Why Create a Wisconsin LLC?

Wisconsin offers numerous business incentives, including business development tax incentives and community rehabilitation program credits. With these kinds of programs, the state makes starting and running business easier than ever.

For most people who want to start a business, creating a Wisconsin Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the fastest and easiest way. An LLC is an ideal entity for startups and small- to medium-sized businesses. It gives you the advantages and protections that larger Wisconsin corporations benefit from, but with simplified rules and regulations.

Benefits of starting a Wisconsin LLC:

  • Protects your personal assets from your business liability and debts

  • Easy tax filing and potential advantages for tax treatment

  • Quick and simple filing, management, compliance, regulation and administration

  • Low cost to file ($130)

Learn more about the advantages of an LLC business structure.

In this guide, you’ll find information on naming your LLC, securing a Registered Agent, the fees you’ll need to pay, Wisconsin business taxes and much more. We’ll also cover what you'll need to register and file your LLC and how you'll interact with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

 

How to Form a Wisconsin LLC Yourself in 6 Steps

1

Complete a Wisconsin LLC Search and Choose a Unique Business Name

You’ll need to select a distinctive and original name for your LLC that’s not in use by any other business in the state. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name, try using Incfile’s Business Name Generator for ideas. You'll need to follow a few naming rules, which you can read about in detail on the Wisconsin Business Names page.

Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to make sure it’s available in Wisconsin. To find out whether another company in the state is using your chosen business name, use our tool to do a business name search. You can also carry out a name search on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website.

We can search the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions registry for you

2

Provide an Official Address for Your LLC

Whether it’s an office building, a home (if the company is run from a residence) or any other physical location, every LLC in Wisconsin must have a designated street address. It can be outside the state, and it can be a P.O. Box.

3

Assign a Registered Agent

A person who receives official legal and tax correspondence and is responsible for filing reports with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is called a Registered Agent. Every LLC in Wisconsin is required to have a Registered Agent.

You or another manager in the business can fill this position, or you can use a dedicated Registered Agent service. If your Wisconsin Registered Agent is a person, they must reside and have a physical street address in Wisconsin, and they must be present during business hours to receive documents for your company. In Wisconsin, you’re required to select your Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Organization to create your business.

All of Incfile’s packages include free Registered Agent service for the first year — and it’s only $119 per year afterward. We also have a dashboard where you can log in and easily view any document we receive on your behalf.

4

File Your Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

Once you've gathered all the information for your Wisconsin LLC, you’ll need to file a form with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. This officially creates your LLC.

Here’s what is typically included:

  • Your business name and address
  • Details of your Registered Agent
  • Purpose of your business
  • Duration (can be permanent)
  • Provisions for the regulation of the company’s affairs
  • Names and addresses of managers or members of the LLC at the time of filing
  • Name of the organizer

Your Articles of Organization can be filed online with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions filing system, you can mail a form to the Office of the Department of Financial Institutions or you can have Incfile do it on your behalf. The online Wisconsin LLC filing fee is $130.

Note: Filing the paper form by postal mail costs $170. You can save $40 by filing online or by letting Incfile process the paperwork for you.

File by Mail

State of WI - Dept. of Financial Institutions
P.O. Box 93348
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348

You’re only required to file your Articles of Organization once, but every year after that you must file an annual report. Incfile can remind you to file or we can do it for you.

Let Incfile Handle All the Paperwork for You $0 + the Wisconsin State Fee

What are the fees and requirements to form a business in Wisconsin?

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$130 3 Weeks 3 Business Days
State Fee $130
State Filing Time 3 Weeks
Expedited Filing Time 3 Business Days

Annual Report

Frequency

Annually

Due Date

Based on anniversary date

Domestic

Jan 1 - Mar 31: Mar 31
Apr 1 - Jun 30: Jun 30
Jul 1 - Sep 30: Sep 30
Oct 1 - Dec 31: Dec 31

Foreign

During first calendar quarter of each year following calendary year in the LLC becomes registered.

Filing Fee

$26*

*includes online processing fee

5

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service

To identify your business to the IRS, you’ll need an EIN. You’ll use this number when you file and pay taxes or when you submit payroll information and payments for your employees.

An EIN is also required to open a business bank account. You can obtain one directly from the IRS, or Incfile can get one for you as part of the Wisconsin LLC formation process.

6

Create an Operating Agreement

A kind of "blueprint" that explains how you'll run your business, an LLC Operating Agreement details how decisions will be made, how the business is divided among members and what happens if a member leaves the company.

Some states require that a company have an Operating Agreement in place. It isn’t legally required in Wisconsin, but it’s a good idea to have one nonetheless.

Receive a Personalized Operating Agreement when you select Incfile’s Gold or Platinum package

Other Wisconsin LLC Types

Foreign LLC

If your business is already operating in another state and expanding to Wisconsin — or vice versa — you’ll need to form a Foreign LLC.

Learn more about Wisconsin Foreign LLC registration.

Professional LLC

Some states allow certain types of businesses to form Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLCs). This type of LLC will typically require members to be licensed and will impose other specialized requirements as well.

Unlike other states, there is no Wisconsin PLLC option. Instead, groups of licensed professionals, such as attorneys, architects, engineers and physicians can form a service corporation.

Learn more about PLLC vs. LLC and which one is right for your business.

Helpful Resources from the State of Wisconsin

More Information in This Guide

You’ll find plenty more insight and guidance on the other pages of this guide, including:

How to Name Your Wisconsin LLC

How to search the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions business registry to find the right name. Includes details on naming rules, trade names, reserving an LLC name and more.

Wisconsin Registered Agents

How to appoint, change and search for Registered Agents — and the rules they’re required to follow.

Wisconsin LLC Fees and Requirements

How to understand the various fees you’ll need to pay and the state and federal requirements you’ll need to meet. Includes details of Employer Identification Numbers (EINs), state and federal business licenses, annual reports and more.

Wisconsin Business Taxes

How to understand the various taxes you'll need to pay to the state and federal governments. Includes details of state taxes, such as sales and income, and federal taxes, such as income and self-employment.

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