Forming an LLC in Wisconsin

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

If you're forming an LLC in Wisconsin, then you'll want to ensure that you understand the necessary requirements to make sure it's a successful formation. This article explains the steps needed for forming a Wisconsin LLC and provides links to the forms you need to get your business off the ground and the relevant statutes that apply.

Forms for Wisconsin LLC Formation

To form a corporation in Wisconsin, you must file specific documents. The same is required to form a Wisconsin LLC. Fortunately, the process is relatively straight forward. You can use FindLaw's Wisconsin LLC Formation package to get started.

LLC Attributes

"LLC" stands for "limited liability company." This refers to the liability protection available to LLC owners who aren't personally liable for the company's debts or judgments. LLCs also have the same tax advantage of "flow-through" taxation found in a partnership.

Forming an LLC in Wisconsin: Overview

Although forming an LLC isn't especially challenging, the requirements vary depending on the jurisdiction. Read on for a helpful overview of how to form an LLC in Wisconsin, with links to relevant statutes.

Statutes

Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 180-188:

Name the LLC

Wisconsin LLC names must:

  • Contain the terms "Limited Liability Company"; or "Limited Liability Co."; or the approved abbreviations "L.L.C." or "L.L.C."; and
  • Be different from the names of existing businesses that are already registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

You can check the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Business Name Database for name conflicts.

You may pay a fee and reserve a name (for 120 days) by filing an application by postal mail only.

Select a Registered Agent

Every Wisconsin LLC and foreign LLC doing business in Wisconsin must select a registered agent who agrees to accept legal documents if the company is sued.

The agent must have a physical street address in Wisconsin and:

  • Be a Wisconsin resident; or
  • A business entity authorized to do business in Wisconsin.


File Articles of Organization

You must file the Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing (which includes fees) must include the following information:

  • The LLC's name and address;
  • The LLC's purpose;
  • The registered agent's name and address;
  • Whether the LLC is member-managed or manager-managed;
  • The name of the drafter of the articles; and
  • The name and address of every LLC organizer.

You may file online or via regular mail.

Create an Operating Agreement

Wisconsin doesn't require them, but it's a good idea to create an operating agreement.

Comply with Tax and Regulatory Requirements

If your LLC has more than one member, then you must apply for an (EIN), an Employer Identification Number.

If your company sells goods and collects sales tax, you will likely have to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR).

Determine Necessary Business Licenses/Permits

You may have to obtain local and state business licenses, depending on the type of business and the location.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Foreign LLCs

All LLCs organized outside of the state must register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions to do business in the state. All foreign LLCs must appoint a registered agent for process of service who is either a Wisconsin resident or a business entity authorized to do business in Wisconsin.

Annual Reports

Every Wisconsin LLC and foreign LLC that is authorized to do business in Wisconsin must file an annual report with the Department of Financial Institutions. The annual report is due at the end of the calendar quarter of the anniversary month of the LLC's formation.

Forming an LLC in Wisconsin: Related Resources

Start Forming a Wisconsin LLC with an Attorney's Help

The first step on your path to forming an LLC in Wisconsin involves completing and filing the formation documents. If you require further assistance with complex formation issues, you should turn to a legal professional. Get help from an experienced Wisconsin attorney today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.