA) name. In Illinois, an assumed business name must be distinguishable from other registered names in the state.

To register an assumed business name, you will need to file a form with the Illinois Secretary of State, along with a nominal fee, and obtain a certificate of registration.

Note that operating under an assumed business name does not offer legal protection or change the LLC’s liability. The primary purpose of an assumed business name is to allow your company to conduct business under a different name.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to establish an LLC in Illinois?

The cost of establishing an LLC in Illinois generally includes a filing fee of $150 for online submission, or $100 for a paper submission, plus an additional fee of $100 for expedited processing if desired. Keep in mind, these fees are subject to change, and other costs may arise depending on your specific business needs.

What are the filing requirements for an LLC in Illinois?

To form an LLC in Illinois, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. Ensure your chosen business name includes “Limited Liability Company,” “L.L.C.,” or “LLC” and is not currently in use by another company in the state. Additionally, you will need to designate a registered agent with a physical address in Illinois for your LLC.

How long does it take to register an LLC in Illinois?

The processing time for registering an LLC in Illinois can vary, but typically takes around 10 business days for the standard processing option. If you opt for expedited processing (for an additional fee), the registration process can be completed within 24 to 48 hours.

What are the steps to start a single-member LLC in Illinois?

  1. Choose a unique business name that follows Illinois naming requirements.
  2. File Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State, including your business name, principal office address, registered agent information, and the purpose of your LLC.
  3. Register with the Illinois Department of Revenue if your business will be conducting activities or transactions with Illinois customers.
  4. Obtain any required licenses or permits specific to your industry.
  5. Create an operating agreement to outline your LLC’s governance and management structure.

Do I need a registered agent for my LLC in Illinois?

Yes, having a registered agent is a requirement for establishing an LLC in Illinois. The registered agent must have a physical street address within the state and be available during business hours to receive official correspondence on behalf of the LLC.

What is the process for filing an annual report for an Illinois LLC?

All Illinois LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Secretary of State each year. The report should include updated information about your LLC, such as its business address, registered agent, and members or managers. The filing fee for an annual report in Illinois is currently $75. To avoid penalties, make sure to submit your report by the due date, which is the first day of the month in which your LLC was originally formed.

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