Illinois LLC requirements include several key steps, such as the preparation and filing of various documents and the payment of fees. Business owners also must adhere to specific naming requirements and tax guidelines.

Registration Requirements

All LLCs must file their Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. When you file your Articles, you'll have to specify if your business will be managed by members or managers.

Your Articles must include the following: 

  • The name and main address of your LLC 
  • The registered agent's name and address 
  • The purpose of your LLC 
  • Effective date 
  • Duration, if it's not perpetual 
  • Member liability 
  • Type of management 
  • Organizer's name, address, and signature

Submit the necessary forms with the appropriate filing fees. If you submit your application online, it takes one to two business days to process. If you mail in your application, it can take six to eight weeks.

It's recommended that you have an operating agreement if your LLC has more than one member. An operating agreement outlines the following: 

  • Individual member roles 
  • Terms of the LLC 
  • Members' voting rights 
  • Management of the LLC 
  • Admission or removal of members 
  • Dissolution of the LLC 
  • Procedures to amend the agreement

Foreign LLCs

If your LLC was formed in another state and you want to expand and do business in Illinois, you'll start a foreign LLC. You'll be required to file an application as a foreign LLC before you can transact business in Illinois. Along with a filing fee of $150, you'll also submit your Certificate of Good Standing from the state where your LLC was originally formed.

One of the biggest advantages to operating a foreign LLC is the ability to run one business in multiple jurisdictions. If you transact business in states outside of Illinois, you may have to register your LLC in those states as well. However, each state has its own rules for transacting business, so foreign registration may not be required in all states.

The following activities are typically considering “doing business” in a state: 

  • Maintaining a business location 
  • Hiring employees 
  • Soliciting business, i.e., via advertising, mail, or the Internet

You'll usually have to obtain a certificate of authority or similar paperwork to register your LLC. If your LLC provides certain professional services, you'll have to get additional approval from licensing boards in that state to conduct business there.

Steps to Start an LLC in Illinois

Understand what an LLC is before forming one because you want to be sure it's the best business structure for the type of company you wish to run. LLCs have the benefits of being flexible and privy to some tax efficiencies and providing its members limited liability.

LLC members can be the following: 

  • Individuals 
  • Other LLCs 
  • Corporations 
  • Foreign entities

There's no maximum number of members an LLC can have. LLCs are considered a hybrid business type because they contain elements of limited liability partnerships as well as corporations.

  1. Choose a name for your LLC.
  2. Select a resident agent, also known as a registered agent or agent for service of process. This is a person or company that has a physical address in Illinois and is authorized to conduct business in the state. Registered agents agree to accept legal documents on a business's behalf and make sure members receive important paperwork. You can act as your LLC's registered agent, or it can be someone in the company.
  3. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), free of charge, from the IRS.
  4. Draft an operating agreement. Illinois recognizes operating agreements as governing documents.
  5. Get familiar with all legal obligations surrounding running your business, especially filing annual reports. You submit an annual report to the state Business Services department each year. You can submit your report by mail or online, and it must be filed by a member or manager of your LLC.

It may seem as if there are a lot of requirements to form and run an LLC, but this business structure is the easiest and most affordable to start. As long as you adhere to all guidelines and requirements, you'll be able to start your own business quickly and relatively easily.

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