Small Business Resources and Guides

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Getting Started in Illinois

Feasibility Checklist A Feasibility Checklist is a tool that is used to evaluate the potential success of a new or existing business opportunity.

Business Plan A Business Plan is vital in determining the credibility of a new business opportunity. It can be used as a management tool and may be required if financing is needed. It also demonstrates to prospective investors a well-defined course of action.

Select an Ownership Structure 

Ownership Structure There are several ways to organize businesses in Illinois. They are Sole Proprietorships, General and Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), Limited Liability Companies (LLC), "S" Corporations and "C" Corporations. Before selecting a business type, consult an attorney or accountant for assistance in determining which one is best for your business.

Registering a Business

Registering a Business Name: When the business name is different from the owner's full legal name, the "Assumed Name Act" requires you to register the business name with your county clerk's office, regardless to the structure

Business Tax Registration

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information such as a checklist for a new business and selecting a business structure. Learn about operating a business with employees, deductions and credits, recordkeeping and accounting methods. Additional resources include the Small Business Tax Calendar, Tax Topics for Businesses, and Frequently Asked Questions. 
    • IRS Forms Distribution Center, Forms Distribution Center, PO Box 8902, Bloomington, Illinois 61702-8902, 1-800-829-3676, TDD: 1-800-829-4059
  • Illinois Department Of Revenue (IDOR) In Illinois, most businesses are required to be registered and/or licensed by the IDOR. If you plan to hire employees, buy or sell products wholesale or retail, or manufacture goods, you must register with the IDOR. To obtain information contact: Central Registration Division, PO Box 19030, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9030, 1-800-732-8866, TDD: 1-800-544-5304

Local Tax Registration and Requirements

Some municipalities and counties impose their own taxes in addition to the state and federal taxes that most businesses are responsible for. Elgin does not require local tax registration but does require Business Licenses. New businesses should contact their local revenue department to determine if additional taxes apply to their business activities. Many communities restrict advertising, regulate pricing or require zoning permits. 

Licenses and Permits Required by Law

The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation Licenses And Permits Required By Law The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the main licensing agency for the State of Illinois for most professions. Individuals must be licensed prior to conducting business as one of the listed professions.

To determine if your occupational activities are regulated contact the IEN Business Information Center at ienconnect@mailmw.custhelp.com

Other Helpful Resources

Will You Have Employees?

Unemployment Insurance

Typically, a business is required to make unemployment insurance contributions to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) if they have: 1) employed one or more workers in each of 20 or more calendar weeks; or 2) paid at least $1,500 in total wages during the calendar quarter. Contact: Department of Employment Security, Division of Unemployment Insurance, 33 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, 1-800-247-4984 TTY: (866) 212-8831

Illinois Division of Professional Regulation

The Illinois Division of Professional Regulation (IDPR) is the main licensing agency for the State of Illinois. IDPR provides an on-line database listing individuals licensed through their agency.

Visit the IDPR website License Look-up to learn if an individual is licensed in a certain profession or determine if a licensed number is valid. For other business/professional licensing questions contact ienconnect@mailmw.custhelp.com

Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for the enforcement of all anti-discrimination laws. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Pay Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Business owners should acquaint themselves with these laws because they affect the company's hiring practices. To order information on these laws, contact: EEOC Publications Office, PO Box 12549, Cincinnati, Ohio 45212, 1-800-669-3362, Fax: 513/489-8692, TDD: 1-800-800-3302, Material Orders Only TDD: 1-800-669-6820

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Under the Workers' Compensation and Workers' Occupational Diseases Acts, an employer is required to provide insurance for accidental deaths, injuries and occupational diseases of employees arising in the course of employment. Temporary workers who normally do not receive company benefits are still provided workers' compensation. Insurance generally is purchased through private companies. Companies can apply to the Workers' Compensation Commission to become self-insured. Get a free handbook or contact: Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, 100 West Randolph, 8-200, Chicago, Illinois 60601, Toll-Free: 1-866-352-3033, 312-814-6611
TDD: 312-814-6519

Employment Service/Labor Market Information

The Illinois Department of Employment Security can assist you with finding new employees, human resource solutions and unemployment tax and report.

Wage Withholding for Child Support

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is the Child Support Enforcement Agency for the State of Illinois. If you (as an employer) are served a Notice of Withholding, you are required by law to withhold a portion of an employee's income for payment of child support. For a copy of "Ensuring A Child's Birthright: An Illinois Employer's Guide To Income Withholding", contact: Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Division of Child Support Enforcement, Employer Verification Unit, PO Box 19405, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9405, 217-782-1380, TDD: 217-524-3148, In Cook County: 312-793-3289, TDD: 312-814-1580

Immigration Reform and Control

The Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires every employer to keep on file a form for every employee certifying that employee's identity and work eligibility. For further Information contact: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 219 South Dearborn, Chicago, Illinois 60604, 312-353-7334, TDD: 1-800-767-1833

Required Posters for Illinois Employers

The Illinois Department of Labor's website has a listing of State and Federal posters employers are required to display in the workplace. Visit their website free downloads or for details on how to obtain each poster.

Protect Your Invention, Product or Idea

Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights

A trademark, service mark or trade name is a word, name symbol, device or combination thereof, adopted and used by a manufacturer, service provider or merchant to identify goods and services in order to distinguish them from others. A patent gives legal recognition to the inventor, creator or discoverer of a new product, procedure or composition of matter. You may obtain a patent or federal trademark by fulfilling all the requirements of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  For more information, contact: The Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60605, 312-747-4450, TDD: 312-747-4499

State trademarks, service marks, and trade names can be obtained through The Secretary of State, Business Services, Trademark Division, Room 328 Howlett Office Building, Springfield, Illinois 62756, 217-524-0400

A copyright is a form of protection provided to an author of original works including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, sound recordings and certain other intellectual works. The Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20559, 1-202-707-3000, TDD: 1-202-707-6737