How to Form an LLC in Illinois

Helpful Tools


Welcome to Our Community

We're committed to publishing free informational resources such as this how-to guide. Our resources have been shared by important industry organizations including:







LLC Formation Service

Harbor Compliance makes starting your limited liability company easy. Your specialist handles the paperwork to set up your LLC fast and helps you stay compliant.

Packages from $399 + state fees

Form My LLC

Harbor Business Compliance Corporation BBB Business Review


I am an architect and was looking to set up an LLC. Harbor Compliance set up everything for me - all for a fraction of the cost of hiring a lawyer. Nice work!
AnnWheaton Architecture, LLC
Working with Harbor Compliance was great! It was quick, painless, and I'm confident things were done correctly. Saved a ton of time vs. trying to figure it out myself and a ton of money vs. getting it done through a lawyer. Highly recommended!
MelissaUlty Results LLC
By working with Harbor I saved countless hours of research and paperwork.
DouglasDouglas Thomas Limited
Harbor Compliance rocked my boat! My specialist and his team were insanely helpful and just what I needed. There are alot of things as an entrepreneur you have to do yourself but this isn't one of them. My specialist made it super easy to create my LLC and for that I'm eternally grateful! I highly recommend Harbor Compliance.
AngeliqueAngelique Arroyo LLC
Thank you so much for walking me through this and for all your extra help! Your patience has been so greatly appreciated!
StephanieVivid View Photography LLC
Starting from scratch to create a sole proprietor LLC was easy with help from Harbor Compliance. They saved me time, money, and confusion. Along the way they gave me pointers that helped me correct earlier errors. I am most pleased.
DanDan Rosenblum Biomedical Consultant, LLC

This guide to starting an LLC in Illinois provides step-by-step instructions on filing formation documents, obtaining tax IDs, and setting up company records.

Overview

LLCs are the most popular business structure because they are inexpensive to form, provide flexibility to the owners, and are easy to run. Forming your LLC legally establishes your business, limits your personal liability, and gains tax flexibility. The following step-by-step will help you as you undertake this process.

Fast Facts: Your Budget and Timeline

Here is an overview of the total paperwork, cost, and time it takes to form an LLC in Illinois. Be sure to read the final step in this guide - "Ongoing Filings" - to understand your ongoing costs to maintain a compliant LLC.


Paperwork
  • Form LLC-5.5: Illinois Limited Liability Company Act Articles of Organization
  • Operating Agreement
  • IRS Form SS-4: Obtain an EIN
  • Form REG-1: Illinois Business Registration Application
Cost
  • Formation: $500 + optional $100 expedite fee
  • Illinois business registration: state fee varies depending on tax accounts needed
Time
  • Formation: Immediately online. ~2 weeks by mail or fax. ~1 business days with $100 expedite fee.

Step-by-Step Illinois LLC Instructions

Warning

Illinois LLCs must pay a $250 Secretary of State annual report fee every year by the anniversary of their formation.


1 Check Name Availability

The legal name of your LLC may not conflict with any other registered name. Check availability of your desired name by conducting a name search.

Name Search:
CyberDrive Illinois Corporation/LLC Search
Name Reservation:
Optional
Suffix:
Shall contain the terms "limited liability company", "L.L.C.", or "LLC", or, if organized as a low-profit limited liability company under Section 1-26 of this Act, shall contain the term "L3C" 805 ILCS §180/1-10
2 Appoint a Registered Agent

Identify the LLC’s Illinois Registered Agent. This individual or company receives notice of lawsuit and other legal service for the LLC.

3 File Illinois Articles of Organization

File the articles of organization to create your limited liability company.

Agency:Illinois Secretary of State - Business Services Department
Form:

Form LLC 5.5: Articles of Organization

Instructions:

Pub c334: A Guide for Organizing Domestic Limited Liability Companies

Filing method:

Mail, fax (only if you have a prepaid account), or online

Agency fee:

$150 + optional $100 expedite fee. The expedite fee is required if you file online.

Turnaround:

~2 weeks by mail or fax. ~1 business days with $100 expedite fee.

Law:

805 ILCS 180

Notes:
  • When you file by mail you must submit the original articles with signatures in black ink and one copy.
  • In addition to a traditional LLC, Illinois offer a Series LLC and L3C. They each have special formation requirements.
  • When you file online, you may return to the Secretary of State’s Web site after 24 hours and retrieve a copy of the document at no extra charge for a period of 30 days.
4 Establish Company Records

Your filed articles of organization are the first document for your limited liability company records. Your LLC will generate many other official records such as your operating agreement, meeting minutes, and your EIN.

Office supplies intended for an LLC will help you stay organized and save time. Membership certificate templates should come with your company record book. Each owner receives a membership certificate as evidence of his or her ownership in the LLC.

5 Create the Operating Agreement

Draft an operating agreement (potentially using a template) which is the governing document for the LLC. It defines the formalities of how the LLC will run itself such as holding an annual meeting. You will review and adopt the agreement at your organizational meeting.

6 Hold the Organizational Meeting

The first meeting of the members of the LLC is the organizational meeting. You will need your filed articles of organization and your operating agreement in order to conduct this meeting. Keep minutes of this meeting and store them in your company record book.

7 Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If your LLC has more than one member or will hire employees, it must obtain an EIN. An EIN is also often required to open a bank account.

Submit to:
Internal Revenue Service
http://www.irs.gov/
Form:
IRS Form SS-4
Guidance:
IRS Pub 1635: Understanding Your EIN
Filing Method:
Mail, phone, fax, or apply online with the IRS
Fee:
$0
Turnaround:
Immediately online
Notes:
The IRS website is only available during certain hours. Print your EIN before closing your session.
8 Get Illinois State Tax Identification Numbers/Accounts

Illinois offers a consolidated state tax registration application.

Submit to:
Illinois Department of Revenue
http://www.revenue.state.il.us/
Form:
Form REG-1: Illinois Business Registration Application
Filing Method:
Mail or online
Fee:
State fee varies depending on tax accounts needed
9 Consider Electing S-Corp or C-Corp Taxation

By default, your LLC receives pass-through taxation and the vast majority of LLCs keep this tax classification. Some LLCs benefit from electing S-Corp or C-Corp tax treatment:

  • S-Corp treatment can help owner-employees who earn more than ~$75,000 per year save on self-employment taxes. File Form 2553: S-Corp Election.
  • C-Corps suffer from double taxation: the corporation pays taxes on profits then members pay taxes on their distributions. If profits exceed $250,000 per owner, you provide employee benefits, or you will re-invest most of your profit in the business, you may benefit from the low tax rates on retained earnings under C-Corp treatment. File Form 8832: C-Corp Election.
10 Obtain Business Licenses & Permits

To run your business legally, you must obtain applicable licenses and permits. The easiest way to navigate the wide range of federal, state, and local requirements is to search by your business type and locality using the Small Business Administration Business License & Permit look-up tool.

* Ongoing Filings to Maintain Your LLC

You must file federal and state tax returns. You must also file:

LLC Formation Service

We set up your LLC fast and help you stay compliant.

© 2012 - 2019 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to our Terms of Use and Service Agreement.