Illinois LLC

How to Form an LLC in Illinois

Quick Start Guide ← you are here
This Quick Start Guide is a brief overview of how to form an LLC in Illinois.

Detailed Lessons:

 

Illinois LLC Costs:
Illinois state fee: $150 (by mail), $250 (online filing)
Annual Report fee: $75 (by mail), $125 (online filing)

Need to save time?
Hire a professional to form your LLC in Illinois:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

Note: Illinois LLC fees were greatly reduced on December 20th, 2017. Our Illinois LLC course is up-to-date and reflects all changes. If you see higher state fees on another website, that information is outdated. For details on all new fees, please see our full article: Illinois LLC filing fees reduced


How to Form an LLC in IllinoisAn Illinois LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a legal entity/business structure created in order to protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. If your business is sued, your personal assets (such as your bank accounts, homes, and vehicles) are protected.

An Illinois LLC can be formed to run and operate a business, or an LLC can be used to purchase assets, such as real estate, aircraft, boats, and vehicles.

To form your own Illinois LLC, you can either follow the steps in our Quick Start Guide below, or you can go through the detailed lessons above.

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your Illinois LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

1. Illinois LLC Name

• The first step to forming your own Illinois LLC is making sure your desired name is available and unique.

• Under Illinois law (805 ILCS 180/1-10), your LLC’s name must be “distinguishable upon the record”. This means it must be unique when compared to the existing companies registered in Illinois.

Search your Illinois LLC name here: https://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/

Designator: your LLC name must end with a proper designator. Illinois law allows the following designators:

– “LLC” (most common)
– “L.L.C.”
– “Limited Liability Company”

2. Illinois Registered Agent

• By Illinois law (805 ILCS 180/1-35), all LLCs are required to designate a Registered Agent in their LLC filing forms, the Articles of Organization.

• A Registered Agent (either a person or company) receives documents, notices and legal mail (called Service of Process) on behalf of your LLC.

• Your Registered Agent must have a street address in Illinois (PO boxes are not allowed). Also, if the Registered Agent is a person, then he/she must be a resident of Illinois. To remain in compliance with the state, your LLC must continually maintain a Registered Agent, and the Registered Agent should be available during normal business hours

Who is qualified to be your Registered Agent in Illinois?

The following can be your LLC’s Registered Agent:

– You
– A friend or family member
– A Commercial Registered Agent

Commercial Registered Agent in Illinois: If you don’t have an address in Illinois, or prefer not to use a friend or family member’s address, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). Northwest has been in the business for over 20 years and they have great customer support. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.

3. Articles of Organization

Illinois LLC form: Articles of Organization (Form LLC-5.5):
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/llc55.pdf

Illinois LLC filing fee: $150 (by mail), $250 (online filing). If filing by mail, the state does not accept personal checks. You must use a money order or certified check made payable to the “Illinois Secretary of State”. If filing online, you can make payment with a debit or credit card.

Illinois LLC approval times: 15 business days (by mail) or 1-2 business days (online filing).

Which filing method to choose: If you are not in a hurry and want to save money, then file your Articles of Organization by mail. If you want a faster processing time and are willing to spend extra, then file online.

Mailing address:

Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S 2nd Street, Room 351
Springfield, IL 62756

Important: if filing by mail, you must send 2 copies of the Articles of Organization.

Online LLC filing: https://www.ilsos.gov/llcarticles/index.jsp

What you get back: a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization and a Welcome Letter. Your Welcome Letter includes your LLC’s Entity File Number, a unique identifier used by the Illinois Secretary of State. If you file by mail, these documents are returned by mail. If you file online, these documents are returned by email.

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your Illinois LLC:
Northwest ($39 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee)

4. LLC Operating Agreement

• An Operating Agreement contains the rules between the members of the LLC. This includes but is not limited to the rights and duties of each member, how profits/losses are divided, and how taxes are paid.

• The Operating Agreement is where you will list all the members (owners) of your LLC and how much of the LLC they each own. Even if you own the LLC by yourself (a “Single-member LLC”), it is highly recommended that you keep an Operating Agreement.

• The Operating Agreement does not need to be sent to the Illinois Secretary of State or to any other state agency. Just store a copy with the rest of your LLC’s business records.

• In the event you were to end up in court, having an Operating Agreement shows that you’re operating your business properly. This helps keep your personal assets safe and protected.

Free Operating Agreement for your Illinois LLC. Choose your preferred file type (they’re all the same agreement): PDF | Google Doc | Microsoft Word

5. Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)

• A Federal Tax ID Number is also known as an Employer Identification Number, or EIN for short. Other names (which all mean the same thing) are FEIN, Federal Tax Number, and Federal Employer Number.

After your LLC is approved, you should then apply for an EIN from the IRS. Do not apply for your EIN until you receive approval from the Illinois Secretary of State.

• The EIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to various business. It’s used to identify your company, similar to a social security number for an individual person. It’s used to file taxes and handle payroll for employees, if applicable.

• EINs are also needed to open an LLC business checking account.

An EIN is $0: That’s correct. EINs are provided free from the IRS.

How to get an EIN: There are 3 ways to get an EIN for your LLC.
– by mail (approval takes 4 weeks)
– by fax (approval take 4 business days)
– or online application (approval is instant at the end of the application)

If applying by mail or fax: use Form SS-4. The mailing address is Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999, and the fax number is 855-641-6935.

Online application: the online EIN application is the most common (and fastest) method, but this can only be used if the “responsible party” has a social security number, and as long as the LLC is owned by individuals, and not another company (see below).

• No SSN/non-US citizens and non-US residents: You can still obtain an EIN from the IRS if you are a non-US citizen, non-US resident, or you don’t have a social security number. You just can’t get the EIN using the online application. You’ll instead need to mail or fax Form SS-4 to the IRS and where it asks for your SSN (line 7b), write “Foreign” instead.

LLC owned by another company: If your LLC is owned by another LLC (or another company), you also cannot get an EIN online. If you try, it’ll return an error message at the end. You’ll need to file Form SS-4 by fax or by mail.

6. Illinois LLC Annual Report

• Every LLC in Illinois is required to file an Annual Report every year. It is due before the first day of the LLC’s anniversary month, starting in the year after formation.

For example:
• If your Illinois LLC was formed on November 15th 2018, then your first Annual Report is due before November 1st 2019.
• If your Illinois LLC was formed on January 20th 2019, then your first Annual Report is due before January 1st 2020.

Illinois Annual Report Fee: $75 (if filed by mail), $125 (if filed online).

File Annual Report by Mail. Download Form LLC-50.1:
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/llc501.pdf

Mailing Address:

Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S 2nd Street, Room 351
Springfield, IL 62756

Important: If you want a copy of your filed report, send 2 copies of the completed Annual Report along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope.

File Annual Report online: https://www.ilsos.gov/llcarpt/. A receipt and copy of your Annual Report will be emailed to you after submission.

Penalty if late/not filed: there is a $300 penalty if you are 60 days late. If you are more than 180 days late, the state will administratively dissolve your LLC.

Reminders: Reminders are mailed to your LLC’s Registered Agent about 45 days before the due date.

7. Business Licenses and/or Permits

• Your Illinois LLC may need business licenses and/or permits, depending on the location of the business and the kind of industry it is engaged in. To find out the licenses and/or permits your LLC will need, you can contact the government agency that regulates your business’s industry, as well as the city, town, or county where it is located.

Need to save time? There are over 20,000 licensing and permit jurisdictions in the United States. If you want to save time, we recommend hiring a professional service company to do the research and prepare the applications for your Illinois LLC. If you’d like a hand, you can use our partner company, LicenseSuite.

They will provide you with a comprehensive package of all the licenses, permits and tax registrations required for your Illinois LLC, as well as the necessary application forms. Your research package and applications will be emailed to you in 2-4 business days.

8. Taxes

Federal taxes: As your Illinois LLC enjoys “pass through taxation”, all of its profits/losses will be listed on a Schedule C and filed along with your personal income tax return (Form 1040) with the IRS.

Illinois State and local taxes: You must register your LLC with the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), as well as with the local tax authorities in the town, city or county where it is located.

Recommendation: we recommend talking with a few accountants in Illinois for help as taxes can be quite complicated. Check out our how to find an accountant guide or you can use Thumbtack.

9. LLC Bank Account

Maintain your liability protection: Form a separate bank checking account for your Illinois LLC to keep your personal and business finances separate.

Items needed to open an account: Bring your approved Articles of Organization, EIN Confirmation from the IRS, and your driver’s license or passport. Banks may also require additional items, so make sure to call them ahead of time.

Benefits: Keeping a separate banking checking account will keep your personal finances from mixing or “commingling” with your business finances. It will also make accounting of your LLC’s assets a whole lot easier.

Know your choices: Call a few banks in Illinois and make comparisons. Some will charge monthly fees to maintain your LLC’s checking accounts, others won’t.

Debit card: You will be issued a debit card for your LLC after the account is approved and opened.

Credit card: If you want to build business credit for your Illinois LLC, we recommend getting one (or a few) credit cards under your LLC’s name. We suggest using www.creditcards.com to find business credit cards. You’ll also be able to get cashback or travel rewards.

10. Business Phone Number

Instead of using your home telephone number or your cell phone, you can purchase an affordable “virtual business number” specifically for your Illinois LLC. You can set this virtual business phone up to forward to your cell phone, go through voice prompts, or configure it any way you’d like.

We recommend using Phone.com as they have the cheapest plans and their customer service is excellent.

They offer local phone numbers as well as 1-800 toll-free numbers. You can easily setup call forwarding, pre-recorded prompts, and get voicemail messages forwarded to your email.

Getting a separate business phone number for your Illinois LLC is also a good idea in order to keep your actual number private from those pesky “public record” websites.

Illinois State Agencies

Illinois Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
217-782-6961 (extension 7736 for the LLC department)
217-782-6875
217-524-8008

Illinois Department of Revenue
217-782-3336
217-524-4772
Monday – Friday, 8am – 4:30pm
Additional contact info is here

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.

21 Comments

  1. John Baisa April 20, 2017

    Hi Matt, myself and a partner need to form an LLC. We plan to get into realestate, we want to flip houses and or may do some wholesaling, but our may goal is to flip houses. I guess my first question is, should be be forming an LLC or as S-Corp or something else, what is the best thing to do fr our situation. We are in Cook Couinty in the CHicago area, can you please advise. My cell# is 708-785-4362, Thank you so much! John

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 22, 2017

      Hey John, you can’t “form” an S-Corp at the state level. An S-Corp is simply a tax election status made with the IRS that “sits on top of” an existing entity, like an LLC or a Corporation. Most real estate investors form LLCs and then once their net income reaches a certain level, speak to an accountant about the pros and cons of having the LLC taxed as an S-Corporation. Hope that helps!

      reply
  2. John Holleman May 26, 2017

    Matt,
    I’m working on forming an LLC and based on info that I got from other sources, doing this in DL, NV or WY seemed like a really good plan. You’re the only source that I found who suggested that this may not be such a good idea. You also provide sufficient info to enable me to form the LLC without your help. However, your web site is so full of info & guidance, it strikes me as really good idea to hire you as I’m concluding that your expertise will smooth out quite a few bumps in the road.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz May 26, 2017

      Hey John, thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you found our information helpful and didn’t form the LLC out of state, since I assume you’re doing business in Illinois. Although we used to, we are not currently offering filing services. We may in the near future though.

      reply
  3. Marla Grogan September 15, 2017

    Hi. Thanks so much for your information. You make it easy to understand how to form a LLC.

    I’m forming a single member LLC, I’m also the registered agent & organizer. Question: when I’m signing as ‘Organizer’, it asks to print my name & title. Do I put a title (i.e., ‘owner’)? Or just print my name alone?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz September 15, 2017

      Hi Marla, you’re very welcome! Thank you for the kind words :) For the ‘Name and Address of Organizer’ section, use your first and last name followed by a comma and the word “Organizer”. Example: John Doe, Organizer. Hope that helps!

      reply
  4. Christian October 17, 2017

    Hi Matt, this is more of an IRS question than Illinois LLC. I’ve changed my business address and I know that I have to use form 8822b. However, I’m not sure if I should fill out the whole thing (sections 5-9) or only my actual business address change (section 7).

    Please take a look here:

    https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f8822b–2014.pdf

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 17, 2017

      Hi Christian, check off the applicable box(es) at the top. Then complete 4a, 4b, 5, and 6. 7 is only used if it’s different than #6. Don’t worry about #8 and 9. Hope that helps!

      reply
  5. Chris November 1, 2017

    Hi Matt.
    Really useful information – thanks.

    Do you have any thoughts on whether an LLC is the correct vehicle for an overseas company looking to hire an employee in Illinois?

    As I understand it, we need a US corporate entity to handle payroll and comply with employment regs, but is an LLC the correct choice?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 1, 2017

      Hey Chris, to be honest, I’m not sure. I’d apply our “knights of the roundtable” strategy and phone a few accountants. Hope that helps and best wishes.

      reply
  6. Jess March 4, 2018

    Hi Matt! First I just want to commend you on this article!! I was researching and finding different sites that weren’t as helpful or useful so I’m very excited I came across this! I just had a quick question.. if I were to apply for my EIN before filing for an LLC would I have to reapply again? Thanks in advance!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 10, 2018

      Hey Jess! Thank you for the kind words. Glad you found us :) We just recommend obtaining your EIN after your LLC is approved in case your LLC name is rejected, then you’re left with an EIN attached to the wrong LLC. If you have any issues though, you can always cancel an EIN by mailing a letter to the IRS. Hope that helps.

      reply
  7. Matthew Capes April 16, 2018

    Hello Matt, I am opening a kayak rental business and would like any feedback you may have. I’ve been told that I should fille an LLC for that type of business. Any help would be great thanks.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 17, 2018

      Hi Matthew, when compared to operating as a Sole Proprietor, forming an LLC will protect your personal assets from business liability. I recommend checking out our Learning Center as many of the articles there will help you understand the big picture. I’d start off with LLC vs Sole Proprietorship. Hope that helps and let us know if you have any specific questions.

      reply
  8. James April 30, 2018

    Hey Matt,

    Very helpful site you’ve built. Thank you for that. I’ve looked in so many places and I can’t seem to find reliable, concrete information regarding a Series LLC.

    Would it be possible to make a guide about setting up one of those in IL? I can’t imagine it being much different than a regular LLC (saw there are Series Articles of Organization on the state website), but how does ownership structure and control prongs work?

    For example: If I own Umbrella LLC as the parent and I create subsequent ABC1 LLC, ABC2 LLC, ABC3 LLC, how does it affect the formation process? Furthermore, what if I bring someone else to run one of the subsidiaries? Could they own AND control it? Or would my Umbrella LLC need ownership?

    Thank you in advance for the help!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz April 30, 2018

      Hey James, thank you! Although the formation may be similar to some extent, the taxes and established case law just aren’t there yet, so we’ll get bombarded with post-formation questions that frankly, will likely be beyond our scope. Also, I don’t feel we’ll provide a ton of value yet since we haven’t fully researched the topic. We don’t write about anything that isn’t fully researched and understood first. Additionally, we have a large list of content items that we need to address in front of this subject. Wish I had some place to refer/recommend, but at this time, I don’t. Thanks for your understanding.

      reply
  9. Anthony May 21, 2018

    If there is an incorrect spelling on the approved LLC for is there a charge to correct it?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz May 22, 2018

      Hi Anthony, what part of the filing had a typo? Thanks.

      reply
      • Anthony May 22, 2018

        The address instead of suite # it says Sterling

        reply
        • Matt Horwitz June 17, 2018

          Hi Anthony, we recommend filing an Articles of Amendment in order to fix that correction. You can also try calling the state, since if it was their error, there is a chance they will correct it without you having to pay the Articles of Amendment filing fee. Hope that helps.

          reply
  10. Kim Barnes July 18, 2018

    Hi Matt. I am a member of a not for profit corporation. French Marines of Fort de Chartres. We were told we should become a LLC to protect our personal assets in the event of a lawsuit.Would this be the llc5.5?

    reply

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