Starting a company

How To Form A Corporation In Illinois

A variety of advantages come with forming a corporation in Illinois, such as reduced liability security, financing accessibility, and tax advantages. Choosing a name, submitting articles of incorporation, getting a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), and acquiring any required licenses and permits are all stages in the formation of a company in Illinois. Read on to find out more about creating a company in Illinois and the advantages it can offer.

One of the advantages is that Illinois offers limited liability security, shielding the proprietors' private assets from any company debts. Small business structure proprietors with limited resources who cannot afford to assume personal liability for their company obligations may find this important as there are 1.2 million small companies, accounting for 99.6% of all establishments.

Choose a Corporate Name

One of the most critical steps for Illinois corporation formation is picking the appropriate name for your organization. Your business name impacts success; it's the first thing prospects hear about your brand.

Criteria for choosing a name

It's crucial to pick an original name that another business hasn't taken to form a corporation in Illinois. This way, you can avoid legal problems and client misunderstandings. You can determine whether a name is available by searching the Secretary of State's company directory.

How to check name availability ?

  • The first stage is to look up the state where you intend to conduct business in the Secretary of State's company database. If another business has already registered a name that is identical to or confusingly close to the one you're contemplating, this database will let you know. You can file the name as your company name if it still needs to be used.
  • You should run a trademark search and look through the state company directory. A trademark is a particular image, term, or expression that defines and sets your company apart from competitors. The web catalog of the United States Patent and Brand Office (USPTO) allows you to perform a brand search. 

Tips for picking a unique and memorable name

  • Be original: By thinking outside the box, try to devise a name that sets you apart from your rivals. Keep away from popular titles that might be overused in your sector.
  • Ensure simplicity: A short, memorable name can be more powerful than a long, complicated one. Use short, simple words that are easy to say and spell instead of lengthy, complex ones.
  • Think about your brand: Choose a name that expresses your beliefs and purpose while considering what your company stands for. Your brand's personality should be reflected in your moniker, and your target market should connect with it.
  • Use keywords: Including pertinent keywords in your company moniker can make it easier for clients to discover you. Use a keyword that accurately defines your good or service or one that is related to your business.

Importance of a strong brand name

The foundation of a prosperous company is a powerful brand identity. It can significantly influence how your company is viewed in the marketplace since it's consumers' first interaction with your brand. A strong brand name can make you stand out from your rivals, positively impact your clients, and eventually increase your sales. Customers are more likely to recall and spread the word about your business if it has a catchy and distinctive name, expanding your visibility and reach.

File Articles of Incorporation

To form a corporation in Illinois, one of the first legal steps you need to take is filing articles pertaining to incorporating in Illinois. Articles of incorporation are legal documents that establish the existence of your corporation as a separate legal entity from its owners.

Information required for Articles of Incorporation

  • Name of the company: Your corporation must have a distinct name that complies with state standards. One of the following terms or abbreviations—Corporation, Incorporated, Company, or Limited—must be in the name.
  • You must give a precise explanation of your company's purpose.
  • Select an authorized person to serve as your corporation's representative. This individual or organization has the legal authority to accept papers on your corporation's behalf.
  • You must enumerate the names and addresses of the people who founded your company. These are the people or organizations in charge of submitting the articles of incorporation.
  • Shares of stock your company is permitted to issue must be listed as approved shares.
  • You must specify whether your company has a perpetual duration or a set length in the tenure of the corporation section.

Where to file Articles of Incorporation ?

You can submit your articles of incorporation to the Secretary of State's office in Illinois via an online method or visit. The Illinois Secretary of State, Department of Business Services processes every business application, including Articles of Incorporation.

Mailing Address:

Illinois Secretary of State

Department of Business Services

501 S. 2nd St., Room 350

Springfield, IL 62756

Office Addresses:

Chicago Office:

69 W. Washington St., Suite 1240

Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 793-3380

Springfield Office:

Secretary of State

Department of Business Services

Howlett Building

501 S. Second St., Room 350

Springfield, IL 62756

Phone: (217) 782-6961

How to file Articles of Incorporation ?

It is simple to file articles of incorporation in Illinois by filling out the required papers and delivering them to the Secretary of State's office. 

Appoint a Registered Agent

A registered agent in Illinois must either be a state citizen or a company permitted to conduct business there. Notices of lawsuits and formal correspondence from the state government are among the essential legal and tax papers the registered agent collects on behalf of your company.

Definition and role of a registered agent

A registered agent is an individual or organization representing a company's interests before the state government in a legal capacity. The registered agent's primary responsibility is to accept important legal and financial papers, such as formal letters from the state government, lawsuit notices, and other important paperwork, on behalf of the company. This is a crucial duty because it guarantees that the company is updated on potential legal or regulatory problems. Remember that every new Illinois LLC must choose a registered agent who will be accessible during regular business hours at an actual location within the state, according to state law.

How to choose a registered agent ?

Opting for a registered professional is imperative for any business entity. Below are some crucial points to remember:

Legal requirements for a registered agent in Illinois

The primary requirement is that your authorized representative be physically located in Illinois. As a result, if you are a company proprietor based outside of Illinois, you must identify an authorized representative with a real address there. Bear in mind that the identity of your authorized representative will be disclosed to the public, so be careful who you choose to represent you in this capacity.

Consequences of not having a registered agent

  • First of all, if you don't have a registered representative, you won't be able to receive crucial court papers like the service of process, which is a notification that a case has been brought against you.
  • Additionally, you need to designate an authorized representative for your company in Illinois to avoid administrative fines or even the dissolution of your company. Businesses must have a listed agent in Illinois to stay in good status with the state. 

Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Corporate bylaws serve as a foundation for your corporation's activities and guarantee that all parties engaged are on the same page. Having well-crafted bylaws is essential for several reasons:

  1. They can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts by providing clear guidance on how your corporation should be run.
  2. They can help to establish credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of investors, customers, and other stakeholders.
  3. Bylaws are often required by law to incorporate a business, and failing to have them in place can result in legal and financial consequences.

What should be included in corporate bylaws?

Corporate rules are a crucial document that describes a corporation's interior operations. The following are some essential components that ought to be in company bylaws:

  • Company Purpose: The rules should describe your corporation's goals and purpose. The company's goal statement and its main lines of business can be included in this.
  • Corporate Structure: The duties and obligations of the directors, officials, and stockholders should all be specified in the bylaws. This can include information on how directors and officials are chosen or voted on and their specific responsibilities and authority.
  • Meetings: The bylaws should specify the guidelines and processes for having meetings, including the frequency, notice requirements, and meeting protocols.
  • Voting: The rules should specify how significant decisions—like choosing directors or authorizing substantial business transactions—will be voted on. Information on how voting rights are distributed, how ballots are submitted, and what proportion of votes are required for a decision to be made can all be found here.
  • Finances: The rules should specify the corporation's financial policies and practices, including how money is raised and spent and how financial records are maintained.
  • Bylaw modifications: The bylaws should outline the procedures for future amendments and revisions. This can include details about how changes are proposed, how they are decided on, and the number of ballots required for a change to pass.

How to create and amend bylaws ?

Creating bylaws

  • Draft the bylaws: You can start writing the bylaws once you have a firm grasp of the corporation's goals and organizational framework. Working with a lawyer or legal advisor to ensure the rules adhere to all applicable legal requirements is a good option. The board of directors and/or shareholders should examine and approve the regulations after they have been written.
  • File the bylaws: Along with other necessary formation papers, the bylaws should be registered with your company's state.

Changing the bylaws

  • Draft the change: The next stage is to draft the amendment after the need for one has been determined. Again, consulting with a lawyer or other legal expert is an excellent idea to ensure the change satisfies all applicable legal requirements.
  • Review and approve the change: In compliance with the processes specified in the rules, the board of directors and stockholders should review and approve the amendment.
  • File the change: The amendment and any other necessary paperwork should be lodged with the state where your company is located.

Importance of following corporate bylaws

Your company must abide by its rules for several reasons. First, rules offer a structure for decision-making and aid in ensuring that business decisions are made consistently and openly. Stakeholders, such as stockholders, workers, and consumers, can benefit from this by developing a sense of trust and confidence.

Comply with Annual Report and Tax Requirements

Meeting yearly reports and tax requirements is crucial for any company. Therefore, your company's annual reports offer a thorough overview of its business and financial success for the entire year. These reports typically contain financial statements, management summaries and analyses, and other pertinent data that can aid stakeholders and investors in assessing the status and future possibilities of the business.

Annual report requirements in Illinois

Your business must submit a yearly report to the Secretary of State in Illinois. Your company's directors, executives, and authorized agents are all revised in this report. It also contains information about location and organizational specifics, such as whether it is a corporation or a limited liability company. (LLC).

State and federal tax obligations

Let's begin with state taxation first. Businesses in Illinois are liable to several state fees, including the use tax, sales tax, and corporate income tax. Some exclusions exist for specific companies, but the corporate income tax rate is 9.5% of net revenue. Although it differs by region, the sales tax rate is typically close to 6.25%. The use tax, about 6.25%, is imposed on out-of-state sales of physical personal property used in Illinois.

Let's now discuss federal taxation. The government income tax that applies to businesses depends on their net revenue. For businesses, the tax rate is a fixed 21%. Businesses must also pay government unemployment tax and other work taxes like Social Security and Medicare.

How to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) ?

You'll probably need to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service if you're beginning a company in Illinois. (IRS). An EIN is a unique number given to your company for tax-related reasons.

You can submit an internet application via the IRS website to get an EIN in Illinois. The application procedure is fast and straightforward; after filing your application, you'll get your EIN immediately. To file for an EIN online, you must provide essential information about your company, such as its formal name and organizational structure, the kind of business you run, and your location. Your particulars, including your name and Social Security number, are also required.

Importance of compliance with tax and reporting obligations

Compliance with tax and reporting requirements is essential for any company to stay out of trouble with the law and prevent fines. You must remain on top of their tax requirements to meet your obligations to the state and federal governments.

Not only is it the law for you to file tax returns and get your tax payments done on time, but it also benefits your company's trustworthiness and image. Penalties, interest charges, and even legal action may be incurred for failing to meet tax and filing requirements.

Appoint Initial Directors and Hold First Board Meeting

A new corporation's initial directors should be chosen, and the first board conference should be held as one of the first stages. Setting the tone for future decision-making and starting your company requires this action.

Importance of appointing initial directors

The original directors must manage the corporation's business until the first shareholders' gathering can be conducted. You should hand over the essential paperwork to the state and conduct a gathering to pick the initial directors before you can name them. In some states, you might also be required to submit an information statement containing the original directors' names and locations.

How to hold a board meeting

Select a convenient time and place for all board members, and then convene a meeting after sending out the schedule. Discuss and decide on various subjects during the conference, including financial reports, operational updates, and long-term strategic planning. 

What should be discussed and documented in the first board meeting

Several crucial subjects must be discussed and recorded during your first board gathering. These include selecting committee members and electing officials, approving company bylaws and other administration papers, establishing a fiscal year, and issuing stock. 

Legal requirements for holding board meetings

When having board meetings, regulatory requirements must be adhered to. 

  • All of your board members must receive adequate notification of the meeting, a majority of the board must be present to conduct business, and the session must be properly recorded, including minutes detailing the decisions and actions. 
  • Additionally, boards are required to abide by any state and federal laws that may be in force, including securities laws and laws about corporate administration. The company and its directors risk legal and financial repercussions if these criteria are not met. 
  • The conduct of all board sessions must therefore be by the relevant law standards.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Acquiring any licenses and permits needed to function lawfully when starting a company is crucial. Different licensing and permits are required depending on the sort of company and the area; failing to acquire them may result in penalties or even legal action.

Overview of licensing and permitting requirements in Illinois

Depending on their sort of company and region, Illinois businesses must acquire various licenses and permits. Standard licenses and permits include company registration with the Illinois Secretary of State, a tax registration with the Illinois Department of Revenue, and municipal permits for zoning, construction, and health and safety regulations. Additional state or federal permits, such as those for selling booze, providing culinary or professional services, may also be needed in some sectors.

How to determine the necessary licenses and permits ?

Start by determining the kind of company and its site before deciding which licenses and permits are required in Illinois. You can use this knowledge to determine the necessary municipal, state, and federal licenses and permissions. The Illinois company portal, which details the licenses and permissions needed for particular company operations, is the next place you should look. You can also contact the Illinois Department of Revenue or the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. To acquire permits for compliance with zoning, construction, and health and safety regulations, you might also need to contact regional organizations, like municipal or county administrations. 

Importance of compliance with licensing and permitting requirements

Your upcoming corporation in Illinois must adhere to licensing and permitting standards to prevent financial and legal repercussions. Fines, company closures, and even criminal accusations may result from failure to acquire required licenses and permits. Additionally, compliance guarantees that companies function in a secure and regulated atmosphere, safeguarding the customers' and workers' health and safety.


Creating a company might be a wise decision, but it involves several stages. Select a distinctive name, then file it with the Secretary of State of Illinois. A registered agent should then be named to receive court papers. Articles of organization must be submitted, as well as rules and stock certificates. Finally, get the aforementioned licenses and permissions that are required. It's imperative to obtain professional advice throughout this process because errors can be expensive. A lawyer or accountant can offer advice on financial and legal issues, ensuring that your company is correctly set up and functional. 

We can help!

At Levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can focus on what matters most — your business.

We can provide sufficient information to guide you in starting a limited liability company in Arizona. In this way, you can avoid some common mistakes and errors that people usually face in the process.

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