How to find a registered agent in Illinois

Illinois registered agent requirements

Certain requirements must be met in order to be an Illinois registered agent. They are as follows, according to whether you plan on being your own registered agent or hiring a service.

Being your own registered agent

If you plan on being your own registered agent, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have a physical office location in Illinois
  • Be at your physical office location during regular business hours
  • Be willing to take on the duty of receiving important business mail, including service of process, on behalf of your business
  • Accept that your personal address will be used as your registered agent address and will be in the public domain

Hiring an Illinois registered agent service

If you plan to hire an Illinois registered agent service, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a state registered company that offers registered agent services in Illinois
  • Have a physical office location in Illinois
  • Be willing to take on the duty of receiving important business mail, including service of process, on behalf of your business
  • Accept your appointment as registered agent for your business

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

When creating a business in the state of Illinois, you will need to appoint a registered agent, also known as a resident agent. This individual or business entity has to have a physical address within the State of Illinois where they can reliably accept mail and other documents on your behalf.

If it’s an individual, they need to be at least 18 and a resident of Illinois. If it’s a business entity, they need to be legally allowed to conduct business in Illinois. Additional requirements may be necessary as well, which we will discuss further on.

Essentially, you need a registered agent for your Illinois LLC (limited liability company) or corporation because it is their job to handle official mail for your business. They will accept service of process notifications, tax documents from the government, and other paperwork that is necessary for the operation of your company.

When you need a registered agent

It’s wise to start thinking about who you want your registered agent to be as soon as you know you want to start a small business in Illinois.

When you’re ready to begin filing the paperwork, your first task, however, will be to select a new name for your limited liability company or corporation. Be sure to follow the naming guidelines outlined on the Illinois Secretary of State website.

Next, it will be time to fill in the contact information for your registered agent. Some new business owners like to be their own registered agents.

This is certainly an option. However, selecting another individual or business entity is often the wiser choice. No matter who you choose, you’ll need to fill in the appointed registered agent’s name and their physical address in Illinois. No P.O. boxes will be accepted as registered agent addresses.

After choosing a registered agent, you can finish the incorporation process by completing your Articles of Incorporation (also known as Articles of Organization) and submitting your LLC formation documents and other paperwork to the Secretary of State’s office. Ideally, they will accept your application for incorporation and issue you an employer identification number (EIN). You will then complete a few other steps to fully incorporate your Illinois business.

Why use a registered agent service

When it comes to choosing a registered agent, you have two main options: act as your own agent or choose a registered agent service. While it is free to be your own registered agent, this may not be the ideal choice for most businesses in Illinois.

Instead, consider working with a commercial registered agent service. Here are the benefits of choosing this option:

Less paperwork

You’d be surprised at how much official paperwork businesses get. Allow your registered agent service company to handle all of this, and free up your headspace for more important work on the improvement of your business.

More privacy

Entrepreneurs may be surprised to learn that they must list their home address as their registered agent address if they plan to take on this position themselves. This can be an invasion of privacy, however, because your home street address will then be on public record.

Choosing a professional company will, therefore, be your best registered agent option. You’ll be able to use their street address as your business’s point of contact.

More flexibility

As a new business owner, you need to be flexible with your time. Business lunches, work trips, impromptu meetings, and other appointments need to take priority as you get your company off the ground.

In order to act as a registered agent, however, you have to be reliably at your physical address every day of the week (Monday – Friday) during normal business hours. This isn’t feasible for most new business owners, so hiring out the registered agent position to professionals is usually the way to go.

Peace of mind

Lastly, a professional registered agent service will give you peace of mind knowing you are always in good standing with the state.

You will know that they are taking care of all your important legal notices and service of process notifications. Handling these documents can be a big responsibility, and professional registered agent companies are skilled and experienced at this task.

Illinois registered agent costs

Seldom do registered agent service charges exceed $300 per year. Most of the time, the services cost anywhere between $50 and $300 annually.

For this price, Illinois LLCs and corporations can expect to have their important business mail accepted and organized, then forwarded to them — often through an online account. If an LLC or corporation wants to add on additional services, this may cost more. For example, some commercial registered agent companies will offer Annual Report reminders and alerts for tax due dates, etc.

Remember that this is the cost you can expect if you plan on hiring a registered agent service company in Illinois. Being your own registered agent means you don’t have to pay anything.

On the other hand, you will be in charge of all of your legal mail, service of process documents, and other important tax information. In addition, you must be reliably at your street address Monday through Friday during regular business hours to accept and organize this mail. That’s a big responsibility, and it’s why many companies choose to outsource their registered agent services to a company.

How to change your Illinois registered agent

Changing your registered agent in Illinois may be necessary for several reasons.

Sometimes, you’ll need a new registered agent in order to incorporate in another state or as your business grows in general. Alternatively, you may be unhappy with the services you’re getting with your current registered agent and want to change.

In Illinois, these are the directions you’ll need to follow and some points to keep in mind when changing your registered agent:

  • Obtain an LLC Change of Registered Agent and/or Agent’s Office Address Change form. This form can be found on the Illinois Secretary of State website.

  • Fill out the form, and submit it to the Secretary of State’s office with the necessary state fees. For a non-expedited filing, the fee is $25. For an expedited filing, the fee is $75.

  • Occasionally, commercial registered agent companies are willing to perform a change of registered agent filing for you. This is a good option as it can save you some hassle, and they will often take care of the fee for you as well. Some will even throw in registered agent services for your first year of incorporation.

List of forms

Incorporating a new business in Illinois can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately, the Illinois Secretary of State in Springfield has a detailed business website to guide you.

Below are some useful links and forms to ease the process.

FAQs

What’s the difference between a registered agent and a statutory agent in Illinois?

Registered agents and statutory agents are the same things. These are just different terms that are sometimes used in different states. The role of both a registered agent and a statutory agent is to accept important legal documents and other tax mail and government paperwork on behalf of a business.

How does a registered agent work for my company?

A registered agent acts as the recipient of your company’s official mail. Documents such as tax forms, service of process notifications, and other important papers will all go through your registered agent. They will accept, organize, and forward these documents to you.

When do I have to choose a registered agent?

Choosing a registered agent is something you need to do when forming your LLC (limited liability company) or corporation in Illinois. You will choose your registered agent after selecting a business name for your new company. Your registered agent’s name and contact information need to go in your Articles of Incorporation (Articles of Organization).

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