Illinois Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Illinois?

Starting a business in Illinois means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.


Whether you’re an experienced or prospective business owner in Illinois, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Illinois business filing fees. Illinois businesses face both one-time Illinois formation fees and ongoing state and local government fees, and making sure all these fees are paid is an important part of keeping your business state compliant. Although this might sound a little scary, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a guide to the most common fees that your Illinois business might encounter, and how our tools and services can help make this process easier.

Step 1: Pay your Illinois business’s initial filing fees

Initial Illinois filing fees are the fees paid to the state to become a registered or statutory business. Usually, a statutory business entity, like a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, will pay one-time formation fees. The fees for forming a new statutory entity in Illinois (whether a corporation or LLC) are available on the Illinois Secretary of State’s Business Services website. The formation documents that require paying a one-time Illinois formation fee include:

  • Forming an LLC 
  • Forming a corporation

Forming a statutory business in Illinois typically takes around three weeks if done online or by mail. Illinois offers 24-hour expedited service for an additional fee. Businesses are typically able to access the expedited service through the online portal. However, always contact the Secretary of State’s office to confirm availability. We can help if you use our LLC Formation Service or Corporation Formation Service.

We can also help get your Illinois business moving with our Expedited Filing Service. We’ve worked with folks from across the country to help them achieve their dreams of becoming Illinois business owners.

Step 2: Reserve your Illinois business’s name 

If you know you want to start a business but you’re not quite ready to form the entity, the Secretary of State will allow you to reserve a business name for up to 90 days. All you have to do is complete a form and pay a small fee. We can assist with our helpful Name Reservation Service, which does this for you.

Step 3: Reserve a “Doing Business As” name in Illinois

A “doing business as” (DBA) name is used when a company operates under a name that’s not its legal name. This is sometimes known as an assumed name. DBAs usually only apply when you’re operating a business under a name other than your own or the business’s legal name. In Illinois, assumed name fees are paid every five years. When you pay your fee, make sure you understand how Illinois charges for DBA renewals, as the renewal fees can be complicated.

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is like a social security number for your business and is issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. It is needed for an Illinois business to pay taxes, open bank accounts, and conduct almost all business transactions. Your business can obtain an EIN free online from the IRS, but we have an EIN number service that can spare you the hassle of dealing with this governmental entity. 

Step 5: Draft an Operating Agreement, Corporate Bylaws, or Partnership Agreement for your Illinois business

An Operating Agreement can be the bedrock of your business. However, in Illinois, you’re not required by law to have one on file. Even though you don’t need to create foundational business documents or file them with the state, Operating Agreements, Bylaws, and other agreements are still very important. We offer businesses an online LLC Operating Agreement template, which can help you create an Operating Agreement and customize this template to your business’s needs.

Step 6: Apply for your Illinois business’s necessary licenses and permits

Both new and experienced entrepreneurs won’t be surprised to find that most businesses need licenses or permits of some sort to operate. The State of Illinois doesn’t require a “general business license,” but some cities and counties within the state might. Additionally, you will probably need a variety of federal, state, and local licenses and permits beyond a general business license. Our Business License Service can help you find what licensing you need to get started.

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

A foreign corporation or LLC means a business registered in another state. If you’re trying to register your foreign company in Illinois, you’ll have to complete a Form BCA 13.15, Authority to Transact Business in Illinois. You’ll also have to pay a one-time Illinois filing fee, a franchise tax fee, and any applicable late fees.

Most states also require you to get a “Certificate of Good Standing” (also known as a Certificate of Existence for Illinois LLCs) from your state of origin before doing business in that state. Illinois businesses can obtain these online from the Secretary of State for a small fee.

Step 8: Check Illinois’ Annual Report requirements and fees

An Illinois corporation, LLC, or limited partnership needs to file an annual report with the state each year. The Illinois filing fees vary depending upon the type of entity. We have a terrific Annual Report Service to help you navigate the annual report process. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Step 9: Keep your Illinois business legally compliant

When you make changes to your business’s public information, you may need to let the State of Illinois know. These changes can include:

  • Changing your registered agent
  • Making material changes to your ownership structure
  • Changing certain material facts in your formation documents
  • Changing your business name
  • Making certain other changes to public information

The fee amounts for these changes vary depending on your business type. We offer an Amendment Service to help you stay on top of your amendment obligations. We also offer our Worry-Free Compliance Service, which includes two amendments each year (you only pay the filing fee). 

We can help your Illinois company stay on track

We can help keep you on track with services like our Worry-Free Compliance Service. We can help you with your filings so you can stay focused on what matters: Your business.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.


  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Illinois?

    It depends. Sometimes late fees will apply. Other times, your license or permit will simply lapse. Be sure to check with the correct agency if you’re worried about paying your fees on time.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Illinois government?

    Check with the State of Illinois. There may be small business owner programs that can assist you with resources and ideas.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Illinois business?

    Fees are paid to the Illinois Secretary of State.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Illinois business?

    The size of your fees will vary and can depend on the nature and form of your business.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Illinois government?

    The State of Illinois accepts credit cards and, where applicable, checks. It doesn’t accept cash. Make sure to check with the agency you’re paying your fees to.

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