Starting an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Chicago is a good way to protect your personal assets, separate business debts, and reduce potential legal and tax liabilities for you and your business. But while the basics of forming an LLC are the same for any state, it is essential to understand and adhere to all federal, state, and local regulations when structuring a business in Illinois. This article outlines the steps for starting an LLC in Chicago, along with detailed advice on the unique roadmap for registering, operating, and growing a business in the Windy City.

What is an LLC and Why Should I Form One?

An LLC is a legal entity that separates the rights and liabilities of the business from those of the members (owners) of the company. This means the owners (called “members”) of the LLC have “limited liability,” meaning they are not responsible for business losses or debts due to negligence, malpractice, or mismanagement by other members of the LLC. The members of the LLC also have the flexibility to choose the type of management structure, tax obligations, and form of financial reporting that best suit the company needs.

When it comes to setting up an LLC in Chicago, there are myriad regulations that business owners must be aware of to ensure their business is compliant. After funneling the time and resources into setting up the company, the last thing a business owner should have to face is an unexpected legal or regulatory hurdle that puts the business at risk.

Steps for Setting up an LLC in Chicago

The following steps provide an overview of the process for establishing an LLC in Chicago. It is important to understand that this information is simply an introduction to the process and should not be considered definitive legal advice.

Step 1: Choose a Name

The first step when setting up an LLC in Chicago is to pick a company name. The name must comply with all Illinois laws and must include the words, “limited liability company,” or the abbreviation, “LLC.” The name must be unique and not already used by an existing legal entity in the state. The name cannot include language implying the business is providing services that it is not authorized to provide.

Step 2: File the Articles of Organization

The next step is to file the Articles of Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State. The Articles of Organization provide the information about the LLC, including the company name, address, the name and address of the registered agent in the state, and the type of business the LLC will engage in.

Step 3: Prepare an Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is essential for all LLCs that range from sole-proprietors to multi-member LLCs. The Operating Agreement outlines the company’s management structure, how profits and losses will be allocated, the rights and duties of the LLC members, and much more. While operating agreements are not required by the state of Illinois, it is a best practice to draw one up in order to protect all members of the LLC and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Registering for State and Local Taxes in Chicago

After establishing your business, you will need to register for state and local taxes in the state of Illinois. You will need to register for the Business Tax Registration Number with the Illinois Department of Revenue. You may also need to register for a Sales Tax Number with the Illinois Department of Revenue, as well as register with the city of Chicago if you own or operate a business within the City of Chicago or have employees in the city.

Licenses and Permits for Doing Business in Chicago

In addition to state and local taxes, you may need certain state and local licenses or permits in order to operate your business legally in the City of Chicago. For example, if you plan to hire employees, you will need to register with the state and obtain a State Employers Identification Number (EIN). Additionally, some businesses, such as restaurants and construction companies, may require special rights or permits in order to operate legally in the city.

Turn to Legal Professionals for Support and Guidance

Starting an LLC is a complex process. It involves becoming familiar with state and local business laws, taxes, and licensing requirements, all of which can quickly become confusing and overwhelming. However, with the right legal help, establishing an LLC in the State of Illinois can be a straightforward process.

UpCounsel provides experienced legal representation in the State of Illinois. Our network of attorneys have years of experience in providing counsel, assistance, and legal advice to businesses in Chicago and throughout the state. We can help you structure and manage your business in compliance with all state and local laws, as well as assist with business filings and paperwork.


LLC Chicago,

Legal Services,

Business Lawyer