How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin (WI LLC 2022)


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How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin: If you’re interested in setting up a Wisconsin LLC, you’ve come to the right place. Having an LLC not only protects your personal assets but also is less complicated than other business structures. Wisconsin laws make it easy to establish your LLC. On this page, You’ll find all the steps that must be taken to ensure that your LLC has been correctly established. We recommend you read the whole article very carefully, word by word, don’t miss anything 🙂

wisconsin llc

How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company is a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. It separates your personal assets from your business assets, thus giving you personal asset protection.

If you wish to start an LLC, you mainly have to file your Certificate of Formation with the State and pay a filing fee of $130. There are some more steps to follow to get your LLC established in Wisconsin. The following steps explain everything you need to create your LLC in 2022. Let’s get started! It is always recommended to hire a professional LLC formation service in Wisconsin to set up your LLC.

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your Wisconsin LLC

Wisconsin name your llc

The very first step while forming an LLC in the state of Wisconsin is to give a proper name to your LLC. Before you name your business, you must know that the name should be easy to remember, available in the state, and follows all the LLC naming guidelines.

LLC Naming Guidelines in Wisconsin

There are a few specific requirements all the LLCs in Wisconsin have to follow while naming their Company. Some of the most important requirements are as follows:

  • Your business name should be available and no other existing business in Wisconsin can have the same name. Perform a name search from the below-mentioned source to be sure your name isn’t taken already.
  • “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, and “L.L.C.” – any one of these has to be used as a suffix in your business name.
  • You cannot use any name for your business that is confusing or misleading. Terms such as “Treasury”, “State Department”, “FBI”, “CIA”, etc. shouldn’t be included.
  • Terms like “Bank“, “University“, “Attorney“, “Doctor“, etc can be added only after the additional requirements by Wisconsin State Government are fulfilled.
  • (Optional) It’s better to name your business something for which your desired domain is available.
Important Links –Submit Offline Form to –
Wisconsin Business Entity Search – Online Name Search
Name Reservation Form – PDF
Name Availability Standards – Guidelines
Wisconsin LLC Name Search – Instructions
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison, WI 53705

Reserve Business Name for Future

If you do not wish to file your LLC right now but want to hold the name you have decided, then you can reserve your LLC name for 120 days. To keep the name, you have to file a name reservation application and pay $15 to reserve your name with the Wisconsin Secretary of State. By paying $25 you can expedite the process.

Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name

Once you have a legal name for your LLC, you can register it. However, it is not mandatory. You can, instead, use DBA, Fictitious Name, or Trade Name. In that case, you must register your name with the Wisconsin Secretary of State by submitting an Application to Register Trade Name in Wisconsin, along with the filing fee of $15.

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TailorBrands offer DIY website templates and incredible logo designs. If you plan to get a website then it is wise to have a “.com” domain for your business but these days you can also use other TLDs like “.company”, “.xyz” etc. With TailorBrands, you can get everything you need at an affordable price.

Do I have to include LLC in my company email/domain?

It is not legally mandatory to use the word LLC in your domain name or email. If you want, you can use it. However, it is recommended not to use LLC in the domain name. A domain name should be short and easy to remember.

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Wisconsin

Wisconsin registered agent

The second step to forming an LLC in the state of Wyoming is to appoint a Registered Agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that will act or work on your LLC’s behalf. This person or business will receive important tax forms, legal documents, all notices of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Wisconsin. Hence, hiring a competent Wisconsin Registered Agent for your LLC is necessary. 

Make sure your registered agent for service of process is a resident of Wisconsin or has a physical street address. Their business address or the principal address should be in Wisconsin. Most LLC formation companies also provide registered agent services. Below are two great LLC setup services; even if you buy their cheapest plan (normally $49/year), you also get registered agent service and other services at a reasonable price.

LLC Service

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$299 + State Fees

  • Turnaround in a few days

  • EIN & Website Included

  • Operating Agreement Included

These LLC formation services are recommended registered agent services as they are authorized to conduct business in Wisconsin. Some LLC formation services offer standalone Wisconsin registered agent services. You can purchase only Registered Agent services from them without purchasing any other LLC formation services.

Who Can Be a Registered Agent?

A person who is above 18 years of age and has a physical address in the state of Wisconsin can be a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent can be an independent person or can be a business entity. One who is responsible for handling all the legal documents.

Can I Be My Own Registered Agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent if you are a resident of the state of Wisconsin and you are above 18 years of age. To become a registered agent you must have the authority to conduct any type of business in Wisconsin.

Registered Agent Consent Application

In Wisconsin, there is no separate Consent Letter to be produced to the Secretary of State. At the time of change of Registered Agent (or the name or address), the new Registered Agent has to sign the consent letter. It comes with the Application form to Change the Registered Agent. The filing fee of $10 should be paid for it. For more information on the same, read our guide on Wisconsin Registered Agent.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Wisconsin

Wisconsin certificate of formation

The third and most important step in forming an LLC is to file the Articles of Organization. This Wisconsin Articles of Organization is a legal document needed to officially register your business with the Secretary of State. It costs $130 (online and $170 by mail) to file your formation certificate in Wisconsin. (Read more on LLC cost in Wisconsin).

The Certificate of Formation includes details like the name of the LLC, registered agent’s name, address, employees’ details, and structure of the company (member-managed or manager-managed). Before hiring employees in Wisconsin LLC, one should know about the rules and regulations thoroughly. Also, if you are expanding your existing business (an LLC) to Wisconsin, then you need to register as a Wisconsin Foreign LLC.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. You will get the online service page. It does not need you to log in or register with the portal. You can directly start filing your LLC by clicking on the “Online Filing” button below. Read more about the Wisconsin Articles of Organization for online registration.

How to File by Mail

If you prefer filing real-life forms for your LLC registration, then you can download Domestic LLC Formation Form. Read the form thoroughly, fill it out, and mail it to the following address,

Mailing Address:

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

Processing Time: It takes no time (immediately) to get a Wisconsin LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 5 business days to get an LLC. By paying an additional fee, it can be expedited.

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Step 4: Create Your LLC Operating Agreement in Wyoming

Wisconsin operating agreement

Moving on to the fourth step, filing your operating agreement. An operating agreement is an internal document that legally outlines the proprietorship and operating procedures of your LLC. This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

When it comes to filing a Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement, the state does not require you to have a comprehensive operating agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all the details of your business operation. Like Wisconsin, there are other states that do not have a mandatory rule to file operating agreements. But, this document would be useful if you decide to dissolve Wisconsin LLC later. Hence, having an operating agreement may not be necessary, but it is definitely ideal.

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Step 5: Filing an LLC EIN in Wisconsin

Wisconsin file EIN for llc

The Employer Identification Number or, simply, the E.I.N. is a nine-digit number given by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make it easier to identify the type of business for tax purposes and taxes in general. The EIN is necessary for any active business or any form of business for that matter. 

EIN is needed when the LLC hires employees. Hiring employees in Wisconsin LLC requires following specific rules and regulations. On the other side, EIN for Wisconsin foreign LLC should be obtained if your LLC is based in other states.

To obtain EIN (aka FEIN) one has to fill up a form (Online or by mail) and submit it to the IRS. Enter details of your LLC, and finally complete the form and send it to the address given. You can also get an EIN Assistant who can help you with the process.

Mail to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935 | Fee: Free

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Note: You don’t need a Social Security number when getting an EIN. You can proceed to fill out I.R.S. Form SS-4 and leave section 7b blank. You must then call the IRS at (267) 941-1099 to complete your application. Agents or employees will help you with that.


Congratulation, you are now done with all the necessary steps to form your LLC in the state of Wisconsin. If you do it yourself, it should take you a long time to properly understand and do all the steps.

However, if you use TailorBrands, it should be way faster. You will always have a live chat option as well as phone support with experts for any help you need. Their worry-free service will make things easier for you.


After Starting Your Wisconsin LLC

After forming your LLC, there are still some things that you will need. Take note of the following:

  • Get a company business bank account
  • File Wisconsin business permits & licenses. Business licenses are required to conduct business legally. 
  • Get general liability insurance and professional liability insurance with coverage for employees.
  • File a Wisconsin LLC annual report or biennial report

This page has provided you with steps to LLC formation and filing processes. You now have to remember upcoming filing deadlines and filing fees or filing costs, including fees for late filings, to make sure your LLC is up-to-date.

Cost of Starting an LLC in the State of Wisconsin

Forming an LLC in the state of Wisconsin is no doubt more cost-effective than other structures of a business. There are some fees and charges one has to bear to form an LLC in the state of Wisconsin. LLCs have pass-through taxation. Hence, your LLC won’t bring you a massive tax burden. Here are some of the fees and taxes are needed to be paid while forming an LLC in the state of Wisconsin,

Fees/TaxAmount to be Paid
Name Reservation Fee$15
Name Reservation Fee (Expedited Fee)$25
Certificate of Formation Fee$170 (by mail and $130 online)
LLC Annual Fee$25
Sales Tax5%

In Wisconsin, an LLC name reservation is not mandatory. You can register your LLC name at the time of registering your LLC. If you wish to hold the name for some time without registering your LLC, then you can do that online. Your LLC name will be reserved for 120 days without registering your LLC. It can be done by paying $15.

In Wisconsin, an Annual Report has to be produced every year. It costs $25. Also, the State of Wisconsin requires LLCs to pay a Sales Tax of 5% every year. Read our guide on LLC costs in Wisconsin for more information.

Wisconsin Foreign LLC

If you are interested in forming a Foreign LLC in the state of Wisconsin, then you need to file the Certificate of Foreign LLC to the Wisconsin Secretary of State. Foreign LLCs allow you to operate your business in more than one state. Along with the Certificate of Foreign LLC, you need to submit some more documents, like the Certificate of Good Standing, etc. to the Wisconsin SOS to form your foreign LLC in the state of Wisconsin. foreign limited liability company in the state of Wisconsin. A foreign limited company will have all the above-mentioned documents, such as a foreign limited liability company agreement, registered agent, certificate of good standing, and such documents. To know more in detail, check out our guide on Wisconsin Foreign LLC.

Reasons to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a popular state in the United States today. Not just being the ‘Dairyland’ of the nation, but also for its strong economy. Also, the state is the heart of food businesses. The state has more than thousands of active LLCs at this moment operating in different locations. Lately, the state has become one of the favorite spots for small and new businesses for its vast tax benefits and incentives. LLCs are easy to form in terms of management structures or business entity structures. There is no personal liability for any business expense. It takes 1-3 business days to form your LLC. In future, if business dissolution takes place, it will be easier for the members. 

Along with the reduction in tax liabilities, the state offers various business funding options. Some of the benefits are discussed below,

Wisconsin Enterprise Zones – Tax Credit

If a limited liability co. Starting its operation in Wisconsin Enterprise Zone or expanding the existing business, the LLC can enjoy huge tax benefits. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has initiated this program under which existing and new businesses will get tax credits and other benefits. Job creation projects, development projects, and such projects will get the advantage of this program. Read more on Wisconsin’s classification of LLC tax.

Development Opportunity Zones – Tax Credit

Another program Wisconsin offers is the DOZ tax credit. Under this program, if a Wisconsin limited liability company starts its operation in Beloit, Janesville, or Kenosha, it may receive tax benefits. If your LLC involves job retention, job creation, development of stressful areas, and high capital investment in such areas, then you may enjoy the credits and incentives.

Tax Exemption

A certain type of business in Wisconsin gets freed from sales and use tax. As a start-up, if you operate businesses like manufacturing materials and equipment, pollution abatement, waste management, recycling materials, equipment, etc., you might get freed from the tax. 

Flexible and Easy Profit Distribution

Unlike a partnership, the profit distribution in LLCs is not equal or 50%. The profit-sharing in LLCs is flexible and depends on the amount of contribution by each member. Also, it is much easier to file LLC documents if you have a registered agent to lend a hand. 

Best Businesses in Wisconsin

If you have decided to form an LLC in the state of Wisconsin, it must be the best decision to see the state’s business environment. But before you take any business decision, you should know the state’s overall economy and its top businesses. In the below-mentioned detail, you will get an overview of the following.

Agriculture based businesses

The state is known to produce around 26% of the nation’s cheese with the help of more than a million cows present in the state. More than 8,000 licensed dairy farms in the state produce around 3,37 billion cheeses in a year, with the help of which dairy farms alone have earned $5.4 billion.

Apart from dairy businesses, the state has the best in the class production of potatoes and corn. The state has around 68,700 farms contributing a total amount of $104.8 billion to the state GDP.

Manufacturing Businesses

Manufacturing is the state’s biggest business industry, which is contributing more than $63.31 billion to the state.  There are more than 7,737 active manufacturing firms in the state that are employing more than 475,000 workers. Top products that are manufactured in the state are:-

  • Fabricated Metal Products
  • Paper industry food and Beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Computer and electronic services
  • Aerospace equipment

All of these business firms provide 44% of employment to the state’s working population. Also, manufacturing has exported around $21.24 billion of goods, most of which are produced by small businesses.

Healthcare Businesses

The healthcare sector accounts to have produced around 92,930 jobs in the state. The healthcare industries have exponential growth, which is shown with the help of health insurance rates. More than 87% of people own health insurance, and the industry mainly aims to provide insurance to low-income families.

Some of the small income businesses that are running in the state are:-

  • Health and beauty care business
  • Automobile repairing business
  • Sports and recreational business

Wisconsin LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Just to recap, here are the easy steps again when forming an LLC in Wisconsin. Click on the steps in this list to read the full detail.

  1. Name your Wisconsin LLC

    The first thing you must do is to choose a company name, which should be unique, easy to find, and available in the state.
    name your llc

  2. Choose a Registered Agent

    In Wisconsin, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. Get a professional Registered Agent from LLC formation services to get things done hassle-free.
    registered agent

  3. File a Formation Certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming a Limited Liability Company in Wisconsin. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    articles of organization

  4. Create an Operating Agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement in Wisconsin, but something encouraged when you start an LLC to avoid future conflicts.
    operating agreement

  5. Get an EIN

    The Employer Identification Number (EIN), also called Federal Tax Identification Number, serves to identify a business entity, like a social security number, but for a company.
    file EIN for llc

Things to Consider While Starting an LLC in the State of Wisconsin

This article has an important step-by-step process to start your LLC in the said state. However, there are a few things one must consider while setting up your liability company. The very first thing is your limited liability company name. You can easily search for a suitable one in the business name database. Entrepreneurs can reserve their business names before they file their LLCs. Business formation service providers offer business name reservation service at a reasonable price.

The next big thing is to get a business website. Get an ideal domain for your website. If you go for a professional service provider, you will get a domain name search tool and domain name registration service. You can get a preliminary domain for your dream business at a reasonable price.

The next is the registered agent requirement. All the main requirements are mentioned above in the 2nd step. LLCs have to file their agent’s name while filing their LLCs. They send the notice to the agent with instructions written on them. Agents have to follow those instructions while operating. They have to be present in their official address during regular business hours.

After that, you need to file your LLC. The filling speed can be increased with rush filing service. With Wisconsin state filing, you can expedite the filing as well. There are many methods of filing. Online filing, filing by mail, fax filing (in a few states), and in-person filing.

LLCs are required to file taxes. Filing taxes are important as it can lead to heavy penalty. LLCs need to file personal tax returns. a single-member LLC is taxed like a sole proprietorship. When it comes to business taxes, LLCs have very less tax burden. LLCs do not have double taxation. They must file personal income tax returns and other federal tax returns with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

The formation process of an LLC is much easier than others. It has flexible management that helps in taking management decisions correctly. However, there are things that need professional supervision. For example, with professional services, you will get worry-free compliance service, amendment filing service, and also filing speed with them is more than normal time.

When it comes to having an LLC, you need to get your business accounts and business credit cards. If you have a separate account for your LLC, it keeps your personal expenses and business transactions separate. For any legal business entity or an individual business owner, having separate accounts is required. Besides, various other business tools can be used if you are starting your LLC on a large basis.

To form an LLC, you must have a proper business idea. With professional help, you will get business experts who will guide you in implementing your business formation plans. LLCs protect your personal assets from any business liability. Also, LLCs are not directly taxed. It depends on the individual business income and how the members will be taxed.

How Fast Can I Form an LLC in Wisconsin

When filing online for LLC in Wisconsin, the process can be completed immediately, after the payment is done. In person filing may take up to 5 business days.

Creating an LLC in Wisconsin is easy. Whether you’re starting up a new business or a new branch of an existing business, a Wisconsin LLC can help you legitimize your business in the eyes of your customers. In addition to providing a legal business name, an LLC will separate your personal finances from the business. It can also help you get loans in your business name and apply for insurance in your business name.

You can form an LLC in Wisconsin online. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI) has an online system that allows you to create an LLC in five days or less. However, if you prefer, you can file your LLC’s articles of organization by mail. The process involves filing an original and one copy of your LLC’s articles of organization, along with a $170 filing fee. The WDFI processes printed forms within five business days.

Wisconsin LLCs are required to annually file a report with the state. The report is not complicated, and it updates information on file with the state government. It’s due by the end of the registration anniversary quarter. You can also file your report by mail. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions offers a database to help you find the due date for your report. You can also use the online filing system to file your annual report. The fee for this service is $49 + state fees.

Wisconsin LLCs are also required to have a registered agent. A registered agent serves as your legal contact for government correspondence and is required to have a physical address in the state. The registered agent can be a person, a business entity, or a third party entity. In addition to receiving compliance-related documents, the registered agent will receive service of process notices. If the registered agent is a business, it can use the business address on the forms. However, if the registered agent is an individual, it must be a Wisconsin resident.

Before you begin the process of forming an LLC in Wisconsin, it’s important to take the time to choose a name that you will be happy with. You can choose a trade name, a DBA (doing business as), or an assumed name. A unique name is important for your business. Also, make sure to pick a name that is easy to remember. This will help your business attract more customers.

The name of your business can also be used on your website. A Wisconsin LLC name can include geographic allusions or rhymes, and can also include a name that references a popular pop culture product or event. If your business is based in Wisconsin, it’s recommended to choose a unique name to attract customers. Choosing a unique name will help you stand out from the rest of your competition.

In addition to registering your LLC, you should also open a business bank account. You can do this by obtaining an EIN, which is an identifier number assigned by the IRS. An EIN can be obtained directly from the IRS, or you can get one from Incfile.

F.A.Qs

Can I file an LLC in Wisconsin by myself?

If you are a resident of Wisconsin, then you can file your LLC by yourself. However, it is always worth having a professional than doing it yourself to handle legal complexities, paperwork, and other documentation.

What is the cost of forming an LLC in the state of Wisconsin in a year?

Apart from the formation fee of $130 (domestic LLC) and $100 (foreign LLC), LLC costs in Wisconsin include $25 for Annual Reports every year. LLCs are liable to pay sales tax of 5% every year.

How long does it take to get an LLC in the state of Wisconsin?

It takes no time (immediately) to get a Wisconsin LLC if you file it online. For the mail filing, it takes 5 business days to get an LLC. If you hire a professional LLC service, then it might take less than that. We recommend TailorBrands, which has an impeccable turnaround time.

How to renew my LLC in the state of Wisconsin?

Every year all the LLCs have to submit an Annual Report and pay $25 to the Wisconsin Secretary of State and renew the LLC. It is mandatory to renew your LLC every year.

What is the tax structure for an LLC in the state of Wisconsin?

Generally, for LLCs, it is a default tax structure. Once you obtain the EIN, you will get the various tax structure options to select. Sometimes LLCs choose S Corp to reduce federal tax burdens. Read more on the Wisconsin Classification of LLC Tax.

In Conclusion

LLCs are easier to establish than other business structures. Small businesses, especially start-ups, can easily start an LLC in the state of Wisconsin at a bare minimum cost. LLCs have a ‘pass-through taxation’ advantage for which they are excluded from certain taxes. The formation of limited liability companies requires much lesser documents and legal processes. Share your queries with us, and leave a comment below.

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