In Wisconsin, as in most states, the primary step in creating a limited liability company (LLC) is to file articles of organization with the state.T ...
Cost to Start an LLC in Wisconsin
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Edited by: David Lepeska
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Updated on October 2, 2023
Cost to Start an LLC in Wisconsin
If you’re thinking of starting a limited liability company (LLC) in Wisconsin, it’s a good idea to know in advance how much it’s going to cost. LLC formation fees vary by state, so it’s helpful to do a bit of research and prepare yourself for the necessary steps.
LLC Costs in Wisconsin
|Articles of Organization||$130|
|Certified Copy – Articles of Organization||$10|
|Certificate of Status||$10|
|Operating Agreement||$0 – $2,500|
|Registered Agent Service||$50 – $300|
|Franchise Tax (if your LLC is taxed as a corporation)||7/9% of income|
|Business Licenses and Renewals||varies – check with state and local government|
Wisconsin Articles of Organization Cost
In Wisconsin, you form an LLC by filing Wisconsin articles of organization, which requires a $130 fee. It’s a simple process you can do online at the Wisconsin One Stop Business Portal. When you file online, your LLC will be formed immediately.
If you need a certified copy of the articles of organization, there is a $10 fee. If you need a Certificate of Status, there is a $10 fee. If you’d like the state to hold your LLC name before you register, you can apply here for $15 to reserve it for 120 days. You’ll need to mail the form with the fee to:
State of WI-Dept. of Financial Institutions
Milwaukee WI, 53293-0348
Wisconsin Registered Agent Cost
In Wisconsin, you are required to have a Wisconsin registered agent, also known as an agent of service in process. A registered agent is a person or business authorized to accept and respond to legal, tax, and financial documents on behalf of your business.
In Wisconsin, you can be your own registered agent, or it can be another member of the LLC. An individual who is not a member or a professional agency can also serve as the registered agent for your LLC.
Wisconsin Business Licenses and Permits Cost
Starting an LLC in Wisconsin requires obtaining the required licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. Fees for these vary, but most costs are minimal.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments to learn more.
Business license fees depend on the type of business and the agency issuing the license or permit. On average, business licenses cost between $100 and $300+, plus renewal fees.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package ($149 + state fees). They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
Wisconsin Operating Agreement Cost
In Wisconsin, your LLC is not required to have an operating agreement in place. But it’s highly recommended, as an effective operating agreement can help avoid disputes and lawsuits that could threaten the stability of your LLC.
An LLC operating agreement is an important legal document that details who owns the business and provides essential information pertaining to member duties. An LLC operating agreement establishes the financial relationship between members and the basics of the working relationships between those members and the managers who oversee daily operations.
The operating agreement is not filed with the state, but instead remains private. It’s advisable to hire an attorney to ensure your operating agreement is thorough and legally binding.
Creating an operating agreement is free if you just draw it up yourself (here you can find free Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement template). Alternatively, you can pay around $100 for guidance from an online business advisory.
This is an extremely important document, so it’s recommended that you use the services of a specialist or legal firm. If you choose to hire an attorney to help you create this document, the price will be around $500 for a single-member LLC and $2,500 for a multi-member LLC.
Wisconsin LLC Formation Service Cost (Optional)
Forming an LLC in Wisconsin tends to involve a lot of red tape and paperwork, so for many entrepreneurs just starting out it’s a good idea to hire an experienced service provider.
Some of the best services for forming an LLC in Wisconsin are ZenBusiness and Northwest Registered Agent. LLC Formation service will take care of all the key steps, keeping you updated while allowing you to focus on launching and growing your business.
The cost of professional services depends on your requirements and LLC formation plan. Most LLC service providers offer different plans/packages and there are many LLC services that offer free LLC formation.
Ongoing Wisconsin LLC Costs
Every state has a different fee structure and timelines for LLC documents and licenses. It’s important to stay up-to-date or your business could face significant penalties. The fees and timelines for Wisconsin are detailed below.
Franchise Tax Reports
A franchise tax is not a tax on a franchise business. It is a fee that the state imposes on corporations for the right to operate. In Wisconsin, your LLC will only pay a franchise tax if you have elected to have your LLC taxed as a corporation. Wisconsin charges an annual franchise tax of 7.9% of the income of the LLC.
Business License Renewal Fees
Some business licenses and permits must be renewed periodically, which may have a small associated fee. In Wisconsin, these include your business tax registration which is required to get your seller’s permit.
The initial fee is $20, and it must be renewed every two years for a fee of $10. Other renewal fees will apply to other licenses that are required for your business, such as a retail food establishment serving meals license for a restaurant.
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