How Much Does It Cost to Start an LLC in Wisconsin?

Legal business registration and keeping your business in good standing with the state involves investment on your part. Some of these costs are payable to the WI Department of Financial Institutions (WI DFI), while others are due to the federal or other state government entity. We’ve covered some of the most common requirements and fees below.

Note that Wisconsin business licenses and permit fees may need to be paid for when you first form your business, on an ongoing schedule or on an ad hoc basis. Find more details below.

Initial Wisconsin LLC Fees

When you first form your business in Wisconsin, you’ll need to file as an LLC with the WI DFI and pay a filing fee. Here are the current fees and filing times:

State Fee State Filing Time Expedited Filing Time
$130 5 Business Days 1 Business Day

When you form through Incfile, we automatically charge you this fee and forward it to the WI Department of Financial Institutions when we file your formation paperwork.

Incfile can file your formation paperwork for you for free

Just pay the required state fee.

You can pay a rush fee to form your LLC more quickly with Incfile.

Employer Identification Number

Every LLC in the U.S. should secure a unique Employer Identification Number (EIN). These are provided by the Internal Revenue Service, and you use it when you file taxes, open a business bank account and pay employees. You can obtain one yourself at no cost from the IRS or have Incfile do it for you.

Foreign LLCs

When you want to do business in a state other than the one where your business is based, you must create a foreign LLC.

Wisconsin Foreign LLC Registration

Before you can bring an arm of your business from another state into Wisconsin, you must request Wisconsin Foreign Qualification. This means the state gives you permission to conduct business there.

To request registration of a Wisconsin Foreign LLC, you must complete a Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Certificate of Registration and pay a $100 filing fee. The state may have additional requirements, so contact the WI Department of Financial Institutions for more information.

Foreign Qualification to Operate in Another State

If you plan to expand your Wisconsin LLC into another state, you’ll first need a Foreign Qualification or a Certificate of Authority from that state. This is necessary if you'll have a physical presence, employees or banking in that state.

You'll likely be required to complete an application and pay a filing fee, but each state has different requirements. To plan accordingly, compare state filing times and state filing fees first. Also, contact the state government entity that administers business (usually the Secretary of State) to confirm their requirements and get specific instructions.

If you need assistance, Incfile provides a complete Foreign Qualification service for all states.

Annual Report Requirements

Most states — including Wisconsin — require businesses to file an annual (or other periodic) report with the government entity that administers business formation and management. In many states, that's the Secretary of State. In this case, it's the WI Department of Financial Institutions.

If you file your annual report by mail, the fee is $25. If you file online, there's a $1 online processing fee. Here are the annual filing requirements for Wisconsin:

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

Incfile can also complete and file your Wisconsin annual report on your behalf.

Wisconsin Business Licenses and Permits

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the proper state, federal or local business licenses to operate your LLC. Some of these fees only need to be paid once, while others are ongoing charges.

Permits and licenses vary based on:

1

The type of business you run (e.g., healthcare providers must meet HIPAA requirements)

2

The industry your LLC operates in (e.g., restaurants will need health permits)

3

The location of your LLC (county or city) (e.g., a license to conduct business from the city of Madison)

Remember that operating your business without the required licenses can expose you to risks and fines from federal, state and local governments.

You can research these permits and licenses yourself or use Incfile’s Business License Research package, which includes:

  • A complete report on all the licenses, permits and tax registrations your LLC will need
  • The applications you'll need to file with the state, regional and federal licensing authorities

Operating Agreements

Wisconsin doesn’t require you to have an Operating Agreement for your LLC.

An Operating Agreement is a document that covers how the business will be run, how managers and members are chosen, rights and duties of members and several other key facets of your business.

This document can be extremely helpful in making sure you’re organized and prepared for any future events that may affect your business.

Incfile can draft a general Operating Agreement template when you form your Wisconsin business.

You can make changes to the template based on your unique requirements.

Other Potential Wisconsin LLC Fees or Requirements

You may need to pay and meet several other fees and requirements during the life of your LLC. These ad hoc fees are only payable under certain circumstances, which are listed below.

Obtaining a Trade Name or DBA

If you want to establish a Wisconsin DBA (trade name), you can file a form with the WI Department of Financial Institutions. You’ll need to pay a filing fee of $15.

Incfile can file your trade name or DBA forms on your behalf.

Changing the Registered Agent

You must appoint a Wisconsin Registered Agent when you file your Articles of Organization. You can also switch to a new Registered Agent later by filing a form and paying a $10 filing fee.

Choose Incfile to serve as your Registered Agent.

It’s free for the first year if you create your business with us and $119 a year after.

Reserving a Name for Your LLC

If you don’t want to form your LLC right away, you can reserve a business name for 120 days with the WI Department of Financial Institutions by filing a form and paying a fee of $15. First, perform a Wisconsin business search and learn about rules pertaining to business names to ensure the name you choose meets all state requirements.

Amending Certain Facts About Your LLC

Your business formation documents cover certain facts about your Wisconsin business when it's formed, but over time, these facts may change. If that happens, you need to file an Articles of Amendment form with the WI Department of Financial Institutions and pay a $40 fee. You can do this yourself or have Incfile file the form on your behalf.

Some reasons for filing Articles of Amendment include:

  • Altering the stated business activities of your LLC
  • Adding, removing or changing an LLC member or manager
  • Changing your LLC's business address

Getting a Certificate of Good Standing

Some organizations will request that you prove your LLC’s compliance with laws and tax requirements. If you need to prove you've met your commitments, you’ll need a Wisconsin Certificate of Good Standing from the WI Department of Financial Institutions. You can order one online for a fee of $10.

Incfile can obtain a Certificate of Good Standing on your behalf.

The fees listed above detail many of the charges a standard WI LLC will be required to pay. In some unusual circumstances, you may encounter other one-off, periodic or ad hoc fees not listed above.

Of course, your LLC will also most likely need to pay self-employment, payroll, federal, state and sales taxes. More information about taxes can be found on the Wisconsin Business Taxes page.

FAQs About Wisconsin LLC Fees

What Happens to the State Fees I'm Charged When Forming My LLC?

We charge you this fee at cost and then pay that fee to the Department of Financial Institutions on your behalf when forming your Wisconsin business.

Where Do I Get Business Licenses and Permits for My LLC?

It depends on various factors, including:

  • Where your business is located
  • Federal, state and local regulations
  • The type of business you run
  • Governing organizations in your industry

Many new businesses need a business license, and you may be required to have additional licenses and permits. Our Business License Research package can take the guesswork out of it for you and help you learn what your LLC needs to be compliant.

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