Please notify the City of Chicago about any changes to your business by following the processes outlined below. For more information, please review Chapter 4 of the Chicago Municipal Code or contact the Small Business Center at (312) 74-GOBIZ (744-6249).
Buy, Sell, Close or Transfer Your Business
Change Owners or Corporate Officers
Change the Legal Entity Name or Doing Business As (DBA) Name
Expand or Move Your Business Location
Add Business Activities (i.e. Products/Services) To Your Existing Business
Cancel a Business License or End a Business Activity
Add or Remove a Public Way Use Item
Before you buy, sell or transfer a business, you should check with the SBC to be sure that the business is in good standing. This means that all taxes are current, there are no pending violations or disciplinary actions and all City debts are paid. This is an important step because:
To check outstanding debts, please contact the Department of Finance at (312) 747-IRIS.
To check license violations or disciplinary history, please complete a Freedom of Information Request Form, and send it via email to BACPfoia@cityofchicago.org.
If you are closing your business, please ensure that there are no pending obligations or debt, and notify the SBC in writing of your closure date. Please send your closure (BUSINESS CANCELLATION) notification to “City of Chicago - Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 800, Chicago, IL 60602” or via e-mail at email@example.com.
If there is a change in the existing licensed ownership or the officers, please come in to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to file the appropriate application.
Liquor License Holders - File a change of officer/ownership application within 30 days of a change. Any change in ownership involving someone who owns more than 5% interest in the business and any change in corporate officers must be reported through a change of ownership/officer application. Application fee(s) are different according to the type of change. Effective January 1, 2018, removing an officer with no ownership change is $0; adding an officer with no ownership change is $500; and all ownership changes are $2,000.
All Other License Holders - File a change of ownership/officer application within 60 days of any change in ownership/officers. Any change in ownership involving anyone owning more than a 25% interest in the business and any change in corporate officers must be reported through a change of ownership/officer application. Application fee(s) are different depending on the type of business. Effective January 1, 2018, the standard fee is $100, and any business license that needs a criminal history review is $250.00. There is an additional $40 for each person whose criminal history must be reviewed.
If you change the legal name or the “Doing Business As” (DBA) name of your business, please file an application to change this information with the SBC within 60 days of the change. Both the Change of Legal Name and Change of DBA application fee is $40.
Business Licenses are given to a specific business at a specific location, and cannot be moved from one location to another. If you move your business, please file an application and the new location of your business must be approved by Zoning. A new license is needed at your new business location before you can legally operate at your new location.
For businesses with liquor, changes in the floor plan or layout may be required to file an Expansion application. The application fee is $1,000 to update all licenses.
For information on how to apply for a business license, please visit Business Licensing: What Do I Need?
If you are cancelling your business license, or ending a specific business activity, you must do so in writing. Please be clear about what business license or activity you are cancelling. Notifications should be sent to “City of Chicago - Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 800, Chicago, IL 60602” or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your contact information in case we have any questions.
If you need to add or remove a Public Way Use item (e.g. signs, canopies, awnings, benches, sidewalk cafes, etc.), please schedule an appointment at the SBC. For more information, please go to our Public Way Use page.