In Illinois, LLC is one of the most common business structures, though the same could be said for most states.
Such wide popularity of the limited liability company as an entity type can be attributed to the personal asset protection this structure offers when its owners face business debt litigations.
Not to mention that starting an LLC in Illinois is more time-efficient compared to registering other business types.
To run your own business, you must first complete the process of registering an LLC. One of the key LLC formation steps is filing the Article of Organization with the state.
What are the Articles of Organization in Illinois?
The Articles of Organization is an official document containing all relevant information about the company that seeks registration. In some states, the articles can also be referred to as the Certificate of Organization or the Certificate of Formation.
In order to complete the Articles of Organization, Form LLC-5.5 must be filed with the Illinois Secretary of State. The processing times in Illinois can be either standard (10-day processing), or expedite (24-48 hour processing).
Keep in mind that the only copy of the Articles of Organization you will have is the one printed out after your initial filing to make the LLC official in Illinois.
To file your LLC Articles of Organization, you must fill out the official form by answering a series of questions and submit it with the state along with the mandatory filing fee. In Illinois, the fee is $150 but you can pay the charge online using your credit card.
Preparing to File Your Illinois Articles of Organization
And now for the most crucial part of registration: drafting the Articles of Organization (Form LLC-5.5). First, you will need to download the form on the official website of Illinois SoS, then fill it out in a compliant fashion.
Despite its importance, this document is fairly short and easy to complete, provided you collect all the necessary information beforehand. So let’s examine the information you will need for the articles point-by-point.
- Choose an LLC Name: state the preferred name of your future LLC, but be sure to check its availability before doing so; the name has to be identical to the one you plan to use for running your business down to the last letter and including the business designation (either L.L.C. or LLC);
- Register your business address: fill out the full address your LLC is registered at; this could be your home address, official business address, or any other address authorized to conduct business in Illinois;
- Write the name and address of your Registered Agent in Illinois: your registered agent address must be a valid postal address in the state of Illinois (P.O. boxes are not a valid form of address); if you hired a formation service that provided you with a Illinois Registered Agent, simply put the company’s name and address; some services also provide separate registered agent addresses for this purpose;
- Choose an incorporation date: if you’re forming an LLC in October, November, or December, we recommend postponing the filing until January 1 to extend your taxation period to 1-3 months, provided such postponement fits your business plan;
- Describe the purpose of your company: here you will outline the main goals for your business, its mission statement and LLC’s business activities;
- Indicate the duration of your company: an LLC can have perpetual or limited duration; if you place a limit on the existence of your company, be sure to indicate the date of dissolution; if your company is perpetual, leave this field blank;
- List the names and addresses for each LLC member or manager: if you choose to shift the LLC management from its ownership group to a hired group of managers, indicate all names and addresses of the managerial body; if your LLC is managed by its owner(s), fill this field with the names and addresses of all participating owners;
- Provide the names, addresses and signatures of the organizers: don’t forget to indicate the name and address of the individual that fills out the Articles of Organization also called the LLC organizer;
- Mail the form to the Secretary of State: before filling the form, check it again to make sure you included all required information; any incorrectly completed form could result in the state rejecting your application, and you will have no choice but do it all over again, possibly missing your planned launch date.
Where to file Illinois Articles of Organization?
Once you fill out the Articles of Organization and pay the processing fee, it’s time to file the document with the state of Illinois.
There are 3 ways to send the application: online, by mail, or in person. The filing method should be selected based on the requirements of your company and your launch due dates.
Online filings are by far the easiest and fastest and can be processed within 24 hours. Such expediency quite naturally affects the pricing of these applications.
The regular filing option ($150 filing fee) of the Articles of Organization may take up to several weeks, and the online filing option ($250 filing fee) asks for an extra hundred dollars to process it within the day of submitting the application.
Still, online registration of the Articles of Organization comes with several restrictions:
- lack of the enure date;
- the general purpose clause must be utilized;
- the LLC will have indefinite duration;
- optional provisions could be omitted;
- LLC ownership/managerial group must consist of no fewer than 8 members;
- the LLC will have only one organizer.
After filling out the form, you must submit it via CyberDrive Illinois filing portal.
To submit a hard copy by mail, you must first download the form, print it out, and then complete it according to regulations.
Then you need to include your payment of the $150 filing fee and mail two copies of the paper application to the following address:
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62746
The average processing time is 10-15 business days. With this filing option, expedited processing is not available. More information in regards to submitting applications by mail can be found on the Illinois Secretary of State website.
If you prefer to hand-deliver your materials, Illinois keeps this application option available. To apply in person, you will need to pay the filing fee and submit proof of payment along with the filled-out form at the following physical address:
Illinois Secretary of State
Division of Business Services
69 W. Washington St., Suite 1240
Chicago, IL 60602
In-person filings can be processed regularly within 10-15 days for $150 or you can pay $250 for the expedited 24-hour processing.
The processing times are not determinative of their quality. If you don’t have any deadlines for opening your business, simply go with the regular filing option.