Wisconsin LLC – How to Form an LLC in Wisconsin [5 Easy Steps]

Forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Wisconsin is easy and affordable. The following are few procedural steps on how to start an LLC in Wisconsin. LLCs can be formed in two ways, domestic and/or foreign. If you are planning to set up an LLC in states other than Wisconsin, visit How to Start an LLC.

Wisconsin LLC

How to Start a Wisconsin LLC

Suppose you’re planning to invest in some profitable business or maybe about to set up your business in Wisconsin. In that case, forming a Wisconsin LLC is the simplest form of business for you. Having a limited liability co is easy as it reduces the owner’s personal liability for company or business debt.

An LLC or a Limited Liability Company a hybrid business entity combining a corporation’s characteristics with a partnership or sole proprietorship. This section gives you a step-by-step guide on How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin. 

Step 1: Decide a Name for Your LLC

name llc

If you are to start an LLC in Wisconsin, the first thing you do is decide on a business or company name, and how to name your LLC may be tricky. Thus, you have the option to choose a name that complies with the Wisconsin business naming requirements. It must also be easily searchable for potential clients. Here is a step-by-step guide to follow when naming your Wisconsin LLC. 

Why do you need a proper business name?

If you want your LLC to have special identification, your company name is essential. However, many people face lots of issues by avoiding focus on choosing a business name for their LLC business formation filings.

Because of this, here are some of the major benefits of choosing the best LLC corporate names.

  • To help establish a company’s presence in the market, a proper business entity type will help you. This also creates a new identity that will resemble your LLC.
  • After you’ve properly chosen the name for your LLC, you will have no problems finishing the registration process.
  • You can only get the EIN number when you have your name registration certificate with you.
What are the requirements when deciding a name for your LLC? 

name search is vital to make sure your business’ name is unique. Check the availability of your name with Business Entity Search on the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s website. Reserve the name by completing the Name Reservation Request Form for Domestic Entities.  

  • Don’t include words that could confuse people about your company. Words like ‘treasury, state department.’
  • You should also avoid restricted words like ‘bank, attorney, university,’ because they may require a lawyer and more paperwork.
  • As for a business website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for domain use with NameCheap.
Reserve a business domain

Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a domain to avoid others from using your name for their website, so do visit NameCheap for your domain name and Kinsta for web hosting.

If you have decided on your URL name and have reserved it, now you need a business email service. You can set up a professional email account with Google GSuite.  

Step 2: Assign a Registered Agent in Wisconsin

get registered agent

A registered agent, (or agent for service of process) is a person/business entity that will act or work on your behalf. This person or business will do things like filing services and receive significant tax forms, legal forms, formation documents, a notice of lawsuits, and other official government correspondence in Wisconsin. Choosing Wisconsin-registered agents for your LLC is required. 

Make sure your registered agents are residents of Wisconsin. It could also be a business. Here are the recommended agents and employees for you:

LLC Service

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$49 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

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$299 + State Fees

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$399 + State Fees

  • 1st year free agent service

  • Digital storage

  • Different types of plans

These five LLC formation services are recommended agents’ registered services as they are authorized to conduct business in Wisconsin. Compare them to check the best yet cheapest option for you. Besides, each one of them is a professional service provider and can guarantee great service because they have been in the business for years. 

Step 3: File Articles of Organization in Wisconsin

file formation certificate

A Certificate of Name Reservation is needed to file Articles of Organization, as other states call it. You need to make reports of this certificate with the Wisconsin Secretary of State, which costs $130 online. You may file them online or by mail. 

This Certificate of Formation is a legal document needed to form your business officially. It will indicate details about your LLC in Wisconsin, like if it is a member-managed or managers-managed

Before you start filings, you must already have your LLC name and registered agents or employees. You will attach a copy of your Name Reservation Certificate along with a list of the services that your Wisconsin LLC will offer.

How to File Online

Go to the Secretary of State Online Service. Select “non-subscriber.” Fill out the online form. The website will alert you if your county does not support online filings after selecting your principal county.

Step 4: Create Your Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement

create operating agreement

An operating agreement is a 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. 

Starting an LLC in Wisconsin does not require you to have an operating limited liability company agreement, but it is ideal to have one that contains all your details of business operation.

Step 5: Filing a Wisconsin LLC EIN

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 types of business for tax purposes. It is like a Social Security number dedicated to a business. 

It is also called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or a Federal Tax Identification Number (FTIN). You will need this number for tax filing and to determine tax classification options.

Mail to:

Internal Revenue Service

Attn: EIN Operation

Cincinnati, OH 45999

Fax: (855) 641-6935

Fee: Free

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 account
  • File Wisconsin business permits & licenses
  • Get liability for business insurance with coverage for employees
  • File a Wisconsin LLC annual report or biennial report
  • Already existing LLCs that wish to operate in Wisconsin must register as a foreign Wisconsin LLC.  

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

Why 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. 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. 

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 Wisconsin LLCs is flexible and depends on the amount of contribution by each member. Also, it is much easier to file Wisconsin 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 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

Wisconisin LLC Formation Review

Time needed: 30 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 include the phrase “limited liability company,” or one of its abbreviations (LLC or L.L.C.).
    name llc

  2. Choose a registered agent

    In Wisconsin, it is mandatory to select a registered agent for your LLC. You can check out our list of our 5 Best LLC Services in the United States.
    get registered agent

  3. File a formation certificate

    Filing a formation certificate is necessary when forming an LLC. Depending on the state, it could be called any of the following: Certificate of Formation, Articles of Organization, or Certificate of Organization.
    file formation certificate

  4. Create operating agreement

    An operating agreement is not a strict requirement but something encouraged when you start an LLC.
    create 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.
    get an ein


What is the difference between ‘domestic LLC’ and ‘foreign LLC’?

A “domestic LLC” is one that conducts business in a state where it was formed. Meanwhile, a “foreign LLC” is an existing LLC that extended business to another state.

What do I need for Domestic and Foreign LLCs?

For Domestic LLCs, it is vital to have a Certificate of Name Reservation and Certificate of Formation. For the foreign LLCs, you must have a Certificate of Good Standing.

Is the cost to form an LLC the same across states?

The cost to form an LLC varies per state.

Does an LLC need to use a DBA?

Seldom do L.L.C.s use D.B.A. or a ‘Doing Business As’ name nor a fictitious business name. However, if you want to have one, you make read more about DBAs here

Why are operating agreements important?

This document is vital as it ensures that all business owners are on the same page regarding how they operate, thus reducing future conflicts.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind when naming my LLC?

>Your name should have “L.L.C. or LLC” or the phrase “limited liability the business.” 
>Do not include words that could create confusion between your LLC and any government business. 
>Words like ‘bank, attorney, university’ are restricted as well. 
>Lastly, your name should distinguish from other limited liability corporations, limited partnerships, or registered limited liability partnerships.

Where can I file my LLC name?

Typically, you can file your LLC name online or by mail. Check with the state where you will set up your LLC name. Take note that the fees for business names may also vary per state.  

How can I know if my URL name is available?

As for a website and your URL name, check if your name is still available for URL use with NameCheap to see if your name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t have plans to set up a website today, it will help if you buy a URL. Buying it can help to prevent others from getting your name; check out WPEngine, Kinsta, and GoDaddy for hosting and building your website. 

Can I mail the LLC Certificate of Formation to the Secretary of State?

No. Never mail these documents or payments to the Secretary of State directly. 

Why do I need an EIN?

The reason you might need an E.I.N. is that it would help for three reasons:
>Opening a business bank account
>Filing and managing federal and state taxes
>Hiring employees or agents

How do I get an EIN when I do not have a Social Security number?

You are not required 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.

I already have an EIN for a sole proprietorship; what now? 

Note that an LLC is different from a sole proprietorship. If you already have an EIN for your sole proprietorship, the IRS will require you to get a new one when your convert to an LLC. 

Do foreign applicants need an SSN to get an EIN?

International EIN applicants do not need an SSN to get an EIN.

What is an IRS?

The IRS is the one that will issue your EIN. You can request an EIN from the IRS ONLINE or download the FORM, fill it out, and send it by mail or fax.

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