Illinois, like most U.S. states, requires companies to pay taxes and acquire a business license each year in order to legally operate. Such licensure is handled at the local government level and almost every business is required to comply with this basic legal guideline. Most self-employed people working out of their residence do not have to get a business license in Illinois. Fortunately, getting a small business license in Illinois is a fairly quick and simple process.

Step 1.

Visit the State of Illinois Business Portal–Licensing website for information on small business licensing. (See "Resources" below.)

Step 2.

Contact your local Illinois government’s city or town hall, either using a website link from the state website, telephone, or visiting in person. The usual department is Licensing or Zoning. Ask what fees must be paid to receive a business license in your locality. Most business licenses in Illinois cost $20 to $100, but the exact amount depends on the nature of your business and the area in which the company will operate.

Step 3.

Fill out your business license forms, providing basic information about your Illinois small business as required. Typical data recorded includes basic personal and business information such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Explain what kind of business it is, and provide the number of employees.

Step 4.

Take or mail your forms and annual business license fees, also known as local taxes, as instructed by your Illinois local government authority. The taxes can usually be paid by cash, credit card, or business check.

Step 5.

Wait to receive your Illinois small business license. In most cases, you will receive it the same day during an in-person visit, or within about 14 days through postal mail.

Step 6.

Post your Illinois small business license in a prominent and visible place within your business location.


Remember you must also register with the Health Department when running a business such as a restaurant or beauty salon.


Do not forget to renew your Illinois small business license each year by paying taxes and filling out any renewal forms.