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Start a Business in Illinois

Corporate Compliance by Local Corporate Guides®

Starting a business in Illinois can and should be easier than you think. You file simple forms with the secretary of state, and your business is formed! Obviously there’s a few more things than that, but if you’d like to start your own business yourself, you will find it easy to hire us as your registered agent and you’ll find all the forms you could file to start a business in Illinois, along with great filing instructions on the quickest and cheapest ways to start your business in Illinois.

Corporate Guides

Our Corporate Guides® are Illinois incorporation experts. We will provide you:

  • Filed Illinois Articles
  • Illinois Corporate Bylaws
  • IL shareholder resolutions
  • IL corporate stock certificates

Here For You

We provide extra privacy for you with our address. You get ongoing support:

  • We’ll be your registered agent
  • IL corporate renewal reminders
  • Online corporate tools
  • Talk to a Corporate Guide® anytime

Start Your Illinois Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.7 / 5 stars by 123 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Illinois


You file articles of incorporation for an Illinois corporation or articles of organization for an Illinois LLC with the IL Secretary of State.

Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Illinois showing your approved Illinois business.

Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Illinois business name should be easy with these two items.

Department of Revenue

You register your Illinois LLC with the Illinois Department of Revenue or Illinois Department of Labor if you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax.

Trade License

You obtain a trade license from the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation, if you actually need one. Most businesses don’t, but if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account.

Local License

Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t.
You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.


If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Going

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer?
You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Illinois yourself, you can just hire us as your Illinois registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Illinois LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate an Illinois corporation or form a Illinois LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Illinois registered agent service.


Illinois LLC vs Corporation

Owners of large, growing businesses like the well-defined, established management structure of a corporation. Plus, having the option to sell stock helps attract investors. LLCs are ideal for small businesses. They offer flexible management and are easier to maintain.

But, what about Illinois? Any pros and cons for an Illinois LLC vs an Illinois corporation?

When it comes to initial fees, there is no real advantage to starting an Illinois LLC versus an Illinois corporation. Both entities will cost $150 to form and must pay a $75 filing fee for their annual report. However, all corporations must also include a franchise tax—LLCs do not.

The Illinois franchise tax is based on paid-in-capital or an “allocation factor”—depending on what calculation method you choose. Fortunately, the state recently began the process of phasing this tax out, but until 2024, corporations will still be responsible for paying the franchise tax. The rates for corporate and personal taxes are fixed, but the personal income tax rate is much lower—4.95% vs 7%, so LLCs tend to fare better unless they opt to be taxed as C corps. C corps, the default tax classification of corporations are subject to double taxation—first by the state, then through shareholder returns.

If owning a large, growing business is your end goal, then you’ll definitely want to consider the corporation. There will be more taxes involved, but having the option to sell stock will attract strong investors. If you’re wanting a small business, then the flexible management of an LLC may suit your needs.

If you want a corporation, you file Illinois Articles of Incorporation:

It will cost $150 to file the articles of incorporation with the IL Secretary of State, plus a $25 minimum franchise tax fee.
We custom draft your Illinois articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Illinois business. The basic requirements of Illinois corporations are:

  • The Illinois Corporation must have a corporate ending such as Incorporated, Corporation, Limited, or an abbreviation of one of those
  • The Illinois corporation name must be different than already registered Illinois corporations
  • The number of shares the Illinois Corporation is authorized to issue and the class of the shares
  • The name and office address of the registered agent in Illinois
  • The corporations purpose is general unless you state a more specific purpose
  • Information about the corporations directors is optional
  • Information about the corporations property in Illinois is optional
  • You may include other optional provisions
  • The name, address, and signature of the Illinois corporation incorporator

Illinois does not require original signatures on new Illinois corporation filings. If you include a return address on a cover letter or envelope, that is where the IL SOS will send your filed document. Otherwise they will send it to your Illinois registered agent.

Start Your Illinois Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Illinois Articles of Organization:

To form an Illinois LLC, file articles of organization. The Illinois Secretary of State articles of organization filing fee is $150. The basic requirements of Illinois LLC filings are:

  • The business name must have a LLC ending or variation of it
  • The Illinois company name must be different than already registered Illinois companies
  • The effective date of the articles of organization may be when the articles are filed or you may specify a later date
  • The Illinois LLCs principal address
  • The LLC may have a general purpose unless you are forming a Professional LLC
  • The LLCs duration is perpetual unless you specify a dissolution date
  • If the Illinois LLC is member-managed, you must list the members. If the LLC is manager-managed, you must list the managers
  • The street and mailing addresses of the initial registered office
  • The Illinois registered agent name and the physical address
  • The Illinois organizers name, address, and signature

Illinois does not require original signatures on new IL LLC filings. If you include a return address on a cover letter or envelope, that is where the IL SOS will send your filed document. Otherwise they will send it to your Illinois registered agent.

Corporate Compliance
by Local Corporate Guides®