The Illinois Corporation Commission provides regulatory authority, handling numerous business and economic interests within the state. For business owners, it can achieve a wide range of goals, including all aspects of registration, permits, licenses, and more. Whether you are interested in a name search or a Certificate of Good Standing, here is what you need to know. 

About Illinois Business License, LLC Formation, and Incorporation

As home to the largest domestic transportation hub, Illinois is a great place to start and operate a business. More than 30 Fortune 500 companies operate out of this state, including Walgreens and McDonald's. With many other headquarters situated in the state, Illinois yields the nation's fifth-largest economy. Because of its high-tech and startup economy, which has ranked within the top 10 across the nation, many small businesses are deciding to incorporate. 

How to Incorporate in Illinois

If you are considering incorporation for your company, you must first choose a unique name. Within the state of Illinois, corporation names should not cause any confusion in regards to another, separate corporation or LLC in the state. There are also specific words that need to be approved by the state, including such words as banking, bank, insurance, union, engineer, and banker. 

If you are the business owner, your company name must be registered with the county clerk's office if it differs from your full legal name. Once this step is complete, you will be responsible for filing the Articles of Incorporation with the state's Secretary of State.

Here are some of the key points you should be aware of:

Searching for Corporation/LLC

In order to search for a name or filing number, you can head over to the Corporation/LLC Database. Your name should be unique and distinguishable. Once you do conduct a search, you will be shown a list of all possible matches. 

Please note, this search is only a preliminary check and final availability regarding name availability is determined by the Secretary of State's office. This request can be made by calling 217-524-8008 for LLC availability and for corporate name availability, please call 217-782-6961.

Registration of Notary Public Commissions

In terms of Illinois Corporation Commission, applications can be downloaded and are also available through the Secretary of State's office. Once complete, this application should be mailed as instructed by the Secretary of State. Your Notary Commission Certificate will then be sent to the county clerk. If sent through the mail, a $10 signing fee will be administered. If you are signing in person, this fee will be $5. 

Liquor Licenses, Raffle Licenses, and More

If applying for a liquor license:

  • Your business will require proper zoning when applying for a Knox County Liquor License. 
  • You can obtain an application by calling the Knox County Clerk's Office at 309-342-3815.
  • If you require a license for one day, these are available under Class G. 
  • If approved, you will then need to apply for an Illinois State Sales Tax Number. 

If applying for raffle licenses:

  • In Knox County, to obtain a raffle license you must be an educational, charitable, religious, labor, or veterans organization that operates as a not-for-profit. Your organization must also have been in existence for a consecutive period of five years. 
  • Within a single year, the retail value of prizes cannot exceed $50,000. 

If applying for fireworks permits:

  • Any group of three or more individuals, all who are 18-plus years of age, can apply for a display permit. 
  • The application for a permit must take place at least 15 days prior to the date of the display.
  • No fireworks can legally be ignited or discharged within 600 feet of any hospital, infirmary, or asylum. 

If you need help with the Illinois Corporation Commission, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.