Business Assumed Name Illinois


An assumed name is any name you use to identify your business other than the full, legal name of the organized business entity as it appears on the Articles of Incorporation/Organization. In Illinois and in most other stats, assumed names are names you must register in order to be able to legally use the name as an alternative way to identify your business.


What is an assumed name?

Most businesses find it cumbersome to list the full name on all cards, letters, brochures and other marketing materials. For instance, if you operate a company called “Perfection  Website Design Incorporated,” you probably don’t want to spell out the entire legal name on your marketing materials. You may prefer “Perfection Web Design” since it is shorter and far easier to remember. Some businesses may decide an entirely different trade name should be used to help associate the business with a product or service it sells, or even to identify a new business altogether.

Filing for an assumed name allows a single corporation or LLC to operate multiple businesses without creating a new legal entity for each business. For example, if you are planning to operate a series of web sites, you might set up a corporation or LLC with a generic name, such as “Infinity Web Enterprises, LLC” but then file an assumed name for each website. Since there is significant expense in filing and maintaining a corporation, this helps control costs while still allowing you to expand your business. However, ideally, you should always use a separate business entity for each separate business.

The problem is that by law you are required to use the full legal name of your business unless you have legally adopted an assumed name. Most state corporation laws will require you to use the full legal or true name of your organized entity when transacting business in that state. This holds true for domestic corporations/LLC’s and foreign entities required to register in a certain state and wishing to use an assumed name. You might also be committing fraud since your customers do not actually know who they are doing business with.

There are only 2 exceptions to this rule under Illinois law: 1) the assumed name is also a federal or state registered trademark or service mark owned by the corporation or LLC; or 2) the assumed name is used to identify a separate, unincorporated division of your company, provided the full legal name of the company is also displayed with the assumed name. (ILCS 805 ILCS 5/4.15)


How do you register an assumed name?

In Illinois, you file an Application To Adopt An Assumed Corporate Name and pay the applicable filing fee. Most other states are similar  where you file an application or registration statement with the secretary of state or other state agency for the right to use an assumed name. You will have to pay a filing fee usually as well, which can range. Some states also require that you publish a notice in your local newspaper and submit an affidavit to show that you have fulfilled the publication requirement. You will need to call the secretary of state (or go onto their website) in the state you have organized under to find the details. Also, you should call your local county clerk’s office to find out the local fees and procedures in the county where your business is located.