How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin | 2024 Guide

Start a LLC in Wisconsin

How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin: If you’re looking to launch a business in Wisconsin, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be the right choice for you. An LLC provides personal liability protection for its owners while giving them flexibility in managing and taxing the business. This guide provides a step-by-step process for starting an LLC in Wisconsin. From choosing a unique name to registering with the state and obtaining necessary licenses and permits, Webinarcare Editorial Team will walk you through setting up your new business entity. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

What is a Limited Liability Company?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a type of business entity that combines a corporation’s limited liability protection with a partnership’s tax benefits. LLCs are popular among small business owners for their flexibility and ease of formation. In Wisconsin, an LLC must have a unique name and file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State. Depending on their business needs, LLCs may also elect to be taxed as a corporation or an S-corp. Owners of an LLC, called members, are not personally liable for the company’s debts and losses, and the company’s profits and losses are passed through to the member’s personal tax returns. This makes an LLC an attractive option for those seeking personal liability protection and simplified taxation.

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Steps on How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

To form an LLC for your business, you must follow the guidelines that include naming your LLC, hiring a Registered Agent, filing your Articles of Organization, creating your LLC operating agreement, getting an employer identification number, opening a bank account and getting business licenses and permits.

Step 1: Name your LLC in Wisconsin

After you have decided on the idea to form an LLC in Wisconsin, deciding the name for your LLC is significant. There is a complete guide on LLC name guidelines for you to have a proper LLC business name. Here are some regulations you must follow while naming your LLC,

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Wisconsin, if you do not wish to file your LLC right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application in Wisconsin Secretary of State to keep the name.

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You can register your business under a different legal name if your preferred name isn’t available. Once you have chosen a name, you can submit an application for filing Wisconsin DBA (doing business as). In this manner, you can choose any name you desire for your business. A DBA allows a company to operate under the name of the person or entity who owns it. If you have decided to file for a DBA, you can file it in two methods, by mail and in person. However, before filing a DBA, you should know that you need to renew your DBA from up to ten years, which costs around $15.

Step 2: Hire a Registered Agent in Wisconsin

Hiring a Registered Agent in Wisconsin is a must since a Registered Agent is a person or business entity responsible for receiving important legal documents on behalf of your Wisconsin LLC. Most states require you to designate a Registered Agent when forming your LLC.

The qualifications of a Registered Agent vary depending on the jurisdiction. Still, generally, a Registered Agent must meet the following criteria:

  • Availability: A Registered Agent must be available during regular business hours to receive and process legal documents and official correspondence.
  • Physical Address: A Registered Agent must have a physical street address within the state where the LLC is registered. This address, known as the registered office, cannot be a P.O. Box.
  • Residency or Authorization: For individuals serving as Registered Agent, they must be residents of the Wisconsin where the LLC was formed. A business entity acting as a Registered Agent must be authorized to do business within that state.
  • Age: A Registered Agent must be at least 18 years old.
  • Good standing: A Registered Agent should not have any legal or financial issues that impede their ability to fulfill their duties.

Choosing a reliable and responsible Registered Agent is essential, as failure to receive and respond to legal documents can seriously affect your business. Some businesses use professional Registered Agent services to ensure compliance and proper handling of legal matters.

However, if you would like to have an easier process in filing the necessary documents, you can get Wisconsin Registered Agent Services.

Step 3: File your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin

The Articles of Organization for an LLC is an important document to start your limited liability company (LLC). Wisconsin Articles of Organization is a simple document that contains the business name and address as well as the name and address of the person who received lawsuits on behalf of the organization.

Here are the guidelines and specific requirements in filing your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin.

1. Obtain the Necessary Forms: Visit the Wisconsin’s business filing office website, usually the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office, to download the required forms or file online.

2. Provide the Required Information: Fill in the necessary details in the form, which typically include:

  • The name of your LLC (must include an LLC designator such as “LLC,” “L.L.C.,” or “Limited Liability Company”)
  • The purpose of your LLC (a general statement or specific business activities)
  • The address of your LLC’s principal place of business
  • The name and address of your registered agent (the person or business entity responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your LLC)
  • The management structure of your LLC (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • The duration of your LLC, if not perpetual
  • The names and addresses of the LLC’s organizers or members

3. Sign and File the Form: Submit the completed form in the {state} state office, either by mail, in person, or online. You may mail it at State of WI – Dept. of Financial Institutions, P.O. Box 93348, Milwaukee, WI 53293.

4. Pay the Filing Fee: When you submit your Articles of Organization, you’ll need to pay a filing fee of $130. Make sure to check and include the correct payment with your submission.

5. Receive Confirmation: After your Articles of Organization have been filed and processed, you’ll receive a confirmation from Wisconsin, typically a stamped and approved copy of the document or a Articles of Organization.

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Once you have successfully filed your Articles of Organization and it has been approved, your Wisconsin LLC is officially formed. However, remember to complete additional steps, such as creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and registering for any required licenses and permits.

Step 4: Create Your Wisconsin Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that contains all of your company’s organizational details. Drafting an operating agreement in most states is not required. Yet, having one as an internal document is strongly advised. An operating agreement includes information like-

  • About Business
  • Members and management
  • Capital contribution
  • Profit Distribution
  • Change of membership
  • Dissolution

To understand how an operating agreement works, you should check out how to create an operating agreement in Wisconsin.

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Step 5: Get an EIN

After documenting the operating agreement, you should get or request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Wisconsin. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website.

The application of an EIN in Wisconsin can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

In obtaining an EIN for your LLC, you should be aware to ensure that your LLC is eligible for an EIN. You need an EIN if you have employees, operate as a corporation or partnership, or meet other specific IRS criteria. Before applying, gather the required information, including your LLC’s name, mailing address, and the responsible party’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Also, you can apply for an EIN through various methods, including online, by fax, mail, or telephone (for international applicants).

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

ZenBusiness($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Open a Bank Account and Prepare for Taxes

After you have filed for and received your Employer Identification Number, you should open a bank account because you will use this account for yourself, your clients, and your employees.

Your business dealings in Wisconsin might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Most banks demand an EIN to create a business bank account for firms other than sole proprietorships. Also, having an EIN makes tax preparation easier. You can anticipate paying employment and corporate taxes with Wisconsin LLC.

Opening a bank account is necessary for Wisconsin business. If you are still wondering where to open an account in your Wisconsin, you should check the Best Bank for Small Business in Wisconsin.

Step 7: Get a Business and License Permit

You must get a business license in Wisconsin before establishing your LLC. A business license is a legal document granted by a state government body that permits you to conduct business within the area under its jurisdiction. The price of business licenses and permits in Wisconsin ranges from $50 – $300. If there is a requirement for a specific license or city-based permit, you must inquire with the Wisconsin Secretary of State.

Cost to Form an LLC in Wisconsin

Even if you have a business name and structure in mind, you should consider whether you can afford the costs of forming an LLC in Wisconsin. Articles of Organization costs around $130. The initial filing fee is $170 (by mail and $130 online), and the annual fee is $25.

If you forget to pay the annual fee for your Wisconsin LLC, you will have a penalty of $40. However, you can check the Wisconsin LLC Cost for additional information.

Advantages of Creating Wisconsin LLC

Even though some people decide on what to do with their businesses, some choose to put it in their own individual name, while others still choose to set it up via LLC in Wisconsin. Important benefits will help you set up an LLC in Wisconsin.

  • Pass-Through Taxation: The pass-through structure will make the company not pay twice the tax. Most start-ups and entrepreneurs in Wisconsin apply for an LLC because of this structure. Pass-through taxation refers to how income and losses from an LLC (Limited Liability Company) are passed through to its members (owners) for tax purposes rather than being taxed at the business entity level. This means the LLC does not pay federal income taxes; the members’ profits and losses are allocated based on their interests. Each member then reports their share of the LLC’s income or losses on their personal tax returns and pays taxes at their individual tax rates.
  • Ownership Flexibility: If you need sole and primary control over your company’s operations, a sole proprietorship will allow you to do so. If you apply for an LLC in Wisconsin with flexibility, you will have default rules set by law and need an operating agreement.
  • Personal Liability Protection: Personal Liability Protection protects your business from damage, debts, or legal obligations. In personal liability protection, the company’s profits and earnings will stay as is even if your company is about to be sued. This protection of having an LLC in Wisconsin can also be extended to the company’s properties and assets. Many start-up companies will benefit from this since most are starting to build a company. Even if liability exists, the LLC in Wisconsin will protect its assets.

FAQs

What does LLC mean in Wisconsin?
LLC means Limited Liability Company in Wisconsin.
How much does it cost to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
The cost to form an LLC in Wisconsin is $130.
Can a single person start an LLC in Wisconsin?
Yes, a single person can start an LLC in Wisconsin.
How long does it take to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
It takes around 5-7 business days to form an LLC in Wisconsin.
Can I change my LLC’s name in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can change your LLC’s name in Wisconsin by filing Articles of Amendment.
Do I need an attorney to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
No, you do not need an attorney to form an LLC in Wisconsin.
Is a registered agent required in Wisconsin for an LLC?
Yes, a registered agent is required in Wisconsin for an LLC.
Can a Wisconsin LLC be managed by its members?
Yes, a Wisconsin LLC can be managed by its members.
Are there any annual reporting requirements for Wisconsin LLCs?
Yes, Wisconsin LLCs are required to file an annual report with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Are there any residency requirements for forming a Wisconsin LLC?
No, there are no residency requirements for forming a Wisconsin LLC.
Can an LLC be taxed as an S-corporation in Wisconsin?
Yes, an LLC can be taxed as an S-corporation in Wisconsin.
Do Wisconsin LLCs have to pay sales tax?
Yes, Wisconsin LLCs are required to pay sales tax.
Can a non-US citizen start an LLC in Wisconsin?
Yes, a non-US citizen can start an LLC in Wisconsin.
How do I dissolve my LLC in Wisconsin?
You can dissolve your LLC in Wisconsin by filing Articles of Dissolution.
Does Wisconsin have a publication requirement for forming an LLC?
No, Wisconsin does not have a publication requirement for forming an LLC.
Are there any licensing requirements for a Wisconsin LLC?
It depends on the industry, but there may be licensing requirements for a Wisconsin LLC.
Can I use a PO Box for my LLC’s registered agent in Wisconsin?
No, a PO Box cannot be used for an LLC’s registered agent in Wisconsin.
How many members are required to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
There are no minimum or maximum member requirements to form an LLC in Wisconsin.
Can a Wisconsin LLC have an out-of-state registered agent?
Yes, a Wisconsin LLC can have an out-of-state registered agent.
How often does a Wisconsin LLC have to renew its registration?
A Wisconsin LLC’s registration must be renewed every year.
Can a Wisconsin LLC have a non-US address?
Yes, a Wisconsin LLC can have a non-US address.
Can a Wisconsin LLC have multiple members and managers?
Yes, a Wisconsin LLC can have multiple members and managers.
Are Wisconsin LLCs required to have a written operating agreement?
No, but it is highly recommended that a Wisconsin LLC have a written operating agreement.
Can I file my Wisconsin LLC online?
Yes, you can file your Wisconsin LLC online.
Is the name of my Wisconsin LLC protected?
Yes, the name of your Wisconsin LLC is protected once it is approved and registered.
Can I change the structure of my LLC after it’s been formed in Wisconsin?
Yes, you can change the structure of your LLC after it’s been formed in Wisconsin.
Do Wisconsin LLCs have to pay self-employment tax?
Yes, Wisconsin LLCs are subject to self-employment tax.
What happens if I don’t file my Wisconsin LLC’s annual report?
Your Wisconsin LLC will be administratively dissolved if you do not file your annual report.
Do Wisconsin LLCs have to hold annual meetings?
It is not required under Wisconsin law, but it is recommended that Wisconsin LLCs have annual meetings.
What is an LLC and how is it different from a corporation in Wisconsin?
An LLC is a type of business entity in Wisconsin that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability protections of a corporation.
How do I know if my business is eligible to be an LLC in Wisconsin?
Any type of business can form an LLC in Wisconsin, including single-member LLCs, multi-member LLCs, and professional LLCs.
What are the steps to forming an LLC in Wisconsin?
To form an LLC in Wisconsin, you must file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, adopt an operating agreement, and obtain any required permits or licenses.
How much does it cost to start an LLC in Wisconsin?
The filing fee for Articles of Organization in Wisconsin is $130.
Does Wisconsin require an operating agreement for an LLC?
While an operating agreement is not required in Wisconsin, it is strongly recommended to ensure legal protections and clarify key business practices.
What is a registered agent and do I need one for my Wisconsin LLC?
A registered agent is a person or entity designated to receive legal notices and other official documents for your Wisconsin LLC. All LLCs in Wisconsin must have a registered agent.
Can I be my own registered agent for my Wisconsin LLC?
Yes, an LLC owner can be their own registered agent in Wisconsin, but they must have a physical address in the state and be available during regular business hours to receive legal documents.
Can I name my LLC whatever I want in Wisconsin?
Generally yes, as long as your LLC name is distinguishable from other business names in Wisconsin and complies with state laws and regulations.
How do I check if my desired LLC name is available in Wisconsin?
You can check the availability of a name in Wisconsin through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ database.
How long does it take to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for my Wisconsin LLC?
You can obtain an EIN from the IRS immediately online after completing the application.
Does an LLC in Wisconsin need a business license?
Whether or not your LLC requires a business license in Wisconsin depends on factors such as the type of business and its location. Consulting with Wisconsin agencies or securing necessary and fitting licenses is advised.
Does a Wisconsin LLC need to file an annual report?
All LLCs in Wisconsin must file an annual report with the Depart of Financial Institutions by the end of the quarter that follows its anniversary on the formation date.
What are the advantages of an LLC over a sole proprietorship in Wisconsin?
Some advantages of an LLC over a sole proprietorship in Wisconsin lie in their distinct legal entities, limited personal legal and financial liability, the potential for greater simplicity in ownership, less paperwork filing in most cases, and more.
What is the difference between a foreign LLC and a domestic LLC in Wisconsin?
A foreign LLC is formed in a state other than Wisconsin but plans to operate in Wisconsin, while a domestic LLC is formed in Wisconsin and conducts business there as their main or original state of activity.
Is it possible for a non-US resident to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
Yes, non-US residents can form an LLC in Wisconsin as long as they follow the same filing and operational requirements outlined by the state.
Can my Wisconsin LLC purchase real estate or lease property?
Yes, a Wisconsin LLC can purchase or lease property in the state. However, some counties, towns, and cities in Wisconsin may have limited regulations for property-related LLCs.
Is there a franchise tax or annual fee for LLCs in Wisconsin?
Annual franchise taxes for LLCs are fees related to businesses in particular jurisdictions. Wisconsin requires LLCs to pay an annual franchise tax ($25 minimal, max capped at $10,000), an annual report fee ($25), and other necessary filing fees.
Is an LLC operating agreement a legal requirement in Wisconsin?
Unlike Wisconsin Articles of Organization, or forming your business’s paperwork, in Wisconsin, an operating agreement isn’t legally required. Yet LLC-operated businesses sued about fundamental concerns like deciding obligations and commitments, funding or spending contributions, or property sharing will rely upon their internal paper records prepared/maintained through an Operating Agreement.
Can an LLC in Wisconsin be taxed as an S Corp?
Yes, an LLC can elect to be taxed as an S Corporation under certain circumstances and criteria.
What are the W-9 withholding requirements for an LLC in Wisconsin?
An LLC in Wisconsin must have a tax identification number or Employer Identification Number to use on W-9 forms issued to vendors and subcontractors. Additionally, an LLC may have to withhold certain amounts from income payments depending upon requirements of agreements in the course of business making income payments otherwise subject to Wisconsin internal revenue code laws.
Does a single-member LLC in Wisconsin need a separate bank account?
While having a separate business bank account/bin for policy reasons for new businesses is strongly advised in situations of liabilities, taxation filing, accounting expediency, there is no legal requirement necessitating a separate account for a Wisconsin LLC with an individual member (owner).
Does Wisconsin recognize series LLCs?
No, Wisconsin does not currently recognize series LLCs as a separate type of business entity.
Can a Wisconsin LLC change its business name or dissolve the entity?
Yes, Wisconsin LLCs can file for a business name change by filling out the appropriate forms. To legally dissolve an LLC in Wisconsin, you must file Articles of Dissolution with the Department of Financial Institutions.
How often must a Wisconsin LLC renew its operating agreement?
The specific renewal requirements are internal among the Wisconsion LLC governed by its own approved LLC Operating agreement internally. Reviewing your operating agreement periodically each filing season or in addition with in-house schedule on providing your company updated management is generally advised.
Is a foreign LLC allowed to register in Wisconsin?
Yes, a foreign LLC may register to do business in Wisconsin by filing an Application for Registration with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Are Wisconsin LLCs required to obtain business insurance?
Solely LLCs are at privilege of conveniences in regard to many insurances demands at times required by state and federal government and other industry standards, as insurances are generally contracted against risk and never completely prevent risk.
How long does a Wisconsin LLC registration remain valid?
A Wisconsin LLC registration remains valid unless it is involved in penalty contingencies or breaches from legal provision requirements that dissolve the entity formally with state offices being duly informed.
Can an LLC in Wisconsin operate in other states besides Wisconsin?
Yes, an LLC based in Wisconsin may operate in other US states provided the business effectively complies with the different incorporation laws necessary for conducting operations in other states.
Are there annual meetings for members or stakeholders of a Wisconsin LLC?
While the secretary or other agenda anchor operationally required may convene an operational reception and provide recorded agenda insight when member decisions of state involvement is deemed mandatory for benefit, the specific amounts of required gatherings hosted by Wisconsin-based LLCs varies, so consulting an attorney or law research or reviewing by-laws is advisable in these cases.

Also Read

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Wisconsin

One of the first things to consider when forming an LLC in Wisconsin is whether you want to handle the process yourself or enlist the help of a professional. While it is possible to file the necessary paperwork on your own, many business owners opt to work with an attorney or online service to ensure that everything is done correctly and efficiently.

If you decide to handle the formation of your LLC yourself, the first step is to choose a name for your business. This name must be unique and cannot be too similar to any other existing businesses in Wisconsin. Once you have selected a name, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. This document requires you to provide basic information about your business, such as its name, address, and the names of its members.

After you have submitted the Articles of Organization, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. This number is required for tax purposes and will allow you to open a business bank account and hire employees if necessary.

Once you have completed these steps, your LLC is officially formed, and you can begin conducting business in Wisconsin. However, there are a few additional tasks you may need to complete depending on the nature of your business. For example, if your LLC plans to sell goods or services, you will likely need to obtain any necessary licenses or permits from the state or local government.

Overall, the process of forming an LLC in Wisconsin is relatively straightforward and can be completed in a timely manner. By taking the time to carefully follow the necessary steps and consider any additional requirements for your specific business, you can ensure a smooth and efficient formation process.

In conclusion, while the timeline for forming an LLC in Wisconsin can vary depending on a few factors, such as whether you enlist the help of a professional or handle the process yourself, the overall process is relatively quick and easy to navigate. By following the necessary steps and ensuring that all requirements are met, you can form your LLC and begin conducting business in Wisconsin in a timely manner.

Conclusion

In conclusion, starting an LLC in Wisconsin is a strategic choice for entrepreneurs seeking a flexible, straightforward business structure with limited liability protection. By following the essential steps, including choosing a business name, filing Articles of Organization, appointing a Registered Agent, creating an Operating Agreement, obtaining an EIN, and securing the necessary licenses and permits, you can successfully establish your LLC. We recommend using ZenBusiness as they offer LLC formation at $0.

This business structure offers numerous advantages, such as pass-through taxation and ownership flexibility, making it an attractive option for small business owners looking to grow and protect their ventures. As always, consult legal and business professionals for guidance specific to your situation and state requirements.

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