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Illinois discriminates against long business names

In my new series calling out stupid things state agencies do, I’m dedicating my first post to Illinois.  As many of my clients know, Illinois has long been a horrible place to do business.  It’s truly amazing how stupid many of the procedures of doing business in Illinois are.

But enough with the rant!  Let’s get to the details of todays post:

The Illinois Secretary of State only allows you to have 25 characters in any field when doing a filing online. 

This means if you want to have a business called:   “Downtown Chicago Hot Dogs LLC.”  you have 30 characters in your name and can’t make a filing online.

This means when appointing us as a registered agent, our clients are forced to put in variations of our name like NW Registered Agent Inc.  or Northwest Registered Agent Ser

Instead of our full legal name: Northwest Registered Agent Service, Inc.

This means, you can’t file your annual reports online if your business name has more than 25 characters.

We’ve called, emailed, and written letters to the Illinois Secretary of State.  We’ve talked to their IT staff.  THIS PROBLEM IS SIMPLE!!  It’s changing a number in their code from a 2 to a 4.  It’s literally not more difficult than that. 

We’ve even offered to do it for them.  We’ve offered to remote desktop to their computer and change the number in the database fields.  We’ve offered to do a one time session with logmein.  We’ve offered for them to email us the text page, we’ll change it, and email it back.  We’ve offered to stay on the phone with them, and direct them through the process… BUT NOTHING!  It would take 5 minutes to fix this problem.

No one cares :(

Now if there’s one thing I know from keeping a database, is that if you don’t get really accurate information the first time, when it’s entered INTO a database, it creates a long term MESS.  I’m sure something as stupid as not having 45 characters instead of 25 has pretty much RUINED the validity of the Illinois Secretary of State business records.

You just have to laugh at this sometimes.  It’s like state workers in Illinois actually have sat down and had meetings of how to create the stupidest procedures they could come up with.  Who limits the characters in a database to 25?

Now, you can still file by paper, but that takes forever, and you will get different levels of document acceptance from different clerks.  It truly depends on their mood for that day if they will accept your documents or not.  You will get random opinions that are never the same when mailing documents into the IL Secretary of State.

The Illinois Secretary of State allows online filings.  Now I give someone there credit for even having online filings… Some states still do not have the capacity to file online.  BUT the Illinois Secretary of State charges an extra $100 to make a filing online.  They also don’t just automatically approve the filing.  They manually review it!  What on earth is the point then?  They only let you use a generic clause…  It should be done instantly when filing online.  You should create your rules for the fields so that you don’t have to manually review it.

But… this is just another example of the random weirdness of doing business in Illinois.

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