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How Can I Do an Illinois Business Search?

There are a few reasons why you would want to search for a business entity in any state, and because all of these are required to have a degree of documents made available, it’s always been challenging to do a manual search.

How Can I Do A Illinois Business Search

To identify a business entity, these are formal business structures that can be a limited partnership, limited liability company, corporation, or limited liability limited partnership. Any sole proprietorships are considered more informal types of business.

With that out of the way, you can search for a company easily through a database check, and the steps to do so are provided below.

Search Through The Corporation Registry 

If you go to the Illinois secretary of state website, which will search for an entity by specific regions and even states, in case they are based in another area but have premises there.

Once you find this form, you can search by the company name or the file number, which is an eight-digit unique number tied to the company once registered. For this number, you must specify whether you’re searching for a corporation or LLC.

Suppose you don’t find any success here. In this case, you’ll have to try a nationwide search that offers you a more precise search, as you can quickly find any business through their database of 28 million business locations across the country.

The main benefit of using local searches is that you can search a business by the owner’s name, phone number, type, place of formation, principal city, and the status of the business. Take note that some states only let you search based on a singular search option.

A Quick Note On Pricing 

Be aware that for a state-level search, even though you may get a search for free, if you want unlimited searches, you’ll have to pay a fee of $25, and this will cover a state-wide search.

On the national search, a subscription is required, so a day pass is $25, and you can sign up for weekly, monthly, and even yearly passes if you’re using it on an ongoing basis. If the business is registered in Illinois, it may work out better for costs.

What Information You Can Find 

Once you’ve found the business you’re looking for, you might be wondering what kind of information you can find, as you want your search to be relevant to your uses.

These refined searches can bring up some interesting information, though there is an issue with missing pieces, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist. 4It may also be outdated or incorrect, as it only works with the information it provides.

The Company’s Standing 

This won’t work if you do a quick search, as it will only give you the business location, phone number, and business owners name, so for a specific search, you can find out if a business has been dissolved, canceled, consolidated, merged, revoked, or withdrawn.

This can be useful for those looking for a business that doesn’t have a lot of premises or has recently dissolved, and you need to contact them to resolve a query or dispute. For this, you might be looking for individuals known as liquidators or a receivership.

For this, you may be directed to another entity that is tasked with dealing with these disputes and may only have these communications open up for a limited time before the business is under a winding-up order.


If your business entity search comes up as active, there are documents they must provide so they can be accessed publicly.

These include annual reports, shareholders reports, tax returns, valuations, and inventories. While these are more for the benefit of shareholders and investors, they can be helpful for those who need to see what a business has done over the last quarter for the purposes of journalism or personal when looking at stock options.

It also gives you an idea of how certain events have impacted the business positively or negatively and how likely they are to expand or shrink the presence of their operations.

Other Information 

The securities and exchange commission (SEC) is another essential resource when looking for smaller businesses. You can find more detailed reports that look at daily and quarterly indexes, paper forms, industrial classifications, and feeds in the format of everyday exchanges.

Note that this applies to businesses with over $10 million or more in assets and a considerable amount of shareholders, as they meet these requirements and need to report these by law.

Strangely, if you have access to these, this could be useful if you find you have been a victim of fraud, with an individual claiming to be a business that exists. If the business is registered locally, you have a better way of seeing the legitimacy of that entity before you proceed.

If You Still Can’t Find The Business Entity 

Suppose you’ve tried both state and national searches. In that case, you may want to look to an international database, where you can verify the business better and see its activity across different datasets.

This is perfect for those looking to export or import products with an entity that might be logistically difficult to trade with and helps if you want to see an overall credit health of a business, with all this coming directly from the source that it was registered with.

Benefits of This Search 

Benefits of This Search 

The big plus of such as system is that you have transparency of a business, which can save you quite a lot of time when you need data quickly and need to make instant decisions based on this. If you’re a business owner, it also keeps you competitive, so if you have a business similar to yours, you can get a good picture of how their business approach has affected their revenue.

You can also see, from this perspective, how a specific event has impacted an industry, so you can identify if this is specific to you or is happening across all major business competitors. If there has been a transfer of ownership, for example, you can see who they are and track a quarter to see what the projection of a business may look like, and should you need to settle a dispute, you have updated contact details.

When looking at opportunities, you can also use this tool to identify what the concentration of businesses looks like by town or state. This means you can plan and implement the location of your business more efficiently, which is more beneficial to your business.

Downsides Of This Search 

While you can find a lot through these services, they remain the default resource and may not give you the insights you’re looking for, so you may need to turn to tools that focus more on projections and networking. As we have mentioned, the reliability of the information you find is only as good as what is given or reported by a business.

You may need to turn to third-party services or contacts to get a specific point of contact for a business. Another issue is to do with dissolved partnerships or limited companies, as when this happens, this can often lead you to a dead end, and you often find yourself pulling your hair out looking for an owner.

The only main alternative is to go through the library of congress, which displays some of these details, but mainly looks at businesses that were registered at a particular time. For those who need to become more familiar with this system, it might refer you to irrelevant information, and you may have to go there yourself and ask for help, which can be time-consuming in and of itself.

Its Use For Principal Locations 

By using the Illinois secretary of state website, you can refine your search and find businesses that may not have a physical location but will have a center of operations that you can seek out. If you know the state well, you have a nice reference tool here if you ever need to do research quickly.

The process of registering a business can be done mainly online, where you can see licenses and reports of other addresses and assets. Before, these things may have taken longer, which is time that many people won’t have, and if this is updated regularly, this transparency can be more reliable in the future.


While some people may never see the use for such a resource, it’s helpful for a range of interests, and as this is linked to the state governments page quite well. Through this you have access to even more resources on how to prepare for a piece of legislation that is passed, or it can be used if you’re in the planning stage of your business and need some insight.