Illinois Filing Forms

Last updated on

Deal alert! Our favorite company, Northwest, is forming LLCs for $39 (60% off!) See details.

Illinois LLC
Articles of Organization Instructions

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

Detailed Lessons:

 

Illinois LLC Costs:
Illinois LLC filing fee: $150
Illinois LLC annual report: $75

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

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Note: Illinois LLC fees have been reduced. If you see higher state fees on another website, that information is outdated. For details on the new fees, please see: Illinois LLC filing fees reduced

In this lesson, we will walk you through filing your Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. This is the document that officially forms your Illinois LLC.

Illinois LLC Secretary of State Business Services

(Illinois Secretary of State, Business Services Building)

You can file your Illinois LLC Articles of Organization by mail or online.

If you file by mail: The filing fee is $150 (one-time fee) and your LLC will be approved in 10-15 business days (including a few days for mail time).

If you file online: The filing fees is $150 (one-time fee) and your LLC will be approved in 10-15 business days. If you want your LLC approved quicker, you can pay a $100 expedited fee ($250 total) and your LLC will be approved in 1-2 business days.

Recommendation: We recommend forming your Illinois LLC online as it’s easier to complete and has a slightly faster approval time.

Note: Before forming an LLC in Illinois, make sure you have read the two prior lessons:
Illinois LLC Name Search
Illinois LLC Registered Agent

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

(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)

Instructions for filing Illinois Articles of Organization by Mail

Note: Illinois requires that you send 2 copies of your Articles of Organization. An original signature (in black ink) is required on one copy.

Complete your Articles of Organization

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

1. Name
Enter your LLC name exactly as you would like it, including your preferred capitalization, as well as the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.” (the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common).

You can use a comma in your LLC name or you can leave it out. Ex: “ABC Widgets, LLC” and “ABC Widgets LLC” are both acceptable.

2. Principal Place of Business
Enter your LLC’s place of business address. This must be a street address located in Illinois (PO boxes are not allowed). This address can be a home address, an office address, or the address of your Registered Agent.

3. Effective Date
The Effective Date is the date your LLC officially goes into existence. If you want your LLC to be effective immediately, check off the first box “the filing date”.

If you want your LLC to go into existence at a later date, check off the second box and enter that date (can’t be more than 60 days out).

Tip: If you’re forming your LLC in October, November, or December, and you don’t need your business open during those months, forward date your filing to January 1st. This will save you the hassle of filing taxes for those 1-3 months. For more information, please see LLC effective date.

4. Illinois Registered Agent
Enter the name and address of your LLC’s Registered Agent. Your Registered Agent’s address must be a street address in Illinois (PO boxes are not allowed).

If your Registered Agent is a company, you can just write their name on the line above “First Name, Middle Name, Last Name”.

Note: If your Registered Agent is an individual, they must be a resident of Illinois. If your Registered Agent is a company, they must be authorized to do business in Illinois.

5. Purpose (optional)
You can briefly describe the purpose of your LLC in this section, or you can leave it blank if you prefer. If you leave it blank, you will be using the “general purpose” clause, which states that your Illinois LLC can be used for any and all lawful purposes.

Note: Professional LLCs must list the addresses where they will render their services (if different than the address listed in #2). Also, this lesson is not for Professional LLCs. The information is written for regular LLC formation.

6. Duration of Company
In this section, you need to let the Illinois Secretary of State know about the duration of your LLC (how long it will remain in existence).

If you prefer for your LLC to be “open-ended” (technically referred to as “perpetual”) with no set closure date, leave #6 blank.

If you prefer for your LLC to be automatically shut down on a specific date, then write down that specific date.

Most people form a perpetual LLC, so they leave #6 blank. This gives them the freedom to close their LLC at any time by filing dissolution paperwork.

7. Additional Provisions (optional)
This is where you can list any additional rules and regulations for your LLC (if applicable).

Most filers leave #7 blank.

8. At least one Member
#8 states that the LLC will have at least one LLC Member at the time the LLC goes into existence. There is nothing you need to change or enter here. It’s simply a default statement that you must agree to.

9. Names of Managers and/or Members:
(“Name(s) and business address(es) of the manager(s) and any member with the authority of manager”)

#9 may be confusing at first read, but hopefully we’ll help make things easier to understand.

• If your LLC is Manager-managed, enter the name(s) and address(es) of all the Managers.

• If your LLC is Member-managed, enter the name(s) and address(es) of all the Members.

A Member-managed LLC is where the LLC owners (called Members) run the business and day-to-day operations. All of the LLC Members also have the ability to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements.

A Manager-managed LLC is where the LLC owners (called Members) decide to elect one, or a few designated people (called Managers). These Managers run the business and day-to-day operations and they are the only ones that have the ability to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements.

A Manager can be an “external person” (non-Member) that’s been hired by the Members, or a Manager can be an “internal person” – an existing Member – (where other Members decide not to be Managers and take on a passive/investor role). In a Manager-managed LLC, any LLC Member who chooses not to be a Manager cannot legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements; but rather, only the Managers can.

A lot of information, huh? I know that was a lot to take in. We recommend reading over it a few times, as well as reading out our supporting documentation:
https://www.llcuniversity.com/member-managed-llc-or-manager-managed-llc/
https://www.llcuniversity.com/llc-members-managing-members-and-managers/

Why? If you’re curious about the “why” behind this confusing language, here it is: the state wants a way to disclose to the public who has the authority to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements. This helps in reducing fraudulent behavior when people attempt to act on behalf of an LLC (when they don’t have the actual authority).

Tips:
• Most LLCs are Member-managed and enter the names of all Members (owners of the LLC) in #9.
• If you have a single-member LLC (just one owner), simply list your name and address.
• You don’t have to inform the state whether or not your LLC is Member-managed or Manager-managed. Instead, you’ll make that election in your LLC’s Operating Agreement.

10. LLC Organizers
An LLC Organizer is the person filing the LLC documents with the state. This will most likely be you.

To the right of “Dated”, enter the month, day, and year.

Then sign your name, print your name, and enter your address to the right. You can leave the line above “Name if a Corporation or other Entity…” blank.

Note: only one Organizer is required to sign this form. All of the members do not need to sign here. You will be officially listing all the members of your LLC in the next lesson, Illinois Operating Agreement.

Remember: Illinois requires that you send 2 copies of your Articles of Organization. An original signature (in black ink) is required on one copy.

Mail your Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State

Prepare Payment:
Prepare a money order or certified bank check made payable to the “Illinois Secretary of State”. The state will not accept personal checks, so you must use a money order or certified bank check.

Filing Fee:
$150

Mail Documents:
Send 2 copies of your Articles of Organization along with your filing fee to:

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

Illinois LLC Approval (mail filing):

Wait 10-15 business days for the state to process and approve your Illinois LLC. Once approved, you will receive back a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization and a Welcome Letter (which includes your LLC’s File Number). The documents are returned by mail and sent to the Registered Agent’s address. We recommend keeping a few copies of these forms with your business records.

Instructions for filing Illinois Articles of Organization Online

Access the Online Filing

1. Start here:
https://www.ilsos.gov/llcarticles/index.jsp

2. Select “standard”
Select the first option for “standard” LLCs and click “Continue”.

3. Agree to Provisions
Read over the terms and if you agree, click “Continue”.

4. Name
Enter your LLC name exactly as you would like it, including your preferred capitalization, as well as the designator “LLC” or “L.L.C.” (the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common).

You can use a comma in your LLC name or you can leave it out. Ex: “ABC Widgets, LLC” and “ABC Widgets LLC” are both acceptable.

5. Agree to terms again
Agree to the terms and click “Continue”.

These terms mention that the state may decline your filing if your LLC name is not distinguishable. Please make sure that you’ve searched your desired name in the Illinois LLC Name Lesson.

6. Principal Place of Business
Enter your LLC’s principal place of business. This must be a street address located in Illinois (PO boxes are not allowed). This address can be a home address, an office address, or the address of your Registered Agent.

7. Illinois Registered Agent & Registered Office
Enter the name and address of your LLC’s Registered Agent. Your Registered Agent’s address must be a street address located in Illinois (PO boxes are not allowed).

If your Registered Agent is an individual, they must be a resident of Illinois. If your Registered Agent is a company, they must be authorized to do business in Illinois.

8. Review Address
Review your Registered Agent’s address and click “Address is Correct”.

9. Names of Managers and/or Members:
(“Name(s) and business address(es) of the manager(s) and any member with the authority of manager”)

#9 may be confusing at first read, but hopefully we’ll help make things easier to understand.

• If your LLC is Manager-managed, enter the name(s) and address(es) of all the Managers.

• If your LLC is Member-managed, enter the name(s) and address(es) of all the Members.

A Member-managed LLC is where the LLC owners (called Members) run the business and day-to-day operations. All of the LLC Members also have the ability to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements.

A Manager-managed LLC is where the LLC owners (called Members) decide to elect one, or a few designated people (called Managers). These Managers run the business and day-to-day operations and they are the only ones that have the ability to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements.

A Manager can be an “external person” (non-Member) that’s been hired by the Members, or a Manager can be an “internal person” – an existing Member – (where other Members decide not to be Managers and take on a passive/investor role). In a Manager-managed LLC, any LLC Member who chooses not to be a Manager cannot legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements; but rather, only the Managers can.

A lot of information, huh? I know that was a lot to take in. We recommend reading over it a few times, as well as reading out our supporting documentation:
https://www.llcuniversity.com/member-managed-llc-or-manager-managed-llc/
https://www.llcuniversity.com/llc-members-managing-members-and-managers/

Why? If you’re curious about the “why” behind this confusing language, here it is: the state wants a way to disclose to the public who has the authority to legally bind the LLC into contracts and agreements. This helps in reducing fraudulent behavior when people attempt to act on behalf of an LLC (when they don’t have the actual authority).

Tips:
• Most LLCs are Member-managed and enter the names of all Members (owners of the LLC) in #9.
• If you have a single-member LLC (just one owner), simply list your name and address.
• You don’t have to inform the state whether or not your LLC is Member-managed or Manager-managed. Instead, you’ll make that election in your LLC’s Operating Agreement.
• You cannot remove the example of “Public, John Q”, so just leave it alone and enter the first member/manager on the 2nd line.

10. Signature of LLC Organizer
An LLC Organizer is the person filing the LLC documents with the Illinois Secretary of State. This will most likely be you. If you are organizing your own LLC, you must do so under your full name (and not the name of an existing company). You must also be at least 18 years old.

If that’s the case, enter your full name and address, and then click “Continue”.

Note: Only one Organizer is required to sign this form. All of the members do not need to sign here. You will be officially listing all the members of your LLC in your Illinois Operating Agreement.

11. Review
Review your information for accuracy and check for typos. If you need to make any changes, click the “Edit” links. If everything looks good, click “Continue” at the bottom.

12. Billing Contact Information
Enter the name and address of the person paying (must match credit card info). Then enter your email address and click “Continue”.

13. Review your information and click “Pay Now” at the bottom.

14. Enter your credit card information (debit card may not work, so credit cards are preferred) and your phone number. Then click “Next” to submit your payment.

Congratulations! Your Illinois LLC has been filed for processing! Now you just need to wait for approval.

Illinois LLC Approval (online filing):

If you chose the regular filing option ($150 filing fee), your Illinois LLC will be approved within 10-15 business days.

If you chose the expedited filing option ($250 filing fee), your Illinois LLC will be approved in 1-2 business days.

Once approved, you will receive back a stamped and approved copy of your Articles of Organization, a Welcome Letter (which includes your LLC’s File Number), and a credit card receipt. The documents are sent to you by email. We recommend keeping a few copies of these forms with your business records.

Next Step

Once you file your Illinois Articles of Organization, and it is approved by the state, you can then proceed to the next lesson: Illinois LLC Operating Agreement.

Illinois Secretary of State Contact Info

If you have any questions, you can contact the Illinois Secretary of State at 217-782-6961. Dial extension 7736 for the Limited Liability Department.

If you can’t get through on the above number, just call 217-782-6875 and ask to be transferred to the Limited Liability Department.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, 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! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

21 Comments

  1. Yogesh Bhalerao January 22, 2018

    Hi Matt,

    First, thank you for providing this valuable information free of cost. It has helped me a lot in understanding the LLC formation process. Is it possible for you to email me the Manager-managed Illinois LLC operating agreement?

    Thanks
    Yogesh Bhalerao

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz January 22, 2018

      Hi Yogesh, you’re very welcome! Glad it’s been helpful. We just emailed that over to you.

      reply
  2. Konstantine T Savoy March 21, 2018

    Just wanted to thank you for providing this information. Of the several sites and advice I have been given, your is by far the most complete, straight forward, and easy to follow. The links to forms and State filing are also a huge help, as after many visits to the State site I could not figure out how to file electronically.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 27, 2018

      Konstantine, thank you so much for your awesome comment! We’re so happy to hear we were able to help :)

      reply
  3. Patty March 22, 2018

    What if we only send original Article of organization filled out form with money order?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz March 26, 2018

      If you send your Articles of Organization without payment, it’ll be rejected and returned to you. You can then refile. Hope that helps :)

      reply
    • Patty March 29, 2018

      We send Money order but we filled out Articles of organization and send with original with no copy is that fine.. I read after We send out that orginal and a copy should be sent .

      reply
      • Matt Horwitz March 30, 2018

        Hi Patty, if you already mailed it in, you’ll have to wait and see what the examiner (person who reviews LLC filings) decides. Sometimes they return everything and will ask for the copy; other times they’ll just make the copy for you if they’re feeling generous. So you’ll have to wait and see what gets returned. Hope that helps :)

        reply
        • Patty March 30, 2018

          Okay thanks!

          reply
  4. Mary September 20, 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to clearly explain everything step-by-step. I was somewhat lost but now I’m in the right track to open up my small business. Very much appreciated!!

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz September 26, 2018

      You’re very welcome Mary! So glad to hear :)

      reply
  5. Nancy September 23, 2018

    Hi, thank you for this great information! I just filed online today. The online fee $150 and they’ll review in 10 days. Expedited costs extra and they’ll review in 24 hours. So, you apparently you can file online for $150 plus a 3.53 credit card fee if you’re willing to wait. Thanks again for creating this!😊

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz December 24, 2018

      Hi Nancy! Apologies for our slow reply. We’ve since updated our Illinois LLC lessons to reflect the new fees and approval times. Thank you for your helpful comment! :-)

      reply
  6. Kaveh October 10, 2018

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you very much for the great step by step instruction. It is the best instruction I found anywhere!

    Could you please clarify, if an LLC is a Manager- Managed, two-member LLC, where does the name of the other Member would go? (I am having trouble finding any place on the Article of Organization that would fit the description of the other member!). Wouldn’t it be the Operating Agreement? if so, would it be necessary to determine the percentage of the ownership of each member in the operating agreement?

    Also in this case, who’s name should be listed as organizer? Just the manager -if he is the one who files the Article- or both members?

    Best,

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz October 25, 2018

      Hi Kaveh, you’re very welcome! If your LLC will be Manager-managed, only the name of the Manager(s) would go on the Articles of Organization. Members would not be listed. Also keep in mind that an LLC Organizer doesn’t mean they are an LLC Member. An LLC Organizer is simply the person (or company) filing the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. In your case, the Members would be listed in the Operating Agreement. And yes, the percentage that each Member owns would be listed in your LLC’s Operating Agreement as well. Hope that helps!

      reply
  7. Kaveh November 12, 2018

    Thank you very much Matt for responding to my question.

    Best,
    Kaveh

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz November 23, 2018

      You’re welcome Kaveh!

      reply
  8. Soma February 7, 2019

    Matt,

    Firstly, Thank you for all you and your team has done! I’m starting my home based business with an LLC. Will adding my wife as a member on the LLC add complexity to our taxes or any other issues? Any benefits of adding the wife on board besides being able to also write contracts?

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 18, 2019

      Hi Soma, you’re very welcome! By default, a Single-Member LLC is taxed by the IRS like a Sole Proprietorship. And a Multi-Member LLC is taxed like a Partnership. So adding your wife will require a 1065 Partnership Return & K-1s being issue to you both as owners. Is that “complex”? It’s more complex than a Schedule C 1040 filing (SMLLC), but it’s not that complex. Maybe an accountant will charge a bit more… but likely not more than a few hundred dollars. This is also a good question to run by an attorney, as there are more questions that can be looked at that you may not be considering. Also, your wife doesn’t have to be an LLC Member to bind the LLC. You and your wife could be LLC Managers (in a Manager-managed LLC), but there is just one Member (owner); you. Or, the LLC could just be Member-managed by you (the sole owner) and you give your wife authority to bind the LLC via a Certificate of Incumbency, or another legal document with a similar result. Hope that helps.

      reply
  9. Tchiya Amet February 18, 2019

    Greetings. Thank you for providing this service. I have an LLC, and would like to make changes, as in expand the scope of the LLC. Can this be done or do i have to start over from scratch.Initially was ill-advised to only put the real estate aspect into the LLC. However the actual business needs to be included for obvious reasons. In other words the reason for the real estate is to be able to provide various services. Without going into details. Thank you.

    reply
    • Matt Horwitz February 18, 2019

      Hey Tchiya, you’re very welcome. If you listed the LLC’s purpose in the Articles of Organization, you can file an Amendment (Form LLC-5.25). Please see here: Illinois Secretary of State: LLC Articles of Amendment. You can either add details if you’d like, or you can give your LLC a general statement (see LLC statement of purpose) for any and all lawful activities. Hope that helps.

      reply

Leave a comment or question

Comments are temporarily disabled: LLCU has grown a lot in the past year. And while we've been able to answer thousands of questions, we've had to hit pause for a little bit as the number of questions has grown substantially. We are making some changes internally at our company in order to be able to provide the best services possible. We appreaciate your understanding while we make those changes. Thank you.