1. What Is an LLC?
2. Starting an LLC in Illinois
3. Reserving a Business Name
4. Filing Fees and Expedited Filing
5. Non-Mandatory Fees

The Illinois LLC cost includes some mandatory fees, with expedited services available at additional costs. You can form an LLC in the state at a relatively low cost if you select only required services and don't need a rush on anything.

What Is an LLC?

LLC is short for "limited liability company." It's considered a hybrid business entity since it combines the simple tax structure of a partnership with a corporation's limited liability. However, it doesn't have all the formalities of a corporation, so LLCs are a popular structure among small business owners.

LLCs are relatively recent business types. To form an LLC in Illinois, you start by filing your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. It will take about two weeks to process your filing if you fax or mail in your paperwork.

Starting an LLC in Illinois

Some startup costs are mandatory when forming an LLC, but others are optional. Mandatory costs include governmental fees required to file forms with the state. Optional costs include the following: 

  • Professional service fees, i.e., accountant or attorney services 
  • Filing assistance from a private company

Initial filing fees may be affected by an increase in the number of shares, due to the franchise tax. Illinois charges a franchise tax when a business is incorporated. Initial franchise tax starts at $25.

You will have to file a cumulative report and may be responsible for added fees and franchise tax if you make changes to paid-in capital and issued shares.

Reserving a Business Name

You can obtain a preprinted form of the Articles of Organization document that details the minimum information you'll need to legally start an LLC. You can get this form from the Secretary of State office.

You'll have to specify a name for your LLC that adheres to state law when filing your Articles. The state will reject your filing if your chosen LLC name doesn't comply with guidelines. You can check to see if your desired business name is appropriate and available by contacting the Business Services Department before you file your Articles.

You can reserve an acceptable LLC name for up to 90 days.

Filing Fees and Expedited Filing

When you file your Articles of Organization, you must include appropriate fees. Different fees apply, depending on if your LLC falls under a specialized category called “Series LLC.” Illinois has reduced a number of fees associated with forming LLCs, but paying filing fees is still mandatory. 

If you want expedited service, you must make the request in person. You will not be able to request faster service by mail. Expedited services have fees attached, and these are in addition to the regular filing fees and franchise tax. Expedited fees generally start at a minimum of $20 per service and go up from there. They may be as much as an additional $200.

You can't pay cash for LLC filings

You'll pay mandatory or optional filing fees for the following: 

  • Certificate of Good Standing 
  • Name reservation 
  • Cancellation of name reservation 
  • Application to adopt assumed name 
  • Articles of Organization 
  • Articles of amendment 
  • Articles of merger 
  • Renewal of registered name 
  • LLC annual report 

Non-Mandatory Fees

If you use the services of a private company to file your LLC paperwork, you'll pay an additional fee to that company. You'll also pay professional service fees if you decide to consult with an accountant or attorney regarding the formation of an LLC.

Fees for professional advice or private filing services aren't regulated. You might want to shop around for quotes from different professionals and companies before deciding on one to hire. It's easy to verify state fees in Illinois, so looking at a breakdown on fee quotes should be simple, allowing you to understand what services you're paying for.

LLCs are the easiest, most affordable businesses to start. To make creating your business as inexpensive as possible, be sure to only pay for required filings and services. Remember that not all fees are mandatory. Because LLCs are simple to form, most people are able to start an LLC by themselves. You don't have to enlist the services of an attorney unless you want to. 

If you need help understanding costs associated with LLCs, 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.