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Illinois DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Illinois DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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Illinois DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

If you’re planning to start a business in Illinois using a specific name, you may need to register for a business name. Business name registration is commonly referred to as an Illinois DBA or “Doing Business As,” but is officially called an Assumed Name. 

To see if you need to register for an Illinois Assumed Name and steps on how to register, check out our guide.

Related: How to start a business in Illinois

Who needs to register for an Illinois Assumed Business Name?

When a business wants to operate under a name other than its legal name, the state of Illinois, like most states, requires the registration of a business name. Business name registrations are legislated under Illinois Compiled Statutes 805 ILCS 4051 and 805 ILCS 5-4.152. The requirements of who needs to complete the Assumed Business Name registration vary depending on the type of business entity. 

A sole proprietorship and general partnership are the most common small business structures to register for an Illinois DBA. By default, the name of a sole proprietorship and general partnership is the owner(s) legal name, but if the small business owner wants to operate under a specific name, they will need to complete the Assumed Name registration.

For example, if Andrew Smith starts a resume writing service but doesn’t intend to operate under a specific business name, he doesn’t have to register. However, if Andrew decides to name his business Andrew’s Awesome Resumes, he will need to register.

Related: How to start a sole proprietorship in Illinois 

A corporation and Limited Liability Company won’t typically register for an Illinois DBA since a unique entity name is created during the entity formation process. However, some will want to register for a DBA if they have another business or brand name they want to operate in addition to the legal name of the business. This can allow multiple businesses to operate with the liability protection of an Illinois corporation or Limited Liability Company without having to form another entity.

What are the steps to filing an Assumed Name in Illinois?

Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships

Some counties will have a different order of steps and allow a business to obtain their Certificate of Assumed Name before publishing the legal notice.  In this instance, proof of the publication must be submitted to the County Clerk’s office no later than 50 days from the application date.

Step 1: Obtain the Form

Obtain the Assumed Business Name Application from the local County Clerk’s office in the county where the business is physically located.  A handful of counties have this form available to download, but most require the form to be picked up in person. 

Step 2: Fill out the Form

Information that is needed on the form includes:

  • Name of business owner(s)
  • Business address
  • The business name being applied for
  • What the business does

In most counties, the form will need to be notarized before filing.

Step 3: Legal Notice Publication

A legal notice is required to be published in a newspaper that has circulation in the county where the business is located after filing the name registration form.  Many counties will provide a list of available publications.

This notice will be published once a week for three consecutive weeks.  

Contact the newspaper of your choice.  Once the notice runs, the newspaper will send proof of publication as an affidavit or Certificate of Publication and a copy of the original ad proving the notice ran. 

Step 4: Submit the form

Take the Assumed Business Name Certificate form and the affidavit to the County Clerk’s office along with the filing fee and submit. 

An Assumed Name Certificate will be created, typically while you wait.

If you would prefer to have a someone else research DBA name availability and file the required forms, Bizee and LegalZoom offer a DBA registration service for $99, plus state fees.

Corporations, LLCs, LLPs, & LPs

Step 1: Verify Name Availability

A business may not register a Trade Name that is the same or similar to another business in Illinois. To find out if the name you want is available to use, you can do an Illinois business name search on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website. 

Step 2: Download the Assumed Name Form

Download the form from the Secretary of State’s website:

Step 3: Fill out the Form

Information on the form includes:

  • Legal name of the entity
  • State of formation
  • Date formed
  • Name being requested
  • Name and title of an officer of the entity

Step 4: Submit the Form

Send the form and filing fee to:

Corporations adopting an assumed name
Illinois Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
501 S. Second St., Rm. 350
Springfield, IL 62756

LLCs adopting an assumed name
Illinois Secretary of State
Department of Business Services
Limited Liability Division
501 S. Second St., Rm. 351
Springfield, IL 62756

If you have questions about the process, you can contact the:
Illinois Secretary of State – Department of Business Services

Illinois DBA FAQs

How much does an Illinois Assumed Name cost?

The cost for a Sole proprietorship or partnership to register their Assumed Name varies by county but expect a filing fee of $20-$50 to the County Clerk and $40-$100 for the publication of the legal notice.  This is a one-time cost unless the business changes location.

The filing fee for corporations and LLCs varies depending on the year they are applying.  The cost is $150 if the current year ends with a 0 or 5; $120 if the current year ends with a 1 or 6; $90 if the current year ends with a 2 or 7; and $60 if the current year ends with a 3 or 8; or $30 if the current year ends with a 4 or 9. 

Corporation and LLC name registrations are renewed every five years from the date of their anniversary month.

How long does a DBA last in Illinois?

The length that an Assumed Business Name is valid in Illinois depends on the business structure.

Sole proprietorships and general partnerships last forever, while corporations and LLCs will last for five years.

Are there any naming restrictions when filing an Illinois DBA?

An Assumed Business Name can’t use a business entity suffix that is different from the type of entity. For example, a sole proprietorship can’t use LLC or corporation in its name.

Names can’t be registered using words that are related to banking or insurance unless the business is licensed to provide those services.

Also, Assumed Names can’t include any words that may refer to a government agency, such as CIA, FBI, Treasury, etc.

Does a DBA need an EIN?

An EIN or Employer Identification Number (also informally called a business tax ID number) is a unique nine-digit number that some businesses will register for through the Internal Revenue Department (IRS). An EIN is required for partnerships, corporations, multi-member LLCs, or any business that has employees.

Sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s social security number to identify the business.
There is no cost to get an EIN when registering directly from the IRS.

Related: How to register for an EIN in Illinois

What is the difference between an Illinois Assumed Name and a business license?

These are actually two different business registrations. In addition to the Illinois Trade Name registration, most businesses will also need a business license. The licenses a business will need vary depending on what the business does and local registration requirements.

Related: What business licenses are needed in Illinois?


  1. Illinois Compiled Statute, 805 ILCS 405 ↩︎
  2. Illinois Compiled Statute, 805 ILCS 5-4.15 ↩︎

Illinois DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

Illinois DBA / Assumed Name Registration In 4 Easy Steps

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