Are you planning to form an Illinois LLC? The state of Illinois has a rich and diverse economy, from its urban business hubs like Chicago to the heartland centers of agriculture and manufacturing, Illinois has much to offer if you are starting a new business. Depending on the size and purpose of your new business, an LLC may be the best and most flexible business structure to use. (Have questions about choosing an entity structure? Read more here, or reach out for a free consultation with our experts!) 

If you’ve decided to form an Illinois LLC, we’ve got all the details here on how to turn your million-dollar idea into a real-life legit business. This article will cover:

  • Choosing a name for your Illinois LLC
  • Setting up a registered agent in Illinois
  • Filing Articles of Organization for your Illinois LLC
  • Annual reports, fees, and other requirements for an Illinois LLC

The Illinois Secretary of State has published a long but informative Guide to Organizing an Illinois Limited Liability Company, and although it’s possible to DIY your LLC filings using that guide and the information below, we’re always here to make your life easier. So reach out to one of our PRIME advisors for a free consultation if you have questions or need more information about setting up an LLC in Illinois. We’re just a click away!

STEP 1: Create a Name for Your Illinois LLC

When you form an Illinois LLC, selecting the right name will be one of the most important early steps. When choosing a name, ask yourself these three important questions: 

1. Does the name I’ve chosen for my Illinois LLC meet the naming guidelines set forth by the Illinois Secretary of State?

The Illinois Secretary of State has a list of general requirements for business names in the Prairie State: 

  • The name of the company must be distinguishable upon the records of the Secretary of State from any other LLC or corporate name. The name of an administratively dissolved Illinois limited liability company is not available for use by another LLC or Corporation until three years have elapsed following the date of issuance of the notice of dissolution.
  • The name of the company must contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviations L.L.C. or LLC, and cannot contain the terms Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, Inc., Ltd., Co., Limited Partnership or L.P.
  • The Secretary of State’s office reserves the right to make the final determination on the availability of limited liability company names.

2. Is the LLC name available in Illinois?

Use the name search tool on the Illinois Secretary of State website to make sure the name you’ve chosen for your Illinois LLC is available.

3. Is your Illinois LLC URL available?

If you’ve chosen a name, verified that it is available in Illinois, and confirmed that it conforms to the Illinois Secretary of State guidelines, you should consider reserving the appropriate domain names right away. You can use a site such as GoDaddy or another domain registration service to reserve the website address(es) you need. 

Once you have settled on a final name, you can reserve the name with the State of Illinois by filling out Form LLC-1.15 (found here).

STEP 2: Choose a Registered Agent for Your Illinois LLC

When you form an Illinois LLC you are required to appoint a registered agent

The job of the registered agent is to serve as the entity for receiving important business and legal communication on behalf of the LLC. This includes tax forms, legal documents, notice of lawsuits, and official government correspondence on behalf of your business. The registered agent is the state’s point of contact. 

If you choose an individual as a registered agent, they must reside in Illinois full-time. You may also appoint a professional service to serve as your registered agent in Illinois. You can serve as your own registered agent for your Illinois LLC. 

STEP 3: File Your Illinois LLC Articles of Organization

The most important step in setting up your Illinois LLC is the Articles of Organization.  You must file Form LLC-5.5 – Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State to register your LLC. Most businesses can take care of this step online, but in some specific situations the state of Illinois will require you to send in the paper forms. The filing cost for the Illinois LLC Articles of Organization is $150. You can expedite your approval process with an additional $100 fee. 

If you need help with any step of the entity formation process, reach out and schedule a free consultation with one of our PRIME advisors. We’re always here to help.

Setting up an Illinois LLC: What’s Next?

Once you form an Illinois LLC, you have certain obligations to the state. Most importantly, you must file an Annual Report each year prior to the first day of the month in which your LLC was organized. For example, if you file your Articles of Organization on February 15, 2022, your first Annual Report will be due on or before January 31, 2023, and once a year thereafter. If your Annual Report is late, you may incur a late filing penalty fee. It’s important to keep up with your reporting requirements in a timely manner—if you are 180+ days behind in filing your Annual Report, your LLC will be administratively dissolved by the State of Illinois. 

How to Form an Illinois LLC: Recap

To form an Illinois LLC you will need to:

  • Choose a name that meets the Illinois requirements and reserve that name with this form. 
  • Select a registered agent with a physical address in the state of Illinois or a registered agent service that is authorized to do business in the state of Illinois. 
  • Finally, file the Illinois LLC Articles of Organization and pay the $150 filing fee. 

Got questions? We’re chock full of answers and we’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs amd small business owners set up shop in Illinois successfully. Give us a shout and we’ll help you out!

Starting an Illinois LLC: FAQs

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

The standard fee to file Articles of Organization in Illinois is $150. You can expedite the approval process by paying an extra $100. 

How long does it take for my Illinois LLC to be approved?

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office indicates that “after transmitting the application and payment, you will receive an email acknowledging receipt by the Secretary of State. A non-expedited service request will be reviewed and a second email response sent within 10 days of your submission. An expedited service request will be reviewed and a second email response given within 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.” 

Who can serve as a registered agent for an Illinois LLC? 

Any individual who resides full time in the state of ILlinois can serve as a registered agent for an Illinois LLC. A P.O. box will not suffice—it must be an occupied residence. This individual can be an owner or employee of the LLC, but they do not have to be professionally affiliated with the LLC to serve as the registered agent. Alternatively, you can assign a professional service to act as your registered agent. The service must be authorized to act as an agent in the state of Illinois.

Starting an Illinois LLC: More Resources