How to Form a Wisconsin LLC

Unlock the step-by-step process of forming an LLC in Wisconsin with our in-depth guide.Learn how to choose a distinctive business name, file Articles of Organization, appoint a Registered Agent, and secure an EIN.

Grasp Wisconsin’s unique regulations to ensure smooth business operations.

Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Wisconsin is an easy process, but it involves a few steps. 

Form an LLC in Wisconsin for $0 + state fee 

How to Form an LLC in Wisconsin

To form an LLC in Wisconsin for free + state fee, we have listed 3 options to consider: 

You can go online and visit the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s website and do it yourself or you can use the ‘free’ service from Incfile or ZenBusiness.

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Steps to Form an LLC in Wisconsin for $0 (DIY Summary)

Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to help you through the DIY process, along with relevant links to official resources:

An LLC offers liability protection for its members while providing flexibility in terms of taxation and management.

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

The first step in forming an LLC in Wisconsin is to choose a unique and distinguishable name for your business. Make sure to check the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) website to ensure that the name you want is available and compliant with the state’s naming requirements.

It’s also a good idea to reserve the name if you’re not ready to register your LLC immediately.

Learn more about choosing a name for your LLC from the Wisconsin DFI’s guidelines.

Step 2: Appoint a Registered Agent in Wisconsin

A registered agent is an individual or entity responsible for receiving legal documents, such as lawsuits and official correspondence, on behalf of your LLC.

In Wisconsin, you are required to have a registered agent who has a physical street address in the state. You can choose to be your own registered agent or hire a professional registered agent service.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization

The next step is to file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin DFI. This document officially registers your LLC with the state.

You will need to provide information such as your LLC’s name, registered agent details, and the purpose of your business. You can file the Articles of Organization online or by mail.

Access the necessary forms and instructions for filing the Articles of Organization on the Wisconsin DFI’s forms page.

Step 4: Create an LLC Operating Agreement

While not required by Wisconsin law, it’s highly recommended to create an Operating Agreement for your LLC.

This legal document outlines the ownership and management structure of your business, as well as the rights and responsibilities of its members.

Having an Operating Agreement in place can help prevent disputes and provide clarity on how your LLC operates.

Consult an attorney or use an online service to help you draft an Operating Agreement that suits your LLC’s needs.

Step 5: Obtain an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

You will need an EIN for tax purposes, opening a bank account, and hiring employees. You can obtain an EIN for your LLC by applying online through the IRS website.

Visit the IRS website to apply for an EIN for your Wisconsin LLC.

Step 6: Comply with Other Requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to fulfill additional requirements. For example, if you plan

to have employees or sell certain products or services, you may need to register for state taxes or obtain specific licenses and permits.

Research the specific requirements for your industry and comply with all applicable regulations.

For comprehensive information about various licenses and permits, visit the Wisconsin DFI website.

By following these steps, you can successfully form an LLC in Wisconsin. 

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and should not be construed as legal or professional advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney or professional service for specific guidance related to your LLC formation.

Extended Version

In Wisconsin, a record number of entrepreneurs have started their own businesses over the past year.

There are many business structures, but limited liability companies (LLCs), are the most popular. This article will help you learn how to create an LLC in Wisconsin. Continue reading to learn all you need to know about creating an LLC.

If you want to use an LLC service, visit our list of the best LLC services in Wisconsin.

Establishing an LLC in Wisconsin

There are a few things you need to do before you can form an LLC. This will make it easier to file paperwork and pay fees.

Check Name Availability

Your company may be able to register its name in another location, but that does not mean it will work in Wisconsin. Your LLC must be distinguished from other entities within the state. It’s always a good idea for a quick search of business names through the state website.

After you have confirmed your name is available, you may fill out a reservation application which will hold your LLC name for up 120 days. The filing fee is $15.

After you have chosen a name, it is a smart idea to register a domain. It’s also possible to set up social media accounts that you will use to market your business. Although a website domain and social media accounts are not required to create an LLC, they will help you secure the names that you desire and provide consistent branding.

Appoint a Registered Agent

You will need someone to act on your behalf as a registered agents and accept official documents. If you are a Wisconsin resident and have a business address in the state, you can either be the registered agent or a member (owner). This can be a cost-effective option for some.

These are the first steps to help you get started with your LLC setup in Wisconsin.

Register Your Wisconsin LLC

The Department of Financial Institutions requires that you file your LLC paperwork. You have the option to file your LLC paperwork online, or by mail. To file in person or by mail, you can download your Articles of Organization and Form 502. Instead, submit a Certificate Of Registration (Form 521). For expedited services, please note that the fee for submitting forms is $25.

The cost of submitting physical Articles of Organization paperwork is $170. However, the online process costs $130. To register an LLC in Wisconsin, foreign entities must pay $100

After You Form Your Wisconsin LLC

Registering your LLC successfully is only the beginning. There are many other steps you can take to maintain your business’s good standing and give it a solid foundation.

Make an Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are documents that provide information about how your LLC will operate. An operating agreement, for example, outlines the business’s structure and details each member’s financial obligations. Although it is not required by law to create an operating agreement, it is a good idea. This will avoid any confusion or misunderstandings regarding member roles, and give your business legitimacy and a sincere purpose.

Register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Federal law requires that all LLC owners obtain an EIN. This helps the IRS track your tax filings. An EIN is required for all LLCs. However, single-member LLCs without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number instead. An EIN has nine digits and is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number or Federal Employer Identification Number. The IRS website can provide your EIN.

Annual Domestic and Foreign LLC Filings

Each year, both in-state and out-of-state LLCs must file reports to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The Department sends forms to your registered agent each year and informs businesses when they are due. You can file online instead of filing physically. Annual report fees are $25. Foreign LLCs pay $80. Other annual costs may apply to your LLC. For example, if you have a business acting as your registered agent, you might be charged a fee.

Correction of Filing Mistakes

If you have completed your LLC registration and then realize that you made an error, please immediately submit Form 53, The Articles for Correction. To complete the document, you must use black ink and send a $40 check to the DFI.

Dissolution of your Wisconsin LLC

You can submit Form 510 or Articles to Dissolution if you decide that your LLC must be disbanded. Additional $25 is required for the expedition.

You can reach the Department of Financial Institutions directly if you have any questions about your Wisconsin LLC. You can call 608-261-9555 or email DFICorporations@dfi.wisconsin.gov

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Limited Liability Company, or LLC?

A limited liability company can be described as a legal entity that is owned by and managed as a business. This company provides owners with the same level of liability protection as a corporation but allows for more flexibility in taxation and management.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in Wisconsin

For $170 if you submit paper paperwork, and $130 online, it costs to form a domestic LLC within Wisconsin. A Wisconsin out-of-state LLC registration costs $100

Can I be my own registered agent?

Yes, provided you are a Wisconsin resident and at least 18 years of age. A registered office must be established in Wisconsin. The registered office is where the registered agent conducts business. An LLC cannot be its own registered agent.

What tax flexibility can an LLC offer?

LLCs can be taxed in a variety of ways: as partnerships, sole proprietorships, C corporations, or S corporations. This allows LLC members to reduce their tax burden.

author avatar
Brian Wilson Writer and Editor
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar. Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor's degree in business from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications. Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email:   info@llcradar.com Phone: 972-776-4050
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