The Clerk's office registers business names known as "assumed names" for new businesses in accordance with Illinois law.
An assumed name is issued to any business entity that uses a name other than the name(s) of the individual(s) who own or operate the business. For example, a business called "John Jones, P.C." (i.e. owner's full name and title) does not have to file an assumed name, but "Jones Wrecking" does.
New! Register or Amend an Assumed Business Name
Follow the steps for completing an application and publishing a legal notice.
Dissolution of a business or changing names, addresses or business partners.
Assumed Business Name Public Search
Search for businesses and owners by name, address or registration number.
How to Apply
Now you can apply online and our system will walk you through the steps. You can pay the $50 registration fee by credit card or e-check, you will be emailed at every stage of the application process, and you’ll never have to come to our office. To get started, click on “Enter” above.
If you prefer to submit your application or amend your assumed business name in person or by mail, please download the Application or Amendment Form, or visit our Vital Records office in the lower level of the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Chicago.
Who must register an Assumed Business Name
Under state law, three classes of businesses are required to register assumed names with the local county clerk's office. The business classifications listed below are defined fully in the Illinois Compiled Statutes.
- Businesses required to register
The following types of companies that conduct business in Cook County are required to register assumed names with the Clerk's office:
- Businesses defined under state law as being owned by an individual or husband and wife.
- An association of two or more persons who carry on as co-owners a for-profit business entity.
Professional services corporations
- A business corporation formed by an individual or group of individuals who are required by law to be licensed or obtain other legal authorization from the state to deliver services (examples include doctors, dentists, land surveyors, podiatrists and some attorneys). Proof of filing with the Secretary of State's office is required.
- Businesses not required to register
The following types of companies that conduct business in Cook County are not required to regsitered assumed names:
Limited liability companies
- A business entity, distinct from its members, which maintains on file a limited liability registration with the Secretary of State's office.
Limited liability partnerships
- An association of two or more persons who carry on as co-owners for a for-profit business entity that is distinct from its partners and which maintains on file a limited liability registration with the Secretary of State's office.
- An association of two or more persons who carry on as full and partial owners or investors for a for-profit business entity that is distinct from its partners.
- A business managed by directors and created with powers (to issue shares, buy properties, etc.) and liabilities independent of its individual members as defined by state law.
What are the steps?
There are four basic steps for registering an assumed business name or amending an existing business name.
- 1. Complete the application
- If applying online, you will enter information about your business and its owners, pay the $50 application fee online by credit card or e-check, then print your application to have it signed by the owners and notarized by a licensed Notary Public. Once signed and notarized, you will mail or deliver your application to the Clerk’s office.
- If applying in person or by mail, you will submit the signed and notarized application at the same time as you make your payment. The $50 application fee is payable in person by cash, check or money order; by mail please provide a check or money order payable to “Cook County Clerk.”
- 2. Publish the legal notice
- If applying online, the Copy of Legal Notice will be available to print from the online portal after the Clerk’s office receives your signed and notarized application. Complete instructions for publishing will be included. Your business must publish the notice in a local newspaper within 15 calendar days from the registration date. Publish the notice once a week for three consecutive weeks.
- If applying in person or by mail, you will receive a Copy of the Legal Notice with your registration number after you submit your signed and notarized application and pay the fee. Your business must publish the notice in a local newspaper within 15 calendar days from the registration date. Publish the notice once a week for three consecutive weeks.
- 3. Provide proof of publication
- Proof of publication must be submitted to the Clerk’s office no later than 50 days from the original date of application. The newspaper will provide you with a notarized Certificate of Publication with an original clipping of the published legal notice (a photocopy is insufficient). Return both the certificate and clipping to the Clerk’s office.
- 4. Assumed Business Name Certificate will be issued
- The Clerk’s office will issue you an Assumed Business Name Certificate and record the business name upon receipt of the proof of publication. Same-day in-person service for certificates is available at the Clerk’s downtown Chicago location.