Our work is reader-supported, meaning that we may earn a commission from the products and services mentioned.

How to Register an Assumed Business Name in Illinois

How to Register an Assumed Business Name in Illinois

In Illinois, a business operating under a fictitious name will need to register a DBA.  Learn more about what a DBA is, who needs one, and how to register.

Related: How to start a business in Illinois

What is a DBA?

An Assumed Business Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” or “DBA,” “Trade Name,” or “Fictitious Business Name,” is a name used by a business that is different from the legal name
of the business.   

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Illinois, like most states, requires the business to register its business name.  The registration requirement was designed to protect consumers from business owners hiding anonymously behind the name of a business.  Business name registrations are legislated under Illinois Compiled Statutes 805 ILCS 405 and 805 ILCS 5-4.15.

What is an Assumed Business Name good for?

An Assumed Business Name is required for Illinois businesses that want to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the owners or entity. The DBA registration provides information on the people operating a business, so if there is an issue, the owners of a business can be tracked down.  

In addition to the legal requirement, an Assumed Name offers other benefits such as proving the existence of a business, opening a business bank account, registering a merchant account to accept credit cards, and others.

Who needs to register for an Illinois Assumed Business Name?

The requirements and need to register for an Assumed Name vary depending on the type of business entity. 

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are the most common entities to register for a DBA. 

The legal name of a sole proprietor or partnership can be the full legal name of the owner(s), which can be used without registering in Illinois.  For example, if John Smith starts a business repairing computers but doesn’t use a business name, he doesn’t have to register.  If John decides to name his business John’s Computer Repair, he will need to register. 

Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Partnerships won’t typically register a fictitious name since a unique entity name is created during the formation process.  Some will file for a DBA if they have another business they want to operate under their corporate/LLC/LP/LLP umbrella to keep the liability protection without having to form another entity.

How much does a DBA cost in Illinois?

The cost for a Sole proprietorship or partnership to register their Assumed Name varies by county but expect a filing fee of $20-$50 to the County Clerk and $40-$100 for the publication of the legal notice.  This is a one-time cost unless the business changes location.

The filing fee for corporations and LLCs vary depending on the year they are applying.  The cost is $150 if the current year ends with a 0 or 5; $120 if the current year ends with a 1 or 6; $90 if the current year ends with a 2 or 7; $60 if the current year ends with a 3 or 8; or $30 if the current year ends with a 4 or 9. 

Corporation and LLC name registrations are renewed every five years from the date of their anniversary month.

What are the steps to filing an Assumed Name in Illinois?

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships

Some counties will have a different order of steps and allow a business to obtain their Certificate of Assumed Name before publishing the legal notice.  In this instance, proof of the publication must be submitted to the County Clerk’s office no later than 50 days from the application date.

Step 1: Obtain the Form

Obtain the Assumed Business Name Application from the local County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is physically located.  A handful of counties have this form available to download, but most require the form to be picked up in person. 

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Information that is commonly requested includes:

  • Name and address of the business owner
  • The business name being applied for
  • What the business does

In most counties, the form will need to be notarized before filing.

Step 3: Legal Notice Publication

A legal notice is required to be published in a newspaper that has circulation in the
county where the business is located BEFORE filing the name registration form.  Many counties will provide a list of available publications.

This notice will be published once a week for three consecutive weeks.  

Contact the newspaper of your choice.  Once the notice runs, the newspaper will send
proof of publication as an affidavit or Certificate of Publication and a copy of the original ad proving the notice ran. 

Step 4: Submit Application

Take the Assumed Business Name Certificate form and the affidavit to the County Clerk’s office along with the filing fee and submit. 

Certificate of Assumed Name will be created, typically while you wait.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Swyft Filings, MyCompanyWorks, and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Corporations, LLCs, LLPs, & LPs

Step 1: Download the Form

Download the form from the Secretary of State’s website:

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Information on the form includes:

  • Legal name of the entity
  • State of formation
  • Date formed
  • Name being requested
  • Name and title of an officer of the entity

Step 3: Submit the Form

Send the form and filing fee to:

Corporations adopting an assumed name
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
501 S. Second St., Rm. 350
Springfield, IL 62756

LLCs adopting an assumed name
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the:
Illinois Secretary of State – Department of Business Services
217-782-9520

Are there any naming restrictions when filing an Illinois DBA?

An Assumed Business Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.

Names can’t be registered using words that are related to banking or insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Also, Assumed Names can’t include any words that may refer to a government agency, such as CIA, FBI, Treasury, etc.

Does Illinois Require a DBA?

Any Illinois sole proprietorship or partnership that wants to do business under a name that is different from the owner’s full name or an Illinois corporation or LLC that wants to operate under a name that is different from the legal name of the entity is required to register the name.

How long does a DBA last in Illinois

The length that an Assumed Business Name is valid in Illinois depends on the business structure.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships last forever, while corporations and LLCs will last for five years.

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called a business tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Illinois