Legal and Financial Considerations

Business Licenses and Permits


The City of Lake Forest and Lake County do not require general business licenses. Certain businesses (e.g. restaurants) have other regulatory requirements.

It is recommended that new businesses contact Lake County offices.

  • Lake County Clerk: 847.377.2400
  • Lake County Planning, Building and Development: 847.377.2600
  • Lake County Health Department: 847.377.8000


Call the Illinois Department of Revenue at 1.800.732.8866 to learn about which licenses, permits, or registration might be required for your business.


Apply for professional licenses with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). See the full list of occupations that require registration or licenses from IDFPR.

Business Taxes


After obtaining an EIN and registering your business name and legal structure, you will also need to register with the State to pay your business taxes.

Consider speaking with a tax accountant. 


Federal tax responsibilities of employers

View the IRS guide to getting started.

Or, for a broader array of topics, try:

IRS Pub 15:

IRS Pub 15-A:

Self-employed? Try the Tax Withholding Estimator tool.


State tax responsibilities 

Learn more about State of Illinois business taxes at

Or, take a look at the Illinois State Business Income Tax chapter.


For any other questions, contact:

Lake County Tax Assessor

18 N. County St.

Waukegan, IL 60085

Phone: 847.377.2050



Get Your Business Insured


The State of Illinois recommends that businesses minimally hold fire, liability, vehicle, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Also consider other types of insurance, such as insurance for property damage, key person loss, and business interruptions.

Check out the SBA article on business insurance.


Illinois Department of Insurance

Phone: 312.814.2420


Regulatory Agencies


It’s important to consider if there are any additional legal requirements that apply to your business.

For example, the property the business uses must be zoned for its activity. There may be environmental restrictions that apply to any pollution the business creates.

In addition, any business that sells food or drink will be subject to health department inspections and regulations. 


Lake County Central Permit Facility
Phone: 847.377.2600 


Lake Forest Community Development Department
Phone: 847.810.3519



Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Phone: 217.782.3397


Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) 
This is a non-regulatory agency offering assistance to business owners to make compliance easier. 

View the SBEAP brochure



Lake County Health Department & Community Health Center
Phone: 847.377.8000



Illinois Department of Labor
Chicago Office
Phone: 312.793.2800

Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 
Phone: 800.972.4216

Federal OSHA
Chicago North Area Office
Phone: 847.803.4800