Starting a business as a sole proprietor in Chicago is a rewarding experience that can often be made easier if the business owner is well-versed in the local regulations. Even though many processes involved in launching a business are the same as in any other place, local rules and regulations dictate the way in which a business must operate in Chicago. It is of key importance, therefore, for business owners to understand how to legally and practically establish their new venture.

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In this article, we'll cover some of the basics of local regulation for sole proprietors in Chicago, so you can have a better understanding of what you will need to do to get your venture up and running smoothly.

Forming Your Sole Proprietorship

Establishing a sole proprietorship in Chicago may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is that it is actually quite straightforward, particularly when compared to a corporate structure. All you need to do is register your business with the Secretary of State and create a trade name. You will need to complete a simple application–these can be found online–which includes all the information you need about your business.

Getting the Right Licenses and Permits

The next step is to make sure that you have the right licenses and permits in place. Every city has its own regulations and procedures, so it is important to find out what is required in Chicago. Generally speaking, you will need to apply for a business license and any other local permits that may be applicable to your specific business. You may also need to apply for a sales tax permit as well as any other permits that may be required for the type of business that you are operating.

Tax Implications of Operating a Sole Proprietorship

Another important aspect to consider is the tax implications of operating a sole proprietorship. Since you are the owner of the business, you are personally responsible for any taxes due and owing. This means that you will need to report your income and expenses to the IRS, and also calculate any taxes that may be due. It is recommended that you speak with a tax professional to ensure that you comply with all regulations in order to avoid any penalties.

Ongoing Compliance Requirements

Finally, one of the most important aspects of running a business in Chicago is staying compliant with local regulations. There are a number of laws and regulations that you need to adhere to, such as keeping accurate and complete records, maintaining a separate bank account for business expenses, and filing annual reports to the Secretary of State. It is also important to keep up-to-date with any changes in the law, so that you can ensure you are running your business within the scope of the law.


As a business owner in Chicago, it is important to ensure that you are complying with all the necessary local regulations. By understanding the basics of forming a sole proprietorship, obtaining the right licenses and permits, understanding the tax implications, and staying up-to-date with the latest regulations, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly. By leveraging the wide range of legal services provided by the network of experienced attorneys on UpCounsel, you can ensure that you are always well-prepared for whatever comes your way.


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