A limited liability company, or LLC, provides legal protection for personal assets similar to that offered by a corporation, but it is less complicated and requires fewer fees, formalities, and paperwork.
Forming an LLC in Chicago is not a difficult process if you follow all the steps required by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Arguably, the hardest part of the process is coming up with the original business idea.
Choose a company name that is memorable and appropriate for your business. Note that Illinois law requires that the words “limited liability company”, “L.L.C.” or “LLC” were incorporated into the business name LLC.
Contact the Cook County Clerk’s office to verify that the desired company name is available and then to the US Patent and Trademark Office to verify that a similar name is already registered. Also check if a web domain is available for your desired company name. While it’s not essential to starting an LLC, you’ll find it’s very important for marketing your new business. Once you’ve decided on a name, consider registering it as a federal and/or state trademark.
Consult with a Chicago business attorney to discuss your business plan. While you can form an LLC without a lawyer, consulting with someone who has experience with the laws and regulations in your area can be invaluable. The lawyer can also list any local licenses your particular business may require.
File the Charter of the Organization with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. This short form asks for the contact information of LLC members and the name of the LLC. In most cases, this can be done online at the Secretary of State’s website. This site also lists the current registration fees.
Request an EIN or employer identification number from the tax office. You can apply for an EIN online and there is no registration fee. An EIN is required for tax purposes and is required before you can open your new business in Chicago.
Apply for a tax identification number with the Illinois Department of Revenue. All businesses operating in the City of Chicago are required to obtain a state tax identification number. You can register your business online at the Illinois Department of Revenue website.
Obtain a business license from the City of Chicago. All businesses operating within the city must have a city-issued business license. You can apply for this license online from the City of Chicago website or in person at the City Hall’s Office of Business and Consumer Protection.
Open a checking account at a local bank. You must keep business finances separate from your personal finances, even if you were originally the sole employee of your company. Try to keep all your banking transactions in one place to establish a relationship between your business and the bank. These relationships can be helpful as your business expands and your banking needs grow.