Visitors of the Illinois Secretary of State website will notice that there are in fact 5 different variations on the corporate structure available for filing. We’ve done our best to effectively relay the filing requirements for each entity type in our detailed tutorial below. If filing online (available only for business and not-for-profit entities), you will noticed an obligatory $100 has been added to your total upon concluding the filing process. This fee has been tacked on because the filing will then be immediately submitted online to the office of the Secretary of State thus the response time should be limited to 24 hours.

Regardless of the corporation variety you’ve elected to file for, a preparatory name availability inquiry will allow you to discern whether or not your corporate name is available for use in Illinois. As each corporation must operate under a name which is distinctly unique to that entity, the use of the Business Entity Search may prove to be a practical measure. You may also wish to look into the benefits of a Name Reservation by visiting our online tutorial dedicated to the filing.

How to File a Business Corporation (Online)

Step 1- It would be wise to review the requirements and limitations for a corporation which is able to take advantage of the online filing system. For example, it will be necessary for this business to issue only one class of stock and to utilize the pre-determined default purpose inserted into the online articles. Take a moment to review the conditions for qualification on this website displayed below. When you’ve finished reading, click Continue providing that you meet the requirements.

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Step 2- Begin by supplying your unique corporate name into the field provided. Remember that it must contain the words or abbreviations of: Corporation, Company, Incorporated, Limited, Corp., Co., Inc., or Ltd.

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Step 3- You will be asked to supply the name of your registered agent as well as their full address. Of course this individual or businesses principle address will need to reside in the state of Illinois. On the following page they’ll display the registered agent to ensure that they have the correct address. Click Address is Correct to continue.

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Step 4- Here is where you will enter the number of shares of your common stock, the number proposed to be issued at a later date without reporting to the Secretary of State as well as the monetary compensation to be received in exchange for the shares.

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Step 5- As previously stated, you will need to agree to the default general purpose prescribed by the Secretary of State. Ensure that there is no specific purpose for which you have incorporated before clicking Continue and accepting the terms.

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Step 6- Next they will provide you with the sum total of all expenses related to this filing. This fee will be displayed again later on so simply proceed to the next step.

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Step 7- As the applying incorporator, you will need to attest that the information submitted on the behalf of your corporation is true. This step can be accomplished by simply typing your name and full address into the empty fields and clicking Submit.

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Step 8- The articles summary will provide you with the opportunity to conclusively edit any previously submitted data before continuing to the payment of the filing fees. If all seems to be in order, continue to the final step in your registration.

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Step 9- Here they have summarized  the total of the filing costs. You can choose your method of payment to proceed to the credit card payment page where you can enter the required credentials needed for making the purchase. The payment of the filing fee will signify the completion of your registration. Correspondence should be received by email within 1-2 business days confirming or denying your initial formation documents.

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How to File a Not-for-Profit Corporation (Online)

Step 1- As in the case with the business corporation online filing procedure, there are certain specifications made for the type of entity which can utilize the Secretary of State website for the submission of their registration forms. Take a moment to ensure that your not-for-profit entity meets the requirements by navigating to this website. If you’re satisfied with the contents of the proposed online articles, continue to the next step.

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Step 2- The first step in the articles is to submit the name of your new corporation into the provided field. Click Continue to advance to the next step.

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Step 3- On this page you will need to supply the name of your registered agent followed by their address, city, county and zip code. After clicking Continue, they will verify whether the address you entered is indeed the principle office of your registered agent.

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Step 4- You will now enter the name and address of each member of your initial board of directors. You will need to incorporate with a minimum of 3 members on your board in order to qualify for online filing. Once all directors have been acknowledged, advance to the subsequent page.

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Step 5- Here you will be presented with a list of business purposes. Select the ones which apply to your corporation.

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Step 6- A series of yes or no questions will have you answering whether your entity is one of the following: a Condominium Association established under the Condominium Property Act, a Cooperative Housing Corporation, Homeowner’s Associate which administers a common-interest community. If none of that applies to you, select no for all the above and continue to the final steps in your incorporation process.

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Step 7- They will remind you here that you should expect to pay a filing fee. This fee is something we already know so simply click Continue as we’ll take care of the payment later on.

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Step 8- As the business representative of your corporation you will need to attest the information you’ve submitted into the registration forms. This step will involve contributing your name and address to the articles before clicking Submit.

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Step 9- Below is an example of the information summary review they offer at this juncture in the application process. You will notice the blue Edit links on the top right of each article. These will allow you to go back to the section of the registration process and alter any incorrectly submitted information.

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Step 10- Finally, you will be able to conclude your online filing with the payment of the filing fee. On the first page review the transaction fee for a second time before choosing your payment method. On a secondary page you will be able to submit your credit card info and contact information at which you will be notified as to the acceptance or rejection of your submission.

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How to File (PDF)

Step 1- If you have chosen to file by PDF, it is likely due to the fact that you are not eligible for online filing. Fortunately the Articles of Incorporation for each entity type are fairly straight forward and differ only slightly from each other. For this reason we’ve incorporated each form into this one step-by-step tutorial. You can begin by downloading the articles which apply to your corporation type below.

Step 2- At this juncture you will be able to enter all the information into the PDF document on your computer. Let’s begin with the articles of a Business Corporation as this is the most common type of domestic entity featured in this tutorial. To file, you will need to provide the following:

  • 1-Corporate name
  • 2-Initial registered agent name and address
  • 3-Purposes for which corporation is organized (if necessary attach additional 8×11 sheets to accommodate the full description)
  • 4-(Paragraph 1)-The class, number of authorized shares, number of shares proposed to be issued and the monetary consideration to be received thereof. Below this, the total of the monetary consideration
  • 4-(Paragraph 2)- Any specifications applicable to each class listed above (if necessary attach additional 8×11 sheets to accommodate the full description)
  • 5a-Number of directors on initial board of directors
  • 5b-Names and addresses of directors
  • 6a-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation, wherever, in following year
  • 6b-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation in Illinois in following year
  • 6c-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in following year
  • 6d-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in Illinois in following year
  • 8-Date
  • Name, signature and address of each initial incorporator

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Medical Corporation’s and Close Corporation’s filing forms are identical in regards to the data asked by the Secretary of State. If either is the Articles of Incorporation you are submitting, provide this information:

  • 1-Corporate name
  • 2-Initial registered agent name and address
  • 3-Purposes for which corporation is organized (if necessary attach additional 8×11 sheets to accommodate the full description)
  • 4-(Paragraph 1)-The class, number of authorized shares, number of shares proposed to be issued and the monetary consideration to be received thereof. Below this, the total of the monetary consideration
  • 4-(Paragraph 2)- Any specifications applicable to each class listed above (if necessary attach additional 8×11 sheets to accommodate the full description)
  • 5a-Number of directors on initial board of directors (optional)
  • 5b-Name and addresses of directors (optional)
  • 6a-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation, wherever, in following year (optional)
  • 6b-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation in Illinois in following year (optional)
  • 6c-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in following year (optional)
  • 6d-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in Illinois in following year (optional)
  • 8-Date
  • Name, signature and address of each initial incorporator

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For corporations offering a specific professional service (Professional Corporation), the following information will be required in their initial articles:

  • 1-Corporate name
  • 2-Initial registered agent name and address
  • 3-Nature of the professional service provided and the address at which the service will be rendered
  • 4-(Paragraph 1)-The class, number of authorized shares, number of shares proposed to be issued and the monetary consideration to be received thereof. Below this, the total of the monetary consideration
  • 4-(Paragraph 2)- Any specifications applicable to each class listed above (if necessary attach additional 8×11 sheets to accommodate the full description)
  • 5a-Number of directors on initial board of directors (optional)
  • 5b-Name and addresses of directors (optional)
  • 6a-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation wherever in following year (optional)
  • 6b-Estimated value of property to be owned by corporation in Illinois in following year (optional)
  • 6c-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in following year (optional)
  • 6d-Estimated gross amount of business transacted by corporation in Illinois in following year (optional)
  • 8-Date
  • Name, signature and address of each initial incorporator

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Filing the Not-for-Profit Articles of Incorporation can be accomplished in a similar fashion as the other corporation types. The following information will be required:

  • 1-Corporate name
  • 2-Name and address of registered agent
  • 3-Number of initial directors on the board as well as their names and addresses
  • 4-Purpose for which the corporation is organized.
  • 4 (continued)-
    • Is this Corporation a Condominium Association as established under the Condominium Property Act? (y/n)
    • Is this Corporation a Cooperative Housing Corporation as defined in Section 216 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954? (y/n)
    • Is this Corporation a Homeowner’s Association, which administers a common-interest community as defined in subsection (c) of Section 9-102 of the code of Civil Procedure? (y/n)
  • 5-Other provisions
  • 6-Date
  • Name, signature and address of each initial incorporator

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Step 3- With your articles successfully completed and printed in duplicate, you’re ready to pay the filing fee associated with your filing type. Not-for-profit entities will be required to pay $50 while all other domestic corporations will need to supply $150. This payment can be made in the form of a check made payable to the Secretary of State or, if you prefer, an attached money order. Send all documents to the office of the Secretary of State (address displayed below) for processing. If you wish to receive expedited correspondence as to the acceptance or rejection of your articles, you will need to pay an additional $100 on top of your initial filing fee.

Secretary of State

Department of Business Services

501 S. Second St., Rm. 350 Springfield, IL 62756

Tips

EIN– The Employer Identification Number is a crucial part of operating a corporation. Without an EIN you will not be able to pay employees, open bank accounts, or apply for credit cards. Thankfully, an EIN can be attained by filing the PDF Document Form SS-4 or by visiting the IRS Website and completing the form there. An EIN is supplied by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify legitimate, tax-paying entities upon submission of their federal tax. There are numerous, significant restrictions applied to businesses who fail to obtain this essential identifier.

Corporate Bylaws– The provisions provided in an Illinois Articles of Incorporation are more detailed and involved than in many other states. However, it may still be wise to incorporate a set of bylaws into your business structure to further delineate the managerial tasks and duties of your board of directors and shareholders. By clicking on the link attached to this paragraph you will be privy to the free corporate bylaws offered here on our site which, when applied to a company, allows for the initial incorporators to successfully organize its internal affairs. For your convenience, we have supplied our bylaws template in both MS Word and PDF formats.

Renewal– To update the Secretary of State of any financial advancements or managerial adjustments which may have occurred, you must file your annual report in order to effectively renew your corporation. For some corporations this has been made possible online, though the requirements are quite specific. Take a moment to visit the summary page linked in the heading of this paragraph to ensure that your corporation indeed qualifies for corporate online renewal. Otherwise you can download the Corporate Annual Report PDF here on our website to be submitted in the mail.