How to Find Business Records in Illinois
Beginning your Search for Illinois Business Records
In Illinois, certain business records are considered matters of
public record, including information about corporations and limited
liability companies that are formed in the State of Illinois. Since
these records are matters of public record, they are available both in
person and online for access by private citizens.
What Records Are Maintained by the Illinois Secretary of State?
In Illinois, there are several forms a business may take, including
corporations and limited liability companies. Since corporations and
limited liability companies are treated like separate legal entities
(meaning that they are treated like a separate person from their
founders, officers or directors), it is necessary for the State of
Illinois to keep track of which corporations and limited liability
companies are created. For this reason, when a corporation of limited
liability company is formed, it is necessary to file certain
documentation with the office of the Illinois Secretary of State. The
Secretary of State maintains these documents as well as additional
filings and the status of the business entity (such as, whether the
corporate entity is still active, or whether it has become inactive).
These documents are available for viewing in the Illinois Secretary of
State’s office, and much of the information may also be accessed online.
Why Would a Business Not Have Documents On File?
Not all businesses elect to incorporate. It is not uncommon for a
business to operate under a tradename without incorporating,
particularly if a business is run by a single individual. If an
individual operates a business as a sole proprietorship, documentation
may not be on file because sole proprietorships are not given the same
treatment as corporations under the law.
Additionally, it should be remembered that businesses sometimes elect to
incorporate in other states. Therefore, if a business has offices in
Illinois, or even does business in the State of Illinois, it should not
necessarily be presumed that that business would incorporate in the
State of Illinois. If a business is located in Illinois, but the
Illinois Secretary of State has no records regarding the incorporation
of that business, it is very possible that the business has elected to
incorporate in one of the other states. When beginning such a search,
remember that many believe that the laws of the State of Delaware are
advantageous to businesses.
How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Illinois Secretary of
If you know that a business has incorporated in the State of Illinois,
you can search for the records both in person and online. If you wish to
visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s office in person, the address is
213 State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois 62706.
To search for records online, visit the Illinois Secretary of State’s
website at www.sos.state.il.us. From the home page, click on the option
“Corp/LLC Search.” This will take you to a page explaining use of the
corporation database. Toward the bottom of the page, you can click on
the words “Search the Real Time Corporate/LLC Database” in blue to be
taken to a page where you may select the type of entity you are
searching for (corporation, limited liability company, or both), the
search method to be used (by name, by keyword, by partial word or by
file number) and enter the search terms to be used. The results will be
returned in list form including the entity type, the file number, and
the corporate name. The names appear in blue and are clickable links
which allow you to view additional information about the entity,
including the status or the corporation, the state of original
incorporation, the date the corporation was formed, the agent’s name and
address, and information about the corporation’s officers.
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