What Business Licenses and Permits are Needed in Illinois?

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Starting a business in Illinois will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state and local agencies.  Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Illinois.

Business License – There is no general state of Illinois business license, however many cities require businesses to be licensed in order to operate. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does.  Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements. 

Chicago – The Small Business Center issues business licenses for businesses operating in the City of Chicago, regulating industries such as retail stores, food establishments, day care centers, manufacturing facilities, auto repair shops and many more. 

The cost of a business license in Chicago can be pretty pricey, ranging from $165 for a day care facility to as high as $6,600 for caterers located outside of city limits.

Aurora The City of Aurora requires a business license for liquor establishments, pawn shops, second hand stores, home-based day cares and more.  

Rockford – Businesses such as junk yards, towing services, bowling alleys and more will need to register with the city.  Costs for a business license in Rockford vary but range from $50 for a massage establishment to over $1,600 for a business offering adult entertainment.

JolietBusiness registration is required for any company operating in the corporate limits of the city.  Additionally, certain businesses such as billiard halls, food service establishments, tattoo artists, ice cream trucks and more have to register with the Office of the City Clerk

Springfield – The City Clerk’s Office issues business licenses for entities operating bowling alleys, florists, funeral homes and more.  Most business licenses in Springfield cost less than $50.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) – Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN or Employer Identification Number.  The EIN is the business equivalent for a Social Security Number for an individual.  Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number. 

There is no cost for an EIN and it only takes a few minutes to get.

Learn how to apply for an EIN.

Illinois Business Tax Number – The Illinois Business Tax Number (IBT) is an identification number issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue.  Sometimes known as the REG-1 Form, it requires the IBT for all businesses planning to hire employees, buying or selling products (sometimes referred to as a sales tax permit), or manufacturing goods.

There is no cost to register for an Illinois Business Tax Number and is usually processed in 2-3 business days.

Resale Certificate – Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain an Illinois Resale Certificate in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.

Professional License – A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services.  A few common professions that require licensing in Illinois include; physical therapists, interior designers, detectives, cosmetologists, barbers, massage therapists and many more.   Additional information, fees and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

In addition to professional licensing, there are a few other types of businesses that need licensing that are not covered by IDFPR, a few of which include:
Car dealers
Businesses selling liquor
Food establishments

Assumed Name Registration – While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the County Clerk’s Office in the county where the business is located.



These are a few of the most common business licenses, but there are way too many licenses and permits in Illinois for us to keep track of. Before starting your business, check with the City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.  Additionally, there are companies like IncFile or CorpNet that can do the research to ensure you have the proper federal, state and local licenses.