A State of Illinois corporate name search is usually carried out prior to setting up an LLC in Illinois. This is done to ensure that no other LLC exists with the same name.

How to Carry Out a Corporate Name Search

  1. Pick a name for your business. There are particular recommendations that you should follow when choosing a name for an LLC.
  2. Carry out a name search by using the name availability tool. Check to see if the business name you want is free to use in the state of Illinois.
  3. An optional but worthwhile step is to check whether your LLC name is free to use as a URL. It is then a good idea to purchase the domain name to prevent anyone else from buying it.
  4. It is also important to think about an email address when deciding on a name for your LLC.

Reserving an LLC Name

  • In order to reserve a name for your LLC, you must complete a Name Reservation form (BCA-4.10) for a business corporation. If you are setting up a not-for-profit LLC, complete the LLC-1.15 form.
  • You must include the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C” at the end of your business' name. “LLC” is the most widely-used form.
  • An Illinois LLC is not a corporation, which means that the name of your LLC must not include the words “Corporation,” “Incorporated,” or their abbreviations, “Corp.,” or “Inc.”
  • The name you choose for your LLC must be recognizable and distinctive so that it is not the same as any other Illinois LLC name.

What is Considered a Distinguishable Name?

Disparities in the identifiers at the end of LLC names or grammatical differences are not enough to make a name distinctive. For example:

  • LLC, L.L.C, Inc., Corp.
  • A, An, The
  • Hyphens, dashes, colons, commas
  • 4 vs. four
  • Singular, plural, and possessive

The following examples are not considered recognizable enough from one another:

  • Williams Investments, LLC vs. Williams Investments, Inc.
  • Blueberry Farm, LLC vs. Blueberry Farms, LLC
  • Camera Shop, LLC vs. The Camera Shop, LLC
  • Sweet and Sour, LLC vs. Sweet & Sour, LLC
  • Emma Jane and Kate Studios vs. Emma-Jane-Kate Studios, Inc.
  • 4 Lawyers, LLC vs. Four Lawyers, LLC

What is a Business Entity Search?

You can use a business entity search to uncover the following details about an organization:

  1. If the business has been legally established
  2. Whether the business is in good standing
  3. The address of the business
  4. The address of the business' representative

In the state of Illinois, you can also use the business entity search function to carry out necessary managerial responsibilities for your business. These responsibilities may include acquiring a Certificate of Good Standing and submitting franchise tax. However, the search tool is an initial check, and the ultimate confirmation of business name availability is ascertained by the office of the Secretary of State and must be in accordance with Illinois law.

Using the Business Entity Search Tool

  1. Access the Department of Business Services' Database.
  2. Next, you will need to choose between the kind of search and search process.
  3. You can select to search using the organizational types LLC or Corporate or both.
  4. You are then able to search by a particular name (By Name), by part of the name (By Keyword), using the initial letters of a word in the name (By Partial Word) or by the business' file number (By File Number).
  5. Under the search method, choose “Name” and type in your chosen business name, before pressing “Continue.”
  6. Do not include the “LLC” at the end of the name or any punctuation.
  7. Capitalization is not important.
  8. To obtain a full list of results, enter only the first word or two of your LLC name to see all results that could be considered indistinguishable. For example, if your chosen name is “Red Print Shop LLC,” type in “Red Print.”
  9. To ensure that you receive the best results, simply type in part of the first word. For instance, if your chosen Illinois corporation name is “Apple Farm LLC,” simply type in “Apple.”
  10. Next, hit the “Search” button and look through the list of registered Illinois businesses.

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