How to Obtain a Business License in Illinois

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Starting a business in Illinois can be a daunting project. Fortunately, much of what you need to research and do to get your business license can be done online: Read on for some tips.

Register with the Illinois Department of Revenue

Register with the Illinois Department of Revenue so that you can pay sales and use tax. Registration is free. On the department's website, which is linked below in References, look in the left sidebar for the heading "Information For." Click on "Businesses."

Click on the link "Business Registration," and then click on "How do I register."

Choose the option that best suits you: You can register by printing out forms online and mailing them to the department or by visiting a Department of Revenue regional office.

Register Your Business with the Illinois Department of Employment Security

Visit the Illinois Department of Employment Security's website to register as a new employer only if you will hire employees. The website is linked below in References.

Click on the menu under "How Do I" at the top of the department's web page.

Choose "Register as a New Employer." You will be offered the option of registering online or by mail.

Register for State, Labor or Professional Licenses

Visit the State of Illinois Business Portal online. It is linked below. In the site's left sidebar, click the link named "Starting a Business."

Click on the link "Licensing" under "Starting a Business." You will be presented with a general list of license types.

Search the license types to find information on licensing for your business. Links will take you to the appropriate licensing board, which will assist you with obtaining the qualifications you need to be licensed in a profession or trade, or to open a business within that profession or trade.

Obtain Local Licenses or Permits

Visit the Illinois Business Portal and go to the "Licensing Page."

Click on the link under "Local Licenses" that corresponds to the city or town in which you will operate your business.

Follow the instructions listed for obtaining necessary local licenses and/or permits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your local chamber of commerce for advice and support in starting your business. It may have specific materials and educational opportunities for people starting businesses in your area.
  • Be aware that you probably will need several licenses and permits for your business and that the agencies that issue these licenses and permits do not always communicate with each other. Notify each agency when you receive other permits/licenses so your business is not delayed in opening.

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