1. Naming Your New LLC
2. Choosing a Registered Agent
3. Filing Your Articles of Organization
4. Creating an Operating Agreement

With the Secretary of State, Illinois LLC members can secure their company's name and file their Articles of Organization. The Illinois Secretary of State plays an essential role in the process of starting a new business in the state. Business owners can visit the Illinois Secretary of State website to learn about ongoing state requirements to maintain a business in Illinois.

Naming Your New LLC

Naming your LLC is a vital step in forming your new company and should be one of the first things you do. You'll want to be sure your chosen name is a good fit for your company and can be easily found by potential customers. While considering names for your company, it's important to understand that the name you choose must be easy to distinguish from any other business name on file with the Secretary of State. You can do this by running a name search against their online database.

Once you have run a name search, if the name you intend to use is not found, this means no other company is using it, so it may be available. This is not a guarantee that the state will approve your proposed name, however. The database search is a great first step, but a final determination will be made by the office of the Secretary of State. You can also call the Secretary of State at 217-524-8008 to check the availability of a name or email the office directly. Keep in mind that checking availability in this way will require that you pay an expedited processing fee.

Once you have determined the availability of your chosen company name, you'll need to submit one of the following Name Reservation forms:  

  • Business corporations need to file a BCA-4.10 form.  
  • Non-profit corporations need to file an NFP-104.10 form.  
  • Limited liability companies need to file an LLC-1.15 form.

The steps required to form an LLC in Illinois include the following:

  • Run a name search to make sure your company name is available.
  • Verify the availability of possible domain names for your company and buy your target domain to keep somebody else from getting it.

The second step is important even if you're not planning to launch a website right away. It is not uncommon for un-acquired potential business domains to be purchased. When this happens, it's a good bet that a "domain flipper" has purchased it and will want you to pay more than you would have otherwise to obtain it for yourself. You may also want to think about potential business email addresses when looking at domain names.

Choosing a Registered Agent

In the state of Illinois, limited liability companies need to nominate a registered agent. Your registered agent does not have to be a person; it can be any individual or business entity who agrees to interact with outside entities for your company. Your registered agent does, however, have to be either a state resident or a business that is authorized to operate within state limits. Any member of the organization can be elected as the registered agent, including you.

Filing Your Articles of Organization

Part of registering your new limited liability company involves filing your Articles of Organization with the office of the Secretary of State, either online, in person, or via mail. You'll need to choose whether your company will be manager- or member-managed when you file your Articles of Organization.

When filing your Articles of Organization for an LLC in the state of Illinois, you'll be asked to pay a $150 filing fee. If you'd like to speed the process along, an additional $100 expedited fee will be required. All payments need to be made via one of the following methods:  

  • Certified check
  • Cashier's check
  • Illinois attorney's check
  • Money order or CPA's check

Payments should be made out to the Secretary of State.

Creating an Operating Agreement

While having an Operating Agreement isn't a requirement for LLCs in the state of Illinois, it's still a good idea to have one in place. This is a legally binding document that outlines things like company ownership and established operating procedures. If you're not familiar with Operating Agreements, it would serve you well to do some research in this area.

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