When you need to show that your Illinois business is in compliance with state law, you’ll likely need an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing (CGS). It might be needed to apply for government funding, to open a bank account, or to open your corporation or limited liability company (LLC) outside of Illinois. However, if the thought of obtaining a CGS, like all things bureaucratic, sounds daunting, we’re here to help! In this guide, we’ll explain the steps you need to take to get a Certificate of Good Standing.
What is an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing?
In Illinois, CGSs are issued by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
This legal document states that your business entity exists, that it’s allowed to conduct business in Illinois, and, most of all, that it’s in compliance with state regulations.
Being in compliance is a fundamental requirement to obtain your CGS. If you’re struggling with staying compliant, ZenBusiness is ready to lend a hand. We know how to keep you in good standing. With our worry free compliance service, you won’t have to worry anymore.
What does a Certificate of Good Standing confirm?
The release of a CGS confirms that your LLC or corporation has:
- Paid the necessary fees to the Secretary of State’s Office.
- Submitted its annual report.
- Paid franchise taxes.
None of the above is spelled out in the document. That’s because these three key aspects are the basic requirements to be eligible to receive a CGS.
The content of Illinois’s CGS will instead indicate the following:
- The date on which your business was intially allowed to transact business in the state.
- That on the date the Illinois CGS is issued your LLC or corporation is in compliance with state law.
- That your company is currently allowed to transact business in Illinois.
The actual document reads:
“I (SECRETARY OF STATE NAME), Secretary of State of the State of Illinois, do hereby certify that (COMPANY NAME) is an Illinois Corporation registered to transact business in Illinois on (FORMATION DATE). I further certify that all fees and documents required by the Secretary of State’s office have been received and is in good standing as far as this office is concerned.”
Why do you need an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing?
You might need a CGS for many reasons. It’s not mandatory, but it’s pretty common to be asked to provide a CGS for the following reasons.
- To do business outside of Illinois: An entity looking to expand outside of Illinois needs to provide an Illinois CGS to the state in which they want to operate to prove its compliance. It’s a common requirement across the United States.
- To secure funding (public or private): A funding agency might need to be sure that your business entity is in compliance before allocating funds.
- To open a business bank account: Not every bank requests one, but be prepared for the possibility.
- To purchase insurance for your business: It’s hard to get insurance if you’re not running a lawful business.
- To sign a contract with another business or with the state: Wouldn’t you want to know if your prospective business partner is doing things by the book or not?
- To renew certain permits and licenses: This is usually state- and business-specific, so check with the relevant authorities to see which applies to you.
What Illinois business entities can request a CGS?
Only entities registered with the state of Illinois can request a CGS.
Limited partnerships also need to file for registration and can lawfully request an Illinois CGS. Sole proprietorships don’t require registration and can’t get a CGS. However, if they’re operating under an assumed name (doing business as, or DBA), they need to register.
How do you get an Illinois Certificate of Good Standing?
There are two steps to get a CGS: Checking if you’re in compliance and then actually requesting it from the Secretary of State’s website.
Being in Compliance
To obtain a CGS, you need to be in compliance with all state laws. In other words, you need to have all your affairs in order. More specifically, it involves licenses, taxes, and annual reports.
Licenses to operate, such as building permits or commercial authorizations, are key. They can be different on federal, state, and local levels. Make sure you have all the right ones and that they haven’t expired.
Taxes and State Fees
Have you filed for your business’s taxes this year? If so, you’re good to go. Just be certain you’ve paid in time the ones that apply to your Illinois company, be it unemployment insurance tax or any other tax.
Illinois LLCs and corporations must file an annual report. This report/statement describes your corporation’s or LLC’s operations and asks you to confirm such information as the entity’s address, registered agent, managers, directors, and officers.
At ZenBusiness we know that managing so many things can be overwhelming even for the most organized business. That’s why we offer a worry free compliance service. This way, we’ll be doing the work for you, and you don’t have to agonize over it.
Requesting your Illinois Certificate of Good Standing
Once you’re sure you’re in compliance, don’t forget to double-check if you really need a CGS and if it will be valid for your intended use.
If you’re certain it is, you can choose your preferred way to request a CGS. In Illinois, this can be done online, by email, or by phone.
Start by signing in on the Illinois Secretary of State’s portal. Scroll down until you reach the “Certificate of Good Standing” paragraph, and click on “Purchase.” You’ll be redirected to a page from where you can request the CGS. You’ll need your business ID or business name to proceed. Once you’ve filled out the form, you’ll immediately be sent the document. Print it right away from the link on the receipt page or from the returned email.
As of 2021, corporations and LLCs must pay $25 for a CGS, and nonprofits are charged $5. The state accepts all major credit cards.
If you’d rather do this by email, you can complete the form on the website. You’ll be sent an email from which you can download the certificate.
Prices are the same as if you requested it online: $25 for corporations and LLCs and $5 for nonprofits. You can request to have the process expedited. In that case, it’ll be $45 for corporations and LLCs and $15 for nonprofits.
You can also call in and request it. For corporations, call (217) 782-6961. For LLC availability, call 217-524-8008 (information updated as of June 2021).
Prices are the same as online or by email: $25 for corporations and LLC, and $5 for nonprofit. You can request to have the process expedited. In that case, it’ll be $45 for corporations and LLC and $15 for nonprofit. You can pay while on the phone.
Compliance may not be simple to keep up with, especially when considering all the other aspects that make a business go round. At ZenBusiness, we understand that your business needs don’t stop after the business has been registered. ZenBusiness can help keep you in good standing with our worry free compliance service. With this service, we not only help keep your business in compliance, but we can also secure an Illinois CGS for you if you need one; you just pay the state fees. And, if you don’t have worry free compliance but still need a CGS, our Certificate of Good Standing service can help.
Illinois Certificate of Good Standing FAQs
How much does an Illinois CGS cost?
As of 2021, CGS fees are $25 for corporations and LLCs and $5 for nonprofits.
How long will it take to get my Illinois Certificate of Good Standing?
If you file online, you’ll receive the CGS within about 3 minutes. You can print it right away or download it.
Can I expedite an Illinois CGS request?
Yes, if you request your Illinois CGS by phone or by email. It’ll be $45 for corporations and LLCs and $15 for nonprofits.
Is a CGS required to stay compliant in Illinois?
No. A CGS isn’t required to stay compliant in Illinois. It’s actually the very opposite! You need to be compliant if you want to get an Illinois CGS. This means paying taxes and fees on time, filling out an annual report, and owning the appropriate licenses and permits.