Illinois Business Records



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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 State?

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 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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