How to Start a Company in Wisconsin
You must file the LLC EIN to start an LLC in Wisconsin. If you do this online, it costs $130. If you do it by mail, it costs $170.
This form is sent to Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). And once it’s accepted, your LLC is officially up and running.
To start an LLC in Wisconsin, there are other steps to take. For example, you could look up the name of your business and hire a Registered Agent.
We explain the Wisconsin LLC process step by step and give insider tips we’ve picked up over the years. Starting an LLC in Wisconsin is easy; you can do it today.
Costs of an LLC in Wisconsin Requirements The cost of the articles of incorporation is $130.Operating Agreement: $0 or $125 per year Number free on our website from the IRS Annual Report, for free$25 yearly.
A. Look up the name of your LLC
First, check to see if the name you want for your Wisconsin LLC is available in the state.
You can use the Corporate Records Search to do this. You can look for your business name to see if it is already in use by a Wisconsin business. You have to do this because, in the state, all companies can have different names.
Section 183.0112 of the Wisconsin LLC Act tells you what you need to know about how to name a Limited Liability Company.
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions says that the end of the name of your Limited Liability Company must have a proper designator. In Wisconsin, you can call an LLC “LLC,” “Limited Liability Company,” “LC,” “Limited Company,” or “Ltd. Liability Co.”
Your LLC can’t have a name that sounds like it’s a different kind of business arrangement. For example, your character can’t include the words or forms Corporation, Corp., Inc., Incorporated, or Cooperative. There are also other rules, like making sure that the name of your LLC doesn’t sound like a government organization
B. Choose a Registered Agent in Wisconsin
The next step is to pick a Registered Agent in Wisconsin.
A Wisconsin Registered Agent is a person or company that accepts legal mail (called “Service of Process”) and state letters on behalf of your Wisconsin Limited Liability Company.
Who can act as a Registered Agent for an LLC?
You can choose from the following three people to be the Registered Agent:
You or a friend or relative
The service of a registered agent
Your LLC’s “Registered Agent” must have a street address in Wisconsin. PO You can’t bring boxes.
If you, a friend, or a family member will be your LLC’s Registered Agent, they should be okay with their name and address being in public records.
You can hire a Registered Agent Service for your LLC if you don’t have an address in Wisconsin or if you want more privacy.
C. File the Articles of Organization for Wisconsin
You must file Wisconsin Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions to start an LLC.
If you file your LLC Articles of Organization in Wisconsin online, the fee is $130. If you file by mail, the price is $170. This fee is paid only once when you set up your LLC.
Methods of Filing
The Articles of Organization can be filed online or by mail.
We suggest filing online because getting approved is more accessible and takes less time. The name of the online filing method is “Quickstart LLC.”
If you file by mail, you can download the Articles of Organization (Form 502) and send it along with a check or money order to the Wisconsin DFI.
Mailing address: Send your finished Articles of Organization and $170 filing fee to: State of WI – Dept. of Financial Institutions PO Box 93348 Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348
LLC approval time
If you file by mail, it usually takes five business days for a Wisconsin LLC to be approved (plus the time it takes for the mail to arrive). If you file for your LLC online, it will be accepted right away. Please see how long does it take to get an LLC in Wisconsin? This will let you know if there are any problems.
D. Make an operating agreement for your LLC
A Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement is a written deal that says who owns the LLC and how much each Member owns.
Operating Agreements can also say how taxes are paid, how gains are split, how the LLC is run, and what its business goal is.
Both Single-Member LLCs and Multi-Member LLCs should have an Operating Agreement, according to us.
LLC Operating Agreements can help you show that your Wisconsin LLC is being run correctly as a separate legal business entity in case you get sued.
You don’t have to send the Operating Agreement for your Wisconsin LLC to any state or federal office. It also doesn’t have to be signed by a notary. Just keep a copy of the business records of your LLC and give a copy to each Member.
Your Operating Agreement can be changed as needed. You can make any changes you want as long as everyone agrees.
E. Give your Wisconsin LLC an EIN.
The next step is to have the IRS give your LLC a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Your EIN Number is used to identify your LLC for tax reasons and to open a bank account for your business.
And, if necessary, to pay employees, get a credit card or loan for the business;
Get licenses and permits for your business.
Don’t ask for an Employer Identification Number until your LLC has been approved. If the state turns down your LLC, you’ll need to get a new EIN (and get rid of the old one).
It costs nothing to get a Federal Tax ID Number. Federal Tax ID Numbers are free to get from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
How to get an EIN if you are a US citizen or live in the US: If you already have an SSN or ITIN, you should apply for an EIN online. Here are the directions with steps: you can ask for an EIN online.
Non-US Residents: You can still get an EIN for your LLC even if you don’t have an SSN or ITIN. There is no way to apply online. You have to use it by mail or fax instead. Here are directions with steps: How to get an EIN if you don’t have an SSN or an ITIN.
F. File the annual report for your Wisconsin LLC
Every year, all LLCs in Wisconsin must file a Wisconsin LLC Annual Report.
The fee for filing an Annual Report is $25 per year, and the state works on a weekly basis. When the Annual Report for your LLC is due depends on when it was approved:
If your LLC was accepted between January 1 and March 31, the deadline is March 31.
If your LLC was approved between April 1 and June 30, the deadline is June 30. If it was approved between July 1 and September 30, the deadline is September 30. If it was approved between October 1 and December 31, the deadline is December 31.
When do I have to give my first Annual Report? Your first Annual Report is due a year after your LLC was accepted. For example, your first Annual Report is due on March 31, 2024, if your LLC was accepted on February 15, 2023.
How to file an Annual Report for an LLC
You can send your LLC’s Annual Report online or by mail. We suggest that you file online because it’s easier.
File online: Go to the state’s online filing page and search the database for your LLC. Then, fill out your LLC’s Annual Report online and pay the $25 fee.
Report by mail: Get the Wisconsin Annual Report (Form 5) and fill it out. Then get a check or money order for $25 made out to “The State of Wisconsin” Send your Annual Report and payment to: the Department of Financial Institutions PO Box 93348 Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348
After your Wisconsin LLC has been set up, there are a few more things to think about.
G. LLC bank account for business
For an LLC, you’ll need to open a business bank account. This makes it much easier to keep your business’s books and records.
By keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances, having a separate business bank account keeps your personal assets safe from business debts.
Credit card for a business
After you open a business bank account for an LLC, the bank will give you a debit card. But you might also want to get a credit card for your business to get benefits. This is also helpful for keeping work costs and personal costs separate.
Website and web address
You can look to see if your business name can be used as a domain name. You can use GoDaddy to look for your domain name.
Licenses and permits for a business in Wisconsin
Wisconsin does not have a general business license required at the state level. But your LLC may need a local business license or permit based on where it is located.
And some jobs and hobbies may need a license from the state. For example, if you sell things in Wisconsin, you may need a sales tax license to receive sales tax.
You can learn more on our Wisconsin business license page.
Some people choose to pay a business to find out what licenses they need. IncFile is a good choice if you want to hire someone.
H. Phone for business
You can get a business phone number from Phone.com if you don’t want to use your personal or home phone number for your business.
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI): You can get in touch with the DFI if you have any questions about starting an LLC in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s Financial Institutions Corporations Bureau can be reached at (608) 261-7577.
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.