Starting an LLC in Wisconsin

LLCs in Wisconsin are affordable and easy to form. And as with other states, the State of Wisconsin has some unique state-specific requirements.

Interested parties must register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate and Consumer Services, by filing the necessary forms, paying the necessary fees and meeting all naming and formation requirements.

The specifications required of a Wisconsin LLC are:

Registration. Registrants must file Articles of Organization with the Department of Financial Institutions. The articles must be filed in duplicate and must include pertinent information such as:

  • LLC name

  • Registered agent’s name and address

  • Type of management (member-managed or manager-managed)

  • Organizer’s name, address and dated signature

All documents submitted must be accompanied by the payment for the filing fee.

Forms and fees. LLC registrants are required to file Articles of Organization in duplicate. The documents submitted must be accompanied by the necessary filing fee, which varies based on whether you submit by mail or online. Once paid, filing fees are non-refundable.

Timeline. Processing time for LLC documents and filings is usually within five business days upon receipt of the documents. However, during periods of high volume, which are generally towards the end of the fiscal year, there may be some delays in processing. Optional expedited service is available for an additional service fee.

Naming requirements. LLC naming requirements can be confusing. However, the easiest way to ensure that your LLC name will be approved is to make it distinguishable from those of other LLCs. Most states have a list of specific words required of LLCs that must be included in the name of your LLC. You may opt to have a preferred name checked for availability before filing your LLC formation documents with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Formation requirements. To form an LLC, a registrant must first file Articles of Organization with the Department of Financial Institutions.

An LLC with more than one member is also strongly advised to have a limited liability company operating agreement among its members.

Should your LLC offer professional services, you may have to obtain certain licenses and permits from the state’s professional licensing boards.



Starting an LLC in Wisconsin

Before you begin the registration process for an LLC in Wisconsin, it’s important to know what an LLC is and whether or not it is a viable business structure for your company, so be certain to read up on the definition and benefits of an LLC.

These steps will guide you through the LLC registration process with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions:

1. Decide on a name for your business. You can choose any name for your LLC as long as it ends with “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Liability Co.” or any variation of its abbreviation—e.g., LLC or L.L.C.

A name may be reserved for up to 120 days. You must file a name reservation application with the Department of Financial Institutions. All requests must be accompanied by the filing fee. Be sure to include the name to be reserved and the applicant’s name, address and dated signature.

You may also have a preferred name checked for availability by accessing the Department of Financial Institutions website.

2. Assign an agent for service of process. This is also referred to as the resident agent.

3. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. If there are two or more members in your LLC, your company will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS, for tax purposes.

4. Create an operating agreement. Although LLCs in Wisconsin are not required to have a limited liability company operating agreement, it is wise to have one in place with other members should your LLC have more than one member. The State of Wisconsin recognizes limited liability company operating agreements as governing documents.

5. Familiarize yourself with the LLC’s continuing legal obligations, specifically annual reports, which are required by state law. Reports may be filed online or by mail. Registered agents are notified by mail as to when the reports are due. Generally, reports are due every year by the end of the filing anniversary quarter. There is a filing fee that must be paid upon filing of the reports with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Make sure that your LLC, should it offer professional services, meets state legal requirements.

Continuing legal obligations may vary with each state. These could be, but are not limited to, state taxes, annual or biennial reports and so on.

Filing an LLC and Taxes

Following are the forms and fees that are required when starting an LLC in Wisconsin:

1. Forms. Complete and submit Articles of Organization, along with the required filing fee, to the Department of Financial Institutions.

2. Limited liability company operating agreement. Although the LLC operating agreement will not be submitted to the Department of Financial Institutions, it is a good idea to have one in place for LLCs with more than one member. This document should be kept on file by the registered agent.

3. Taxes. LLCs in Wisconsin are treated as corporations, limited liability partnerships or single-member LLCs and are subject to federal income tax classifications. Depending on the type of taxation you opt to have for your LLC, you will have different federal tax responsibilities.

You should always make sure to acquaint yourself with the state laws regarding taxation. Your LLC may be subject to other taxes depending on the kind of services it offers.

LegalZoom provides LLC formation and filing services, including providing a registered agent in Wisconsin.

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This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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