How To Incorporate In Illinois

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1. Choose a Name for Your Illinois Corporation

Check on Available Names in Illinois: First, you will need to find a unique corporate name for your business. The name that you choose cannot already be in use by another corporation. You can search online records and databases as well as other catalogs to find out if the name that you have chosen is in use or not. To search a database of Illinois businesses, go to Illinois Corporation.

Reserve a Corporate Name: If you find out that the corporate name that you have chosen is not in use in Illinois, you might want to reserve that name until the time that you are able to incorporate. The application to reserve a corporate name can be found online at Reserve a Illinois Corporate Name.
The cost is $25.00 to reserve a corporate name. You should submit the completed name reservation application form to the office of the Secretary of State.

Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: It is important to realize that even though the name that you have chosen to use to incorporate your small business may not be in use by another business in Illinois, it is possible that another company in another state is using the same name. You might encounter some restrictions on the corporate name that you have chosen. If you consult an attorney, you can learn more about these possible restrictions and how to take steps to trademark the name that you have chosen. Visit our information on how to choose a name for your corporation.

Illinois Corporate Name Requirements: When you incorporate your small business in Illinois, you must choose a corporate name that includes the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company” or an abbreviation of one of these words.

2. Find a Registered Agent in Illinois 

After you have chosen a name for your corporation, you will need to find a registered agent for your corporation. A registered agent will act as an agent for service of process for your corporation. Registered agents are responsible for receiving legal and tax documents for your corporation.  You might consider using the registered agent services of a corporate service company. There are various corporate service companies that provide registered agent services for a fee. Your registered agent must have a physical mailing address, not just a PO Box.

3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Illinois Secretary of State

Minimum Requirements: Once you have your corporate name and your registered agent, you can begin to prepare the Articles of Incorporation document for your small business. You can file Articles of Incorporation online at Illinois Corporate Set Up. You must provide the corporate name that you have chosen, your corporate purpose, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, and the name and address of at least one incorporator.

Other Illinois Legal Provisions: Consider including additional legal provisions in the document along with the minimum requirements. An attorney can help you to determine what additional legal provisions may be appropriate and beneficial for your company.

Where to Submit Form: You can complete and submit the Articles of Incorporation form online at Starting an Illinois Corporation.

Filing Fee: There is a fee of $281.25 to file Articles of Incorporation in the state of Illinois.  

4. Create Other Illinois Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)

Once you have filed Articles of Incorporation for your corporation, you can start to think about taking certain other actions such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring a business license. You should also think about creating other types of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that indicate what will happen if an owner leaves the company. These documents are especially important if your corporation has multiple owners. It is best to consult an attorney when drafting these documents. An attorney will help you to comply with all the legal requirements that apply to your corporation. You may also choose to use one of the various corporate service companies that can assist corporations to prepare these types of documents for a fee.

5. Qualify Your Illinois Corporation to Do Business in Other States

You will need to qualify your corporation to do business in other states if the main office of your corporation is located outside of the state of Illinois. Most other states require you to qualify your corporation to do business in the state and will require you to pay taxes in your home state. To learn about how to qualify your corporation to do business in other states, go to Registering your Business in other states.

6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Illinois

All corporations registered in the state of Illinois are required to submit an annual report. The filing fee for this report is $75.00. You will need to provide current information about your corporation, your registered agent, and your officers. You can file online at Illinois Corporate Tax.

You will also need to pay Illinois state income taxes. You will need to file a corporate income tax return for your corporation and pay the necessary taxes. The tax rate in Illinois for corporations is 7.0% income tax and 2.5% replacement tax. It is best to have an accountant help you to prepare the tax documents for your corporation.  An accountant will help you to avoid mistakes in your tax documents that could cost you extra taxes. Information about the tax requirements for corporations in Illinois is available online at the official website of the Illinois Department of Revenue at Illinois Corporate Tax.

There are a lot of decisions to make when you are incorporating your small business, and some of these decisions can be complicated. The decisions can often be even more complicated if there are multiple owners of the corporation. But if you consult an attorney and an accountant during the incorporation process, you can feel more confident that your paperwork will be prepared correctly.

This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice.  This information is derived from various sources and should not be relied on as an official source of information. All information should be independently verified. You should consult a legal or accounting professional before incorporating your business.

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This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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