How to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

Last Updated on February 4, 2022

Cost to Form a Wisconsin LLC

To form a Limited Liability Company in Wisconsin, file the Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.  The LLC filing fee online is $130 and $170 by mail.

Processing time for the LLC is typically around five days when filing by mail or 2 business days when filing online. Expedited service is available for an additional $25, which only takes 24-hours.

Steps to Form a Wisconsin LLC

The steps for filing online or by mail are largely the same.  The screenshots show how to file online.

  • Begin by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ website. If you prefer to fill out and mail the application, download the Articles of Organization (Form 502).
  • Select “Click here to start filing” at the bottom of the page.
How to Form an LLC in Wisconsin

Step 1: Name of Domestic Limited Liability Company

Enter the name you want for the domestic LLC.  The name of the Limited Liability Company has to differ from other entity names registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.  You should run a Wisconsin LLC name search with the Department of Financial Institutions before going through the filing process to ensure the one you want is available.

The LLC name must include a designator at the end of the business name, which describes its type of business entity. Available designators can use the following words or abbreviations:

  • Limited Liability Company
  • Limited Company Co.
  • L.L.C.
  • LLC

Enter the name along with the designator you would like to use and click on “Check Name Availability”  A new page will open, indicating whether the name is available or not.  Even if the search comes back with the name is available, the Department of Financial Institutions’ office will also review it to ensure it isn’t being used by someone else or that it is too similar to another name.

Wisconsin LLC Name Reservation

Step 2: Purpose

Generic language stating the LLC is organized under Chapter 183 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  This language is needed in order to form an LLC in the state, and no action is needed.

Step 3: Registered Agent Name

To have an LLC in Wisconsin, a Registered Agent must be identified.  The Registered Agent act as a single point of contact for service of process to receive important legal notices, tax documents, summons, subpoenas, etc., on behalf of the LLC.  The agent can either be a resident of Wisconsin, a Wisconsin registered entity, which could be an attorney, accountant, etc., or a Registered Agent service.

If it’s an individual, enter their name.  If it’s not an individual, click “Select Entity” to search the name in the state’s database.

Wisconsin LLC Registered Agent

Step 4: Registered Office Address

The Registered Agent must have a physical address in the state, and PO Boxes are not allowed.  This address may be the address of the LLC, but it doesn’t have to be.

Enter the address information in the address fields.

WI Registered Office Address

Step 5: Management

This section asks if the LLC is Member-Managed or Manager-Managed.

  • Member-Managed LLCs have an active involvement in the management and have the authority to act on behalf of the LLC.
  • Manager-Managed LLCs are hired by the members to run the LLC, similar to a CEO of a corporation.  This is generally used when there are passive members in the LLC, and the members do not actively manage or operate in the affairs of the business.

Most LLCs are member-managed.

Select Manager(s) or Member(s) and “Next”

Wisconsin Manager vs Member-Managed LLC

Step 6: Organizer Information

An LLC Organizer is someone involved with the formation of the Articles of Organization.  The Organizer may or may not become a member, such as a mentor, attorney, or accountant, but any of the initial members can be listed as an organizer.

Enter the name and address of each organizer.

Step 7: Select the Drafter

The drafter is the person who entered the information into the Articles of Organization, and their name needs to be included in this section.  This is likely one of the members, attorney, or entity formation service.

Step 8: Delayed Effective Date

This is an optional section, but if you want the Limited Liability Company to start on a later date, click the “Declare Delayed Effective Date” button and then enter a date less than 90 days in the future. 

By not selecting anything, the effective date will be the date when the Department of Financial Institutions files the Articles of Organization.

Wisconsin delayed effective date llc

Step 9: Signature

Have at least one organizer sign the document by selecting their name.  Click “Next” and enter their name, address, email, and phone number.

Those signing will be the point of contact should there be any issues with the filing of the Articles of Organization.

Step 10: Review

Review that all of the information is correct.  If there are no corrections, click “Next.”

Step 11: Pay and File

Pay and file the Articles of Organization.