Whether you’re researching the availability of a business name or checking the status of a business entity, find the information you need from the Illinois Secretary of State website.
The Secretary of State Business Entity Database provides information for corporations and LLCs registered in Illinois. The names of sole proprietorships or general partnerships are not centralized and are registered with the County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is located. Learn how to register a DBA in Illinois.
There is no fee to search the database.
What information can be looked up?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Entity Name
- Status – Active means the business is in Good Standing with the Secretary of State and all reports and filing fees are up to date
- Type of LLC – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent or IncFile so their home address isn’t listed.
- Principal Office – This could by the actual address of the business entity or it could be an address where the business records are stored.
How to do an Illinois Business Name Search
Visit the Illinois Secretary of State website.
1.Enter the name you would like to use in the “Search” field. In this example, we will look up the business name “American Lawn Care”.
2. Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “American Lawn Care”. To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Illinois, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about a registered business name, click on the link with the business name.
3. Clicking on the link for “American Lawn Care LLC” brings a detailed report.
4. While the name “American Lawn Care” may not be available another variant like “American Lawns” is. Searching for those business names, brings a result that says there were no matching entries. While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Illinois. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
How do I form an LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form an Illinois LLC by reading our step-by-step guide on filing the Articles of Organization.
While not required in Illinois, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Illinois business licenses and permits may still be necessary.