As you may have guessed, LLCs must be registered with the Secretary of State in order to provide that protection. It is easy to obtain information about LLCs in Illinois, but there are some things you need to keep in mind when performing this type of limited liability company search. This blog post will guide you through the process and provide steps on how to do your own LLC search right from home.

Writing on a document

One of the main motives why business owners want to perform a business entity search is to make sure their desired business name is not already taken. However, Illinois ranks highest in the number of business entities among all 50 states with over two million active companies. Therefore, it is more likely that your desired company name may not be available if you search for LLCs. There are several ways to look up whether a particular business entity exists or not, and some of them can be performed online through different websites.

Keep in mind that you should always inform about the naming guidelines for business entities in Illinois before you even start your Illinois LLC name search.

Visit the Illinois Secretary of State website

The Illinois Secretary of State has a Department of Business Services database where you can search the business names of corporations and limited liability companies. Once you type in your potential LLC name, the tool will show you all the names that resemble or are identical to your potential company name.

In addition, if your desired business name is not an available Illinois LLC name, it will also display other similar and related corporate or limited company names and those already existing in the state. If no entity matches what you are trying to search for, then this means there's a good chance your desired entity name is available in the state.

Use a Company Naming Service

Some other websites provide free services that allow you to search for active companies in the state. These are not necessarily official government sites, but they are useful just the same when performing an LLC search. They typically will check the availability and registerability of potential names, which means they can also tell if your chosen LLC has been registered in the state of Illinois.

Make sure to check available domain names, too, because most business owners will want their website to have the same name as their LLC. Your entity name might be available, but the domain name is taken, so you'll have to come up with a different name altogether.

A trademark search is necessary to determine whether another Illinois business entity has already registered the name you want to use. This is done by searching the Illinois Secretary of State trademark online database. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also provides a free trademark search.

Once your search confirms that no other Illinois business entity has used the same or similar mark in conjunction with any goods and/or services, then it's time to file an application for registration with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Search Social Media Platforms

Social media is a great place to start your LLC search in Illinois. Many accounts provide information on the companies and their employees, and some will give you more specific details about where businesses operate or what projects they do. You can also enter an address into Google Maps, but be aware it may not always be accurate, so use this option with caution.

A person writing while calling someone

The second reason someone might want to perform an Illinois business entity search is to find out what other businesses in Illinois are formed as LLCs, who the members are, what the status of an LLC is, and so on.

To find information about an Illinois LLC, the best place to look is on the Illinois Secretary of State's website because it provides details about any entity type, including LLCs, corporations, and partnerships.

First, search for either a name or an acronym that you believe matches your LLC in the online business entity database. Sometimes this will be enough to get all of the details about an Illinois LLC without paying any fees required by third parties like private investigators.

Related Article: LLC California Lookup Guide

The information you can obtain from the Illinois Secretary of State website includes:

  • The name of the LLC and whether it is active or dissolved.
  • If there are managers, members, etc., as well as their names and addresses.
  • A history of address changes for the company since its formation in Illinois.
  •  registered agent and registered office.
  • The current status of the company and any past history with regards to tax liens, etc.

This information is useful if you want to start a business with a similar name or if your existing business wants to investigate its competitors in Illinois.

Filing for Certificates

A Certificate of Good standing is a legal document that guarantees that the LLC is in good standing with the state of Illinois. It certifies that it has filed all necessary annual reports and fees to remain active.

A Certificate of Existence represents that an LLC is legally registered for business purposes, which entitles it to conduct activities in Illinois (including pursuing legal action). This document is issued by the Secretary of State. A business owner can file for this certificate at a $25 fee.

This document is also known as the Certificate of Status, and it can only be obtained from the Secretary of State. No third-party websites can legally offer this document.

FAQs

How Do I Reserve a Business Name in Illinois?

A business name reservation can be made by mail through the Office of the Secretary of State. A $25 filing fee needs to be attached to your Application to Reserve a Name Form that can be downloaded from the Illinois Secretary of State website. The name reservation process takes up to three weeks, and the reservation can be made for up to 90 days before someone else can reserve the name.

Are Articles of Organization Public Record in Illinois?

Yes. Articles of organization are public records in Illinois. They can be searched for on the Secretary of State website under Online Services > Business Entity Search.

How Do I Find the Owner of an LLC in Illinois?

The Department of Business Services in Illinois provides a name search online. You can find the owner of an LLC by searching for the company in their database by typing in the entity's number or its business name.

How Do I Look Up an EIN Number in Illinois?

You can look up an EIN by visiting the IRS website. Simply type in your search query, and you will be given a list of results that match the criteria entered into the system. You can also contact them via phone number. You are able to lookup an EIN by visiting the Illinois Secretary of State's business portal online.

Does LLC Have to Be In the Name in Illinois?

An LLC name in Illinois has to contain at least the words Limited Liability Company or "LLC," or any abbreviation of this phrase within its legal name. Illinois does not allow the terms "Co." and "Ltd." to be included in the LLC name. An LLC name can't use any terms that resemble a government agency or public office as part of its name.

LLC Search in Illinois: Conclusion

Searching for information about an LLC can save you a lot of time and effort because once you file the formation documents for a name that is already used, you'll have to go through the process again. Once you have found your preferred name is available, make sure to complete the following registration process. This will ensure that all of your paperwork and legal documentation stay up-to-date with this essential step in forming an LLC in Illinois.

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