Get Mark Cuban's recommended LLC service (ZenBusiness) for $0 + state fees. Alternatively, you can compare the top services below.
Rated #1 by Mark Cuban, Forbes, & NerdWallet
If you’re looking for the best LLC website overall, go with us at ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness is a Texas-based company that has helped form more than 400,000 businesses since 2015, with positive reviews online to back it up.
What’s unique is that we are a socially conscious organization focused on doing good while growing as a company. ZenBusiness has a partnership with Kiva.org to help lift people out of poverty through financial lending and loan money to help women- and minority-owned businesses get off the ground.
If you want to form an LLC with a socially conscious provider and get the best overall value, choose ZenBusiness.
With LegalZoom, you’re getting LLC service from the biggest name in this industry. With millions of customers and a sky-high advertising budget, LegalZoom has a ton of name recognition. The company also has a mostly positive customer feedback reputation.
However, LegalZoom’s baseline LLC package costs $79 (plus your state’s fee) and doesn’t include many features. If you prioritize customer volume and brand power, LegalZoom’s prices might be worth paying, but there are definitely cheaper options out there.
Between LegalZoom and ZenBusiness, your decision may depend on what type of company you like to work with. Both companies have plenty of experience and know how to get your LLC formed in a compliant manner. However, while LegalZoom is a massive corporation, ZenBusiness has more of a personal touch.
With ZenBusiness, you’ll receive more responsive and consistent customer support, significantly lower prices, and no-nonsense LLC formation packages.
Northwest offers personalized customer support that many customers appreciate, but you’ll have to pay a high price to get it. That’s because Northwest charges at least $225 to form your LLC, compared to ZenBusiness’ free offer. Even though Northwest includes a year of registered agent service, we still don’t think they come close to matching the Zen value proposition.
If registered agent service is a high priority for you, Northwest could be a good fit, as they have reasonable rates for this service. In addition, while most competitors typically only scan the government documents they’re legally required to scan, Northwest scans all documents they receive on your behalf.
Northwest gets good customer feedback too, but its reviews number in the hundreds compared to the 10,000+ reviews for ZenBusiness. And, just to reiterate, we can save you $225 over Northwest for LLC formation service.If personalized support is something you highly value, Northwest Registered Agent is a solid choice. If not, you can save hundreds of dollars by going with a competitor like ZenBusiness.
IncFile is one of just two companies we’re aware of that can match ZenBusiness’ offer of a free LLC formation that only requires you to pay your state’s fee. IncFile even includes a year of registered agent service in every one of its LLC formation packages, including the free option.
IncFile also competes on even footing with ZenBusiness in the realm of customer feedback — both companies have great average scores and 10,000+ reviews. And did we mention both of these companies will form your new LLC for free?
Customer service is one area where IncFile lags behind competitors like ZenBusiness. At times, IncFile’s response times leave much to be desired, and we’ve even had several support emails go unanswered. Here at ZenBusiness, we pride ourselves in our helpful and responsive customer service.
If you want a free LLC service and ZenBusiness doesn’t feel like a good fit for some reason, give IncFile a look.
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It was pain-free and wildly easier than I expected. ZenBusiness provided trustworthy guidance so that I could pour my energy into the business itself rather than the process!
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We invite you to take a look at our comprehensive guide to forming a limited liability company in Illinois. This article walks you through the LLC formation process in this state step by step, ensuring that you don’t miss any crucial elements.
One of the most important steps in forming an Illinois LLC is choosing a business name. Once you come up with ideas for your name, you should search through the Secretary of State’s corporation and LLC search to make sure your desired name is available. For more information on conducting a business name search in Illinois, check out our full article on the topic.
You can fill out the Illinois Articles of Organization on the Secretary of State’s website.
All LLCs operating in the state of Illinois are required to submit an annual report to the Secretary of State. It’s due by the first day of your anniversary month each year, and there is a $75 filing fee.
Chances are, you’ll require at least one license or permit to operate your LLC in compliance with Illinois state law. Unfortunately, Illinois does a poor job of explaining its business licensing requirements, as the state’s official Registrations, Licenses, and Permits webpage includes little valuable info. We recommend checking with any relevant state agencies, along with your municipal and county governments, to find out what licenses you might need.
Online filings typically take around 24 hours for the Secretary of State to process. If you don’t file online, the Secretary of State should be able to process your LLC’s formation within 7-10 business days.
If you want more details about what these companies can offer in this state, or you’d like to take a look at some other options, check out our complete guide to Illinois registered agents.
Unfortunately, not all businesses last forever. If the time comes when you need to close your LLC’s doors, you’ll need to do so in a manner consistent with the state’s regulations. That’s why we wrote our guide to Illinois LLC dissolutions, so you can complete the process in a compliant manner.
If your LLC already exists in another state, you don’t actually need to “form” it in Illinois. Instead, you’ll need to foreign qualify the business in this state. This process is somewhat similar to LLC formation, but there are some crucial differences as well. Take a look at our guide to foreign qualifications in Illinois for more information.
LLCs are formal legal entities that are typically taxed similarly to sole proprietorships and general partnerships, in that the owners include any company profits or losses into their personal returns — the LLC itself does not owe income taxes.
An LLC may also elect to be taxed like a corporation, although this is not a very common option.
There are similarities to corporations too, especially when it comes to financial responsibilities. In an LLC, the owners or members are not usually personally accountable for the financial status of the business. This means that if someone sues your LLC, your personal assets are not at risk.
While Illinois does not legally require LLCs to create an operating agreement, it’s still strongly recommended. This document can help clear up any disagreements between your owners, and it’s also just generally convenient to have a roadmap of your LLC’s operational aspects.
In Illinois, you’ll pay $250 for online LLC formations and $150 for those filed on paper forms (online submissions are automatically expedited for 24-hour service, hence the additional $100 fee). You can pay by check, money order, or credit/debit card. It typically takes the state 24 hours or less to process online submissions, while those on paper take 7-10 business days.
The ongoing LLC maintenance requirements in Illinois include the annual report. You need to file it by the first day of your anniversary month each year, and there is a $75 filing fee.
In addition to the costs of a business formation service or hiring an attorney (which are optional, as we’ve discussed), there are quite a few other required and optional expenses when forming and maintaining an Illinois business. You cannot form an LLC in Illinois without filing the Articles of Organization, the document that officially registers your business within the state. Illinois charges a $150 filing fee for paper forms or $250 for expedited paper forms and online submissions.
No matter what entity type you form, your business will need to file the Annual Report each year. This is a simple filing, but it keeps the state up-to-date about certain vital but basic information about your business, like your address and registered agent. This filing will cost you $75 annually.
There are also taxes to consider. In Illinois, pass-through entities pay just the personal income tax. Corporations, however, will pay the corporate income tax and a replacement tax. Beyond that, you will also have to pay federal taxes, along with several others.
For instance, if you have employees, you’ll pay unemployment insurance tax. If you sell goods or services, you’ll pay sales and use tax. Depending on the nature of your business, there could be other taxes required, so check with the Illinois Department of Revenue to make sure.
Other than that, the other potential expenses only apply to certain businesses. These include things like professional or industry-specific business licenses and business insurance.
An LLC is one of the most popular entity types nationwide. But it isn’t the right type for everyone.
Only you can pick which entity type best fits you and your business; after all, you understand your business idea better than anyone. You have a clear vision for your products and services, both present and future.
To truly determine whether an LLC is right for you, it’s helpful to consider the advantages and disadvantages of LLCs.
There are some common aspects of the LLC and the corporation, starting with the personal asset protection they both provide. Also known as limited liability, this personal asset protection ensures that if your business is sued, only the business assets are at risk. Meanwhile, your personal assets — like your house, car, personal bank accounts, investments, etc. — are protected by your LLC or corporation’s business structure.
In addition, LLCs and corporations both provide their owners with business name exclusivity. If you own and operate a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you will not have exclusive rights to your business name. Instead, if another company decides to use your name as its own, you won’t be able to stop them. In fact, they could even register your business name and gain exclusive rights to it, forcing you to come up with a new one.
In general, an LLC is quicker and easier to form than a corporation. LLCs usually need to provide less information for their formation documents than corporations do, and there are fewer steps in the process as well. For instance, LLCs don’t need to draft corporate bylaws, name officers or board members, hold initial board meetings, or issue stock. On the other hand, corporations need to do all of these things and more.
The LLC is also a less rigid business structure that allows its owners greater flexibility. The business structure of a corporation is inflexible, with many regulations dictating how the business should look and function. Meanwhile, LLCs have options for business management structure and ownership responsibilities that corporations simply don’t have.
Another even more valuable option LLCs have is that they can choose how they want to be taxed. Most LLCs are taxed as pass-through entities, which means the business itself does not pay taxes, but the profits are passed through the LLC itself to its owners, who pay taxes on this money on their personal returns. However, LLCs can also opt to be taxed like corporations (either as a C corporation or an S corporation), giving them more options for taxation than a corporation has.
Corporations have some advantages too, like the ability to sell stock. It’s quite difficult for an LLC to attract outside investments because it cannot issue stock. The vast majority of investors prefer stock as their investment medium, and it’s also very rare to see venture capitalists investing in LLCs. For these reasons, the corporation is a much better option for businesses looking to attract investments.
In addition, the corporation has been around for hundreds of years, while the LLC is a newer addition to the American business landscape. This means that the corporation has more established legalities and also that it’s easier to expand into other states because the corporation’s structure is essentially the same no matter where you form it.
Technically speaking, you don’t have to use an LLC formation service like ZenBusiness or LegalZoom. These services are incredibly helpful, but you can save money by completing the process yourself.
You can read our complete guide to DIY an LLC setup in Illinois, but here’s a quick look at the process:
Every LLC in Illinois needs a name that’s memorable and gives potential clients a good idea of what goods or services are available. The name also needs to be unique—both for legal reasons and so your business stands out from the competition.
As we’ve mentioned in this guide, every LLC needs an agent who can accept service of process on your behalf. In all states, you can act as your own registered agent as long as you have a physical address in the state. That said, we generally recommend that you appoint someone else (like an online service) to act as your agent.
This document, once filled out and filed, officially forms your business in the state of Illinois. You’ll need to provide some important information, including your contact information, your business address, signatures for your LLC’s members, and more. Illinois has a $150 filing fee.
Setting up the LLC is as easy as 1-2-3; it’s the maintenance requirements that are a bit more complicated:
If you have employees, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. Then there are state-specific taxes, too. If you are taxed as a corporation, you’ll pay income taxes at a rate of 7% plus a 2.5% replacement tax. LLCs taxed as individuals will pay the individual rate: 4.95%. Then there’s the sales tax to account for (6.25%). You can find more information about these and other miscellaneous taxes at the Illinois Department of Revenue.
There’s no general state business license in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to get professional licenses, such as those listed on the Registration, Licenses, & Permits page of the Illinois government website.
Even single-member LLCs should create a “master document” that sets out how the business will operate, both now and in the future.
Each year, your LLC will need to file an annual report to update the state about the standing of your business. It’s due each year before the first day of your LLC’s formation month. The state charges a $75 filing fee for this document.
Every business with employees needs to maintain workers’ compensation insurance and a commercial vehicle policy for company-owned vehicles. You may also want to get a general business liability policy, too.
You should sign up for a business bank account so you can write checks and make purchases in the name of the business instead of pulling from your personal accounts (a legal no-no).
This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. For more detailed guidance, we recommend contacting an attorney or checking out the full Illinois LLC Formation Guide.
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