No one likes dealing with red tape, but registering a business in Illinois is fairly straightforward. Online forms and accompanying support pages make it possible to register your business without an army of lawyers. Generally, you will be dealing with the Office of the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue. You may need to file with your county and town or city government.
Start with the federal government
You will need to apply to the IRS for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Although the EIN has employer in its title, it serves as a business’s taxpayer identification number, which is the equivalent of a social security number for all businesses, including those with no employees.
Select your business structure
If you plan to set up as a sole proprietor or partnership, you will need to register using your own name or names. To establish a business name different than your own name, you must file a DBA (Doing Business As) with your local county clerk’s office. Limited partnerships, LLCs and corporations must complete forms to take on an assumed name, and file an application with the Illinois Secretary of State. Before selecting a name for you business, search the Illinois Secretary of State office’s database of Corporate and LLCs to ensure your business name is not already in use.
Complete the Illinois business registration application
If you plan to hire employees, manufacture goods or buy and sell products, either retail or wholesale, you must register your business with the Illinois Department of Revenue for tax purposes. The quickest way to register is online at MyTaxIllinois. Online applications have a two-day processing time. If you prefer to register by mail, download the Illinois Business Registration Application (Form REG-1) for completion and submission to the Illinois Department of Revenue. Processing time for mailed applications is six to eight weeks. Once your application is processed, you will receive a Certificate of Registration and a taxpayer ID number. Display the certificate in a prominent place in your business. The Illinois Revenue Department will also send you forms needed to file your taxes with the state
Other forms you may need to file
If you are a professional who is offering services to the public, you may need a professional license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR) before registering your business. IDFPR regulates occupational and healthcare related professions. You can apply for a professional license at the IDFPR website.
Some counties and municipalities may have additional requirements. Check with the County Clerk’s office and the city or town hall where you want to do business to determine if you need to register with a local government agency.
Create a TaxNet account to pay unemployment insurance contributions
Most employers are required to make quarterly payments to the state Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). You will need an Unemployment Insurance ID number, even if you are not required to pay unemployment insurance taxes. Illinois Department of Employee Security streamlines the process with TaxNet, an online system for reporting and paying state taxes. From the TaxNet home page, follow screen prompts to create your account. In September 2017 however, TaxNet functions will be moved to My Tax Illinois, giving users a one-stop, taxpaying experience. The state will issue your unemployment insurance account number once your application has been accepted. You will be given the option of registering a bank account from which payment may be made, but this is not required.
This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse