Updated November 27, 2020:

Forming an LLC in Wisconsin

An LLC in Wisconsin is a limited liability company that has been established in the state of Wisconsin. Forming an LLC in Wisconsin is an easy and affordable process, very similar to the formation process in any other state.

Steps to Form an LLC in Wisconsin

To form an LLC in Wisconsin, there is a five-step process that one must follow. These steps are:

*Name your LLC.* To do this properly in Wisconsin, you must adhere to Wisconsin’s LLC naming guidelines, which stipulate that the name must contain some form of the phrase “Limited Liability Company,” that certain prohibited and restricted words are not used unless with permission and that the name is not a duplication of another LLC name. The state’s LLC name search can help you with this.

*Select a registered agent.* Wisconsin LLCs must have a registered agent to operate in the state. The registered agent serves and receives legal papers on behalf of the company. The registered agent must be a Wisconsin resident or a business with a physical address in Wisconsin. A member of the LLC, even the owner, can be the LLC’s registered agent.

*File your Articles of Organization.* Articles of Organization provide basic information about your LLC to the state, such as your LLC’s address, name, registered agent’s name, and address, member names, and organization type. These articles must be filed with the office of the Secretary of State and may be filed online or by mail. The filing fee is $130 for online filing and $170 for mail filing.

*Establish an Operating Agreement.* Legally, this is not required, but it is highly recommended. The Operating Agreement outlines the operating procedures and ownership duties of the LLC. It may be as simple or as extensive as you wish, but generally, such agreements will contain information pertaining to the members’ duties in the LLC, the members’ voting rights, the distribution of profits among the members, and how the departure of a member will be handled, as well as other operational information.

*Get an EIN.* An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a number provided by the IRS that identifies a business for tax purposes. It is required for filing federal and state taxes, and many banks require it for opening a business bank account. One can file with the IRS for an EIN free of charge.

Steps After Forming an LLC in Wisconsin

Once you have completed the above steps, you will have officially formed an LLC in Wisconsin. However, your work will not yet be done, as there are several more steps that are highly recommended before you go into business. These steps are:

*Separating your personal assets from your LLC.* To do this, you will want to open a business bank account for your LLC. Doing so keeps your LLC business separate from your personal business, which helps maintain your limited liability and makes tax filing and accounting easier.

*Register for Wisconsin’s state tax.* If your LLC has employees, you will have to register your LLC for Employee Withholding Tax and Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance. These can be registered for through the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue and the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, respectively.

*See to accounting details.* It will be easier to do this before you are in business than after. This involves getting your books in order and setting up an accounting system that you are comfortable with. There are many kinds of accounting software available for this, and those that can be accessed by your phone and can automatically sync with your bank account may be the most helpful.

*Obtain permits and licenses.* Your LLC must comply with all local, state, and federal regulations. Such regulations may require permits, such as signage, building, and health permits if you are operating a restaurant. The U.S. Small Business Administration guide to federal permits and licenses can help you figure out what permits you need.

*Get insurance.* Most businesses with employees are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. General Liability Insurance is also recommended, but not generally required.

*Ensure compliance with hiring laws.* If you hire employees, you will be legally required to verify your employees can work in the United States, report new hires to the state, provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance, withhold income taxes, place compliance posters conspicuously in the workplace, and pay employees no less than minimum wage.

Following these steps should allow you to properly set up your Wisconsin LLC. If you need further help setting up your LLC in Wisconsin, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5-percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law, and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with, or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.