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.
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
Or, for a broader array of topics, try: https://www.irs.gov/businesses
IRS Pub 15: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf
IRS Pub 15-A: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15a.pdf
Self-employed? Try the Tax Withholding Estimator tool.
State tax responsibilities
Learn more about State of Illinois business taxes at www.revenue.state.il.us/businesses.
Or, take a look at the Nolo.com Illinois State Business Income Tax chapter.
For any other questions, contact:
18 N. County St.
Waukegan, IL 60085
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.
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
Lake Forest Community Development Department
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP)
This is a non-regulatory agency offering assistance to business owners to make compliance easier.
Lake County Health Department & Community Health Center
Illinois Department of Labor
Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Chicago North Area Office