Illinois Registered Agent: LLC Options & Requirements
Forming an LLC in Illinois is a big decision. Before filing the Articles of Organization, you will need to choose a registered agent. In this article, we’re going to walk through what the role of a registered agent is and what your options are as a business owner.
What is an Illinois Registered Agent & is it Necessary?
Yes, a registered agent is legally required. A registered agent is an individual or service that acts as a go-between with the LLC and the state of Illinois.
In short, the registered agent assumes statutory responsibilities. They must agree to receive and deliver any official communications such as tax or legal documents from the state of Illinois to the LLC. Furthermore, the registered agent must be consistently available to carry out this responsibility without interruption.
Here’s what the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State specifically says:
If an LLC does not assign or maintain a registered agent, the LLC risks being dissolved by the state.
What are the Requirements of a Registered Agent?
Aside from carrying out the statutory responsibilities defined above, a registered agent must meet the following requirements:
- The agent must be an individual resident of the state of Illinois or a corporation authorized for business in Illinois.
- The agent must have a physical address in Illinois.
- The agent must have a mailing address in Illinois.
- An organizer, manager or member of an LLC may act as the LLC’s registered agent.
For reference, here is a screenshot of what information is required on the Illinois Articles of Organization:
Who can be a Registered Agent in Illinois?
The Illinois registered agent can be either an individual or a professional service. Here are the pros and cons of each option.
As mentioned above, if using an individual as your registered agent, the individual must be a resident of Illinois.
This means that the individual cannot be in the process of establishing residency in another state, territory, or country or receiving benefits while claiming residency in another state, territory, or country.
Otherwise, the individual can be an attorney, accountant, or even a friend or family member. Simply add the person’s name and address to the Articles of Organization.
- Convenience – Using someone you know saves the time of searching for a registered agent service. The individual is probably also someone that you trust.
- Cost – The cost will likely be much lower than using a service, perhaps even free.
- Inconvenience – The individual who acts as registered agent is required to be available without interruption. She/he may not put a hold on mail. This might make vacations a bit tricky.
- Risk that documents are not delivered in timely manner – If using an attorney, for example, you may be risking that she/he is away from the office at the time of delivery. This leaves open the possibility that the document is put in other hands, possibly slowing the process. If using a friend or family member, you run the risk of having documents misplaced or even ignored. Personal and work lives often have many distractions. For example, if quarrelling with Aunt Louise over a late or missing tax document worries you, a registered agent service may be a better option.
Registered Agent Service
If a service is acting as registered agent, it must be a business, professional, or non-profit corporation. It cannot be an LLC, LLP or LP. Registered agent services provide this type of assistance. The service’s name and address must be included on the Articles of Organization.
- Privacy – If documents regarding a sensitive issue such as a lawsuit are being delivered, the service provides a cushion of privacy between your business and the public. In addition, the address of the service, not your business (or family member or friend) is public record. This means that marketing materials or junk mail will be sent to the service, not to the LLC.
- Reliability – The registered agent needs to be available during regular business hours – all business hours. Using a service might provide a measure of comfort knowing that important documents will not slip through the cracks (as long as you use a reputable service). After all, receiving and delivering important and time-sensitive documents is what the service is experienced doing.
- Location – An LLC is not required to maintain a physical presence in the state of Alaska. The LLC may also do business in various states. Many services have you covered by providing that presence in multiple or even 50 states.
- Cost – Using a service is going to cost you more than using an individual. Still, having the peace of mind that important documents are being handled by a professional service may be worth it.
- Unfamiliarity – Using an individual usually means using someone you know and trust. With an unknown entity there is always a risk of unsatisfactory service. Of course, this is what reviews are for!
Finding a registered agent that is the right fit for your LLC may be one of many tasks when setting up your LLC, but one that is essential to running your business efficiently.
How to get a Free Registered Agent
The most cost effective way to get a free registered agent in Illinois is to use a professional LLC service that also offers a free registered agent service.
How it Works
Simply hire a service like IncFile and Northwest Registered Agent to form an Illinois LLC. As part of their package, they’ll include a free registered agent service and list their address on the Articles of Organization instead of yours.
All you pay for is the $150 Illinois state LLC formation fee + $49 or $79 service fee.
This will remove all registered agent responsibilities off your plate, take care of LLC formation paperwork and provide you with an online dashboard to keep track of things that come up in regard to your LLC in Illinois.
How to Change Your Illinois Registered Agent
If you need, you have two options for changing your current registered agent in Illinois:
- Use the Secretary of State’s online filings page
- Complete and send a LLC-1.36/1.37 Form: Statement of Change of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office
For both methods, you’ll need to provide:
- Your LLC name
- Your current registered agent name and registered office address
- Your new registered agent name and registered office address
* The registered office address will be the same as your registered agent’s office address.
- An authorizing signature
Filing online is typically the more streamlined option. Navigate to this page and review all the instructions before clicking “File” at the bottom. Then, follow the onscreen instructions and you’ll be finished before you know it.
Prefer a hard copy? Download the LLC-1.36/1.37 Form here. After filling it out, mail two copies to:
Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756
*If you live in or near Springfield, you can also drop them off in person at the same address.
There is a $25 fee to change your registered agent. For online filings, you will be prompted to pay via Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express. By mail or in person, please submit a check made payable to “Secretary of State.” Processing time for the Illinois Secretary of State is usually 7-10 days, but if you need to make the change sooner, you can pay an additional $50 fee for expedited 24-hour processing (this is only an option for in-person filings).
Other states may allow companies to change registered agents by making updates on the Articles of Organization or annual report. Not so in Illinois. The methods listed here are the only two options.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’ve done your part. Kick back and wait for your new registered agent to appear on the record.
Have Questions or Concerns?
If you’d like to talk to the state directly about your questions or concerns, it’s easy!
Visit Their Website
Visit the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State for more information about registered agents in the state of Illinois. They have a great publication that can be downloaded, “A Guide for Organizing Domestic Limited Liability Companies.”
Give Them a Call
If you’d prefer to call, reach out to their Springfield office at (217) 782-6961 or Chicago office at (312) 793-3380.