Starting an LLC in Illinois is not for the faint of heart. Maintaining one isn’t, either. There’s a bunch of annual requirements: annual taxes, business licenses to renew, and of course, annual reports. A lot of the annual requirements can be pretty complicated, too.
Annual reports can be pretty complicated…but only if you don’t know what to expect. That’s what we’re here for. In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials to annual reports in Illinois: LLC filing fees, where to file, due dates, and if you want, where to go to get help filing. By the end, the annual report won’t feel so daunting anymore.
What is an annual report?
An annual report is a lot like an annual newsletter for your LLC—except you only send it to one place: the state government. Each year, the state needs updated information about your business. And this isn’t a requirement that’s unique to Illinois. In fact, nearly every state requires some form of annual (or similar timeline) update.
That said, the newsletter analogy falls short because you don’t need to tell the state what you did each month. You don’t even have to tell them the highs and lows of your year. And thankfully, you don’t have to write it out as a letter. All you’ll have to do is fill out the requested information.
Here’s a quick glance at the information Illinois will require from you:
- Legal name of the business
- Name and address of your registered agent
- County of the LLC’s formation (and state, for foreign LLCs)
- Date of formation for the LLC
- Address for your principal place of business
- Name and address for each member or manager for the LLC
Sound overwhelming? Don’t panic. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think! In the rest of this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials to annual reporting—including a DIY approach and how to get help if you’d rather not file on your own.
Where do I start?
Every year when the annual report comes due, you’ll want to head to the Secretary of State’s Business Services section. More specifically, you should visit CyberDrive Illinois. There, you’ll be able to log in, fill in the required information, and pay the filing fee.
But a quick note: make sure you head to the LLC Annual Report section (we’ve linked it above). Illinois also has sections for corporations and not-for-profits. Those links will take you to slightly different reports, and as an LLC, they won’t help you.
In Illinois, filing online is your easiest option. In fact, it’s the recommended method.
The annual report isn’t extremely difficult to fill out, honestly. But if you’re extremely busy (and who isn’t these days?), the report can seem overwhelming—it’s yet another thing you have to do. That said, you can hire an Illinois LLC Service to handle the work for you. Not only will these services actually form your business for you (if you need it), but they’ll also help you handle annual requirements like the annual report.
How much does the Illinois Annual Report cost?
Some states have a pretty hefty price tag of several hundred dollars for their annual report. Other states charge more reasonable fees of less than $100. Illinois is one of those “less than $100” states. In fact, provided you file on time, you’ll pay just $75 for your annual report.
Since you’ll be filing online, a credit or debit card is your best bet for paying that filing fee. Currently, Illinois accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Please note that Illinois will assess a processing fee with each transaction.
When is the Annual Report due?
In most states, the annual report is due, well, annually. In other states, entrepreneurs often refer to it as an annual report even though it’s due every other year. But in Illinois, the annual report fits its name; you’ll file every year.
More specifically, your annual report due date falls directly in line with your LLC’s formation date. Your annual report is due by the end of the month before your LLC was formed. For example, if you filed your LLC on August 9th, you’ll be expected to file your annual report by July 31st.
If you don’t file on time, you won’t get hit with a late fee right away. Late fees are incurred two months after your report’s due date. And it’s a pretty hefty one: $175.
What happens if you don’t file your annual report?
Sometimes annual check-ins are a pain, right? And we get it: with some things, like annual physicals, dental cleanings, and eye appointments are tempting to skip. Usually, there isn’t a big penalty if you skip them for a year or two (aside from a minor scolding from your doctor).
However, that isn’t the case with annual reports. You should never skip filing your annual report, and you should always do it on time. For one thing, filing on time ensures that you don’t spend any more than you have to.
More importantly, though, failing to file your annual report can cost you your good standing in the state. The two-month late fee is one thing. But if you leave the report delinquent for six months, the state will dissolve your business. Long story short, the state will shut down your business by force. If that happens, don’t panic; you can get reinstated. But it’s a hassle to do so, and it’s much easier to avoid the trouble completely by filing on time each year. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Maintaining an Illinois LLC is no laughing matter, and the annual report is without a doubt one of the most important annual filings. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Hopefully this guide has helped take out some of the guesswork. And don’t forget: an LLC Service can make things even easier.