How Much Is A Business License In Illinois?

A valid business license is required for any company or business who wants to operate within or from Illinois. Sales tax licenses allow a business or corporation to buy, sell, trade and pay tax to the state – without one, a business could face legal backlash or closure.

How much is a business license in Illinois? Business license applications in Illinois can cost up to $50 to $250, but this will depend on the type of business you need a sales tax license for. A basic business license remains valid for 2 years from a successful application date. Fees are non-refundable, and applications can be made in person or through the online state portal.

All companies and business who want to operate from or within Illinois will require a basic business license as the first step. Business licenses are valid from the moment they are approved, and they are one of the most important documents for legal tax compliance in Illinois state. Licenses are valid for 2 years from issue, and have to be renewed through the same process, but at a lower cost.

Getting a Business License in Illinois

Illinois requires a business license from all types of businesses first if they want to conduct business from or in the state. This includes small businesses, LLCs, food and liquor sellers and businesses that conduct most of their business to customers online.

A business license is not difficult to get in Illinois. Business license applications can be found online, or through the city or town office. Online applications are much faster than ones made in person.

Business licenses for Illinois can cost from $50 up to $250. Basic sales tax licenses are on the lower end, but specific businesses could pay more for their initial registration fees. 

An Illinois business license is valid for a period of 2 years after its validity date. After expiration, the licensee is expected to renew their license through the relevant office or online portal. Those who don’t could be charged late fees or, in extreme circumstances, fines for continual operation without a license.

There are specific Illinois business licenses for different types of businesses. General sales businesses will only require the most basic type of business license, but food, alcohol, entertainment and tourism businesses are all suggested types that might additional licenses.

Valid licenses will ship to the applicant after processing time, though a temporary online license is available to cover the business while their certificate with reference number is on the way.

Businesses without a license in Illinois could be forced to close by the state and issued with a heavy fine. If a business operates without the adequate paperwork, they will have to apply immediately – or their business is considered illegal within the state.

Types of Business Licenses

An LLC LicenseA Limited Liability Corporation is a specific type of company where shareholders hold limited responsibility for liabilities like debt. It’s one of the most popular company types in Illinois.
A General Operating LicenseGeneral operating licenses are also called business or sales tax licenses. All businesses who want to start operations in the state of Illinois will require one.
A Food or BeverageAny companies that trade in food or beverages will require special permits to do it, usually in addition to the basic sales permit they will already need.

How long does a business license in Illinois take?

Illinois business licenses can take up to 15 days, though might take as long as 31 to be processed from their application date. Because there is no general state-wide business license, this can depend on the city or town in which the application is made.

When does a business license in Illinois expire?

Illinois business licenses are valid for a period of 2 years from the successful application date. After this period, renewal is expected – though costs less than initial application. Late fees or fines are possible for business owners who miss their renewal deadline.

How do I register for a nonprofit license in Illinois?

Businesses with a 501c3, 501c4 or 501c19 IRS designation are considered nonprofit, and will require separate licenses in Illinois. Applications for not-for-profit licenses can be done from the same portal website as initial application.

What if my business license is delayed?

Delays are normal at busy times of the year. State resources recommend following up if a license does not arrive in time. A notification will be sent once an application has been successful,.

Illinois Business Facts

• It’s estimated that the state of Illinois supports approximately 2.4 small business employees.

• Illinois is home to an estimated 1.2 million small businesses

• Illinois is ranked as one of the top states for company relocations, which will always require a basic business license.

Business Licenses in Illinois

Illinois requires a basic business license from all businesses who want to trade or operate a branch within Illinois: without a basic business license, a company could face closure from the state until the relevant licenses have been obtained.

There is no state-wide business license for Illinois, which means that businesses have to apply for a permit at their local city or town office. Online applications are recommended because these process much faster than in-person ones.

Without an Illinois business license, a business is considered illegal in the state and could be subject to fines or closure until the right licenses have been obtained. 

Additional, specific business licenses might apply for businesses who are in specific industries. Illinois law will still require a basic business license from these businesses first – and additional licenses on top of this.

Valid for 2 years, applicants are advised to renew their business licenses before the expiration date to avoid any fines.

Here are the business license costs in other states: