This webpage has been designed to summarize the limited liability company registration process in the state of Wisconsin. Unlike in most states where business filings are handled by the Secretary of State, all registration documents in Wisconsin will be filed with the Department of Financial Institutions. Applications may be submitted by mail or online using the department’s well constructed portal. Upon completion of the aforementioned filing procedures, filers must pay a filing fee. Domestic online registration will require the submission of a $130 fee, while domestic paper applications cost $170. Foreign registration, both online and paper, will cost $100.
How to File
Step 1- Before filing, we recommend that a Business Entity Search be performed to ensure that your LLC name is distinguishable from that of all other entities currently on file with the Department of Financial Institutions. A Name Reservation may prove useful if additional time is needed in which to prepare for registration. For the low cost of $15, a name can be reserved for a period of 120 days.
Step 2- The actual filing process begins by either accessing the online portal or downloading your entity type’s PDF application. Click on the link below which correlates with the nature of your company to get more detailed instructions.
Step 3- Once the requisite information has been submitted, you will need to gather any additional certification demanded by the Department of Financial Institutions. Foreign entities will be required to include, with their registration, a certificate of good standing from their initial jurisdiction of formation.
Step 4- Online applications are completed upon acceptance of a filing fee. Domestic entities will be required to submit $130 for online registrations and $170 for paper registrations. All foreign businesses must supply $100. Accepted forms of payment include credit card for online applications and, for applications sent by mail, a check made out to the Department of Financial Institutions. Gather all paper filings and send them to the address below.
State of WI Dept. of Financial Institutions
Milwaukee WI 53293-0348
EIN – After your new limited liability company has been registered with the Department of Financial Institutions, it will be necessary to apply for an Employer Identification Number. This unique method of identification, issued by the IRS, is used to keep track of all legitimate, tax-withholding entities in the United States. Once an EIN has been obtained, your business will be legally permitted to hire employees, register for bank accounts, apply for loans, and perform a number of other transactions. Our tutorial, found linked in the heading of this paragraph, contains detailed instructions on the Online and paper filing procedures.
Operating Agreement – When forming a new, domestic limited liability company, it is recommended that the managing members draft an operating agreement to define the various financial and logistical provisions that will organize the internal affairs of the LLC. With an agreement, you will be able standardize the rules and regulations of the company and ensure that each member involved is aware of their expected duties on a daily basis. There is no legal obligation to draft an agreement but do take the time to review our free template and you will be able to see why having one created for your entity is a logical decision. The link at the heading of this paragraph contains our downloadable template, available in MS Word and PDF formats.
Renewal – The Department of Financial Institutions requires representatives of limited liability companies to update their registration annually with the submission of a report. It is with this document that you will be able to notify the state of any major structural changes to your business. Failing to renew will result in additional fees as well as limit the number of transactions your business will be able to perform. Filing is simple and can be accomplished online using your business ID (retrieve your business ID with a business search). A filing fee will be required with your report ($25 domestic, $80 foreign). These reports will be due in the first quarter of each year following the calendar year in which the foreign corporation became authorized to transact business in Wisconsin.