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Start Your LLC in Wisconsin 2024: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

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Starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be exciting if you’re an entrepreneur in Wisconsin. An LLC offers the flexibility of a partnership and the liability protection of a corporation, making it an appealing option for business owners. If you’re considering starting an LLC in Wisconsin and trying to figure out where to start, don’t worry! We’ve simplified the process into simple steps. This guide will show you how to set up your Wisconsin LLC.

Step 1: Choose a Business Name

Choosing the right name for your LLC is the first and crucial step. In Wisconsin, your LLC name must:

  • Include “Limited Liability Company” or its abbreviations (LLC or LLC).
  • Be unique from other business names registered in Wisconsin.
  • Avoid using restricted words without proper authorization (e.g., “Bank,” “Attorney,” “University”).

Checking Name Availability

Use the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website to check if your desired name is available. It’s also wise to check if your LLC name is available as a web domain, even if you must prepare to create a business website today. If you are considering getting a website name that matches your business name, you can find good deals for your domain names on Namecheap.

Step 2: File Your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin

Filing the Articles of Organization is critical to officially forming your LLC in Wisconsin. This document registers your LLC with the state and includes essential details about your business.

What to Include in Your Articles of Organization:

  • LLC Name: Your LLC’s name must include “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “LLC” and comply with Wisconsin naming guidelines to ensure it’s distinguishable from existing entities.
  • Mailing Address: If your LLC’s mailing address differs from its physical location, specify it here.
  • Registered Agent: Wisconsin requires you to appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents for your LLC. Include their full name and physical address in Wisconsin. The agent must consent to this responsibility in writing.
  • Management Structure: Indicate whether your LLC is member-managed or manager-managed, and list the members’ or managers’ names and addresses. Using a PO box for addresses is acceptable for privacy reasons.
  • Purpose: Please provide a general description of your business activities.
  • LLC Organizer: Identify the individual or entity responsible for filing the Articles of Organization. This person or entity plays a crucial role in forming your LLC.
  • Formation Date: Select your LLC’s official start date, either on the filing date or a specific future date within 90 days of filing.
  • Signing: Before submitting, verify all information for accuracy. Ensure that your registered agent has agreed to their role, then sign and date the form.

How to Send Your Form:

You have three options to file your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin.

Filing Fee:

Filing the Articles of Organization in Wisconsin costs $130 for online or in-person submissions and $170 for submissions by mail. This fee is necessary to process your LLC’s formation documents.

When you complete and submit your Articles of Organization, you’re taking an essential step in establishing your business in Wisconsin. This document is the foundation of your LLC and ensures that the state recognizes it and that you can operate legally.

Step 3: Making an Operating Agreement for Your Business

Let’s discuss setting up some ground rules for your business. This is where an Operating Agreement comes in. Think of it as a handbook that explains how your business runs. It’s important because it helps everyone understand their role and what’s expected in your LLC.

Here’s what an Operating Agreement usually includes:

  • Ownership: This part talks about who owns what percentage of the business. 
  • Member’s Rights and Responsibilities: Here, you’ll write down what each person in the LLC can and cannot do and what they’re responsible for. It’s like a job description for each member.
  • Joining & Leaving: This section covers how new people can enter your business and what happens if someone decides to leave. It’s good to have this figured out so there are no surprises later.
  • Dissolution: This might sound a bit gloomy, but it’s practical. It’s about how to close down the LLC if you ever need to. It includes the steps to take and how to handle everything when wrapping up the business.

Creating an Operating Agreement is a smart move. It keeps things clear and organized so everyone knows what to expect, and it can save you a lot of time.

Step 4: Getting Your EIN from the IRS

Your business needs a number called an EIN from the IRS. It’s like an ID number for your business. This number will help you as an identification number when getting bank accounts and credit accounts, filing taxes, and hiring employees.

It’s free, and you can get it from the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small

Step 5: Hire a Registered Agent

In Wisconsin, every LLC is required to have a registered agent. This person or company agrees to receive important legal documents on behalf of your LLC, including tax forms and notices of lawsuits. Your registered agent must:

  • Be a resident of Wisconsin or a corporation authorized to conduct business in Wisconsin.
  • Have a physical street address in Wisconsin.

You can act as your registered agent, choose someone you trust, or hire a professional service like Northwest Registered Agent or Bizee. Choosing a reliable registered agent ensures that your LLC stays in good legal standing.

Check out our blog: Is a Registered Agent Necessary? Your Guide to Finding an Affordable Option

Step 6: Steps After Forming Your LLC 

Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your personal and business finances separate is crucial for financial management and legal protection. Opening a business bank account requires your EIN and Articles of Organization. It makes tracking business expenses easier and simplifies tax filing.

Get a Business Credit Card

A business credit card is an excellent tool for handling business purchases and can help build your company’s credit history. Just like with personal credit, a good business credit score can make it easier to get loans and may qualify you for better terms. Visit our website to see our favorite business cards review. 

Check out our blog: Novo Review: The Best Business Banking Account in 2024.

Hire an Accountant

Managing finances can get complicated, especially as your business grows. An accountant can help you navigate tax laws, handle bookkeeping, and plan for financial growth. This professional guidance can save you time and money in the long run.

Create a Professional Website 

A website makes your business look legit. WordPress is a great tool to build your site. You can check out SiteGround or Hostinger for web hosting. They’re both good options to get your site up and running.

 

Wisconsin LLC: Permits, Licenses, Tax Requirements, and Annual Reporting

Once you have set up your LLC in Wisconsin, it’s essential to address your business’s specific permits, licenses, taxes, and annual reporting requirements. This will help you operate within the law and maintain a good status. Let’s explore what steps your Wisconsin LLC should take next.

Obtain Any Additional Permits and Licenses

Depending on your business type and location, your LLC may require various permits and licenses to operate legally.

Local Business Licenses

  • Overview: Local business licenses are often required by municipalities or counties in Wisconsin.
  • How to Obtain: Contact your local city or county clerk’s office for specific requirements and application processes.

Professional Licenses

  • Overview: Certain professions in Wisconsin require state-issued professional licenses.
  • How to Obtain: The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services provides information and resources for obtaining professional licenses.

Health Permits

  • Overview: Businesses involved in food service, healthcare, or beauty services may need health permits.
  • How to Obtain: Health permits are typically issued by local health departments. Visit your local health department’s website or office for application details.

Tax Requirements in Wisconsin

Navigating tax obligations is crucial for your LLC’s financial health and legal compliance.

Employer Taxes

If your LLC will have employees, you must:

  • Register for Unemployment Insurance through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
  • Register for Employee Withholding Tax through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

State Taxes

  • Pass-Through Taxation: LLCs in Wisconsin are usually treated as pass-through entities for federal tax purposes but may be subject to state taxes depending on their earnings.
  • Sales and Use Tax: If your LLC sells goods or taxable services, you must register for a Sales and Use Tax Permit through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
  • EIN: Regardless of state tax obligations, obtaining an Employer Identification Number from the IRS is essential for tax purposes and hiring employees.

Annual Report Filing in Wisconsin

To maintain your LLC’s good standing, you must file an annual report with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

  • Filing Requirements: Wisconsin LLCs are required to file an annual report each year.
  • Fees and Filing: The annual report filing fee is $25 for online submissions and $40 for submissions by mail. You can file online through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ website.
  • Importance: This report updates your LLC’s information with the state and is essential for maintaining active status.

To ensure that your Wisconsin LLC operates successfully and complies with state laws, following these permits, licenses, tax obligations, and annual reporting guidelines is essential. For more detailed information and updates on regulations affecting Wisconsin LLCs, visit the official Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website. 

New 2024 Reporting Requirements (BOI)

Effective from January 1, 2024

Big news! Starting January 1, 2024, there are new reporting requirements for both domestic and foreign reporting companies. This includes LLCs, corporations, and other entities. Here’s what you need to know:

First Report Deadlines:

  • Existing Entities: If your LLC was already around before 2024, you’ve got until January 1, 2025, to submit your first report.
  • New Entities: If you’re forming your LLC in 2024, you must file your report within 90 days of your company’s creation.

Who Needs to Report:

  • Domestic Reporting Companies: This includes LLCs and similar entities within the U.S.
  • Foreign Reporting Companies: Entities registered foreign entities must also adhere to these new rules.

Exceptions to Reporting:

  • For specific exceptions, you’ll want to refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Regulations at 31 CFR § 1010.380(c)(2) and the Small Entity Compliance Guide.

What Must Be Reported

What you need to report is all about transparency. The exact details can be found in the compliance guide, but it generally involves information about your LLC’s ownership and control.

When Must Reporting File Reports

Remember, if you’re an existing entity, your deadline is January 1, 2025. For new LLCs formed in 2024, it’s within 90 days of creation.

Filing Reports & Noncompliance Penalties

Starting January 1, 2024, all BOI reports must be filed electronically. Here are some critical points:

  • Filing Before the Date: You must file on January 1, 2024.
  • Accuracy: Filer certification of accuracy is mandatory – you need to double-check that everything you report is correct and accurate.

Penalties for Noncompliance:

  • False Information Penalties: Mistakes or misinformation can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 2 years in prison.
  • Penalties: If you slip up here, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 or even imprisonment for up to 2 years.
  • FinCEN’s Approach: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) focuses on education and outreach to ensure compliance. 
  • Safe Harbor Rule: Did you make a mistake? If you discover inaccuracies in your initial report, you have a 90-day grace period to submit a corrected report.

If you need more information or specific guidance, please visit the FinCEN website for all the details.

Forming an LLC in Wisconsin requires careful planning and attention to detail. Following these steps ensures that your LLC is formed correctly and complies with Wisconsin laws. Remember, the process involves paperwork and decisions about your business structure, but laying a solid foundation for your business’s future success is essential. Remember that different audiences have different needs, so it’s necessary to use simple and familiar vocabulary, keep sentences short, and present information logically and concisely.

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest Registered Agent Pricing: What to Expect

Northwest Registered Agent keeps pricing simple. They have a clear, straightforward fee structure, which is a big plus. No hidden fees or surprises – that’s the kind of honesty we all appreciate, right?

Why is Their Pricing Affordable?

  • Transparent Costs: They tell you exactly what you’re paying for so you can make informed decisions.
  • Competitive Rates: Their prices align with your expectations for top-notch services, ensuring you get good value.
  • One-Stop Shop: Since they offer a whole suite of services, you can bundle things together, potentially saving time and money.
  • Location: They’re headquartered in Spokane, Washington, but don’t worry – they have offices in all 50 states. So, wherever you are in the U.S., they’ve got local expertise ready for you.
  • Experience Counts: These folks have been in the game for over 20 years. That’s a lot of experience under their belt, helping businesses like yours start and grow.

Core Services

  • LLC Formation: Dreaming of starting your own LLC? They can help make that happen.
  • Registered Agent Service: The main event – they’ll be your reliable point of contact for all those essential legal documents.
  • Address Privacy: Keep your address off the public records. It’s all about your privacy.
  • Lifetime Customer Support: Got questions? They’re there for you, not just today, but for the life of your business.
  • Annual Report Reminders: Never miss a deadline with their handy reminders.
  • Online Document Dashboard: All your important documents are organized in one easy-to-access place.

 

Additional Services (Because There’s Always More)

  • EIN Number: They can help you get your business’s unique tax ID.
  • Annual Report Service: Let them handle your annual reporting needs.
  • Operating Agreements: Need help with the rules for running your LLC? They’ve got you covered.
  • Virtual Office Service: Get a professional business address without the office.
  • S-Corp Election: Thinking about S-Corp status? They can help with that.
  • Mail Forwarding Service: Keep your mail organized and forward it where needed.
  • Foreign Qualification: Expanding your business to new states? They can assist.
  • Legal Forms: Access a variety of legal forms easily.
  • Legal Services (in Indiana): If you’re in Indiana, they’ve got specific legal services just for you.
  • Incorporation Services: These are more than just LLCs; they can help incorporate your business, too.

So, if you want to create an LLC, Northwest Registered Agent is very beneficial. They ensure everything runs smoothly, keeping you focused on what you love – growing your business. 

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