Naming Requirements

The LLC’s business name must be different from all other business entity names registered or reserved with the state. The name must include at the end the words “Limited Liability Company,” “Limited Liability Co.,” or the abbreviations “LLC” or “L.L.C.” It is also not allowed to include a word or phrase that states or implies that it is organized for some purpose other than permitted by state law. By paying $15 by mail or $30 by phone, an available LLC name can be reserved for up to 120 days.  

State Timelines

The filing time for Wisconsin LLCs is 7 Business days, and the expedited filing time is 1 business day.  

State Filing Fees

The state filing fee is $130, however, the process can be expedited by paying an additional $50

Articles of Organization and Operating Agreement

Forming your Wisconsin LLC means that you have to file articles of organization. The articles must be executed (signed) by at least one person and delivered, along with a copy and the $170 filing fee, to the Department of Financial Institutions. The filed document must include a signature by a member, manager, or attorney-in-fact and indicate the name and title of the person signing the articles, which must include:

  • The LLC’s name
  • A statement that the LLC is organized under Chapter 183 of the Wisconsin Statutes
  • The street address of the LLC’s initial registered office
  • The name of the LLC’s registered agent there
  • Whether the LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed
  • The name and address of the LLC’s organizer(s)
  • It can also list other items if the members desire, as long as they don’t conflict with state law.

The operating agreement is another important document, which can be changed by the members as set forth by the agreement itself or applicable state law. Having an operating agreement is not legally required by the state, but it’s a vitally important internal document that sets forth how the LLC will run.

The operating agreement needs to list the LLC’s members, how much each one has invested, how any profits will be distributed, and how much relative weight each member has when voting.

The operating agreement may also include requirements for meetings (notice, quorum, voting rules, etc.) and similar functions, but it doesn’t have to. It also may contain constraints on the members’ authority to change or repeal the operating agreement or a provision thereof

A Wisconsin LLC must have at least one member. A member may be admitted to the LLC either when it is formed (by signing the initial operating agreement) or, after the LLC is formed, by complying with the operating agreement. Unless the operating agreement specifies differently, a unanimous vote of all the members is required to admit a new member. If the operating agreement does not address this situation, a unanimous vote of all members who are entitled to vote can also bring in someone new.

A member can acquire an interest in proportion to their contribution, or in some other manner set forth in the LLC’s operating agreement. Becoming a member usually requires a contribution of cash, property, services rendered to the LLC, or a promissory note or obligation to contribute one of these.

An LLC member can only resign as permitted in the certificate of organization or operating agreement. A member with an interest for no or nominal consideration may not resign from a LLC except in accordance with the operating agreement. An LLC may be able to pursue compensation from a former member whose resignation damaged the LLC.

Registered Agent

A Wisconsin LLC must continuously maintain a registered agent in the state—someone to receive official state legal and administrative correspondence on behalf of the LLC. A registered agent in Wisconsin may be an individual state resident (a “natural person”) whose business office is the same as the registered office, or a business entity with an office that is the same as the registered office: The registered office may be, but does not have to be the LLC’s place of business.

Ongoing Filing and Compliance 

Wisconsin LLCs must file an annual report with the Department of Financial Institutions that includes the following information:

  • The LLC’s name
  • The address of the LLC’s registered office in this state
  • The name of the LLC’s registered agent there
  • The address of the LLC’s principal office
  • If the LLC will be manager-managed, the managers’ names and addresses
  • If the company is a foreign (i.e., out of state) LLC, the name and address of each member
  • A brief description of the nature of the LLC’s business

Additionally, each Wisconsin LLC must keep the following records open for review at its principal office:

  • An alphabetical list of all past and present members and managers, their addresses, the date on which each became a member or manager, and the date each ceased to be a member or manager, if applicable
  • A copy of the articles of organization and any amendments
  • A copy of the LLC’s federal, state, and local income or franchise tax returns and financial statements for the four most recent years
  • Copies of all operating agreements, amendments, and any previous operating agreements

Unless already set forth in an operating agreement, written records of:

  • The value of each member’s contribution to the LLC
  • The times or events upon which any additional contributions are to be made by each member
  • Any events upon which the LLC will be dissolved and its business wound up
  • Any other documents required by the operating agreement

Annual Report Requirement

Frequency: Annually

Due Date: Based on anniversary date

Domestic:

 Jan 1 – Mar 31: Mar 31
Apr 1 – Jun 30: Jun 30
Jul 1 – Sep 30: Sep 30
Oct 1 – Dec 31: Dec 31

Foreign: 

During first calendar quarter of each year following calendar year in the LLC becomes registered.

Filing Fee: $40

Dissolution

A Wisconsin LLC is dissolved when any one of the following events occurs:

  • Event(s) or a time specified in the articles of organization or operating agreement
  • Unanimous written agreement or consent to dissolve
  • Event that makes it illegal for the LLC to continue
  • When there is a dissociation of a member unless the remaining members all agree to the admission of one or more additional members or managers, or unless the operating agreement provides otherwise
  • Judicial decree ordering or approving dissolution

Taxes

An LLC has the availability of more deductions compared to corporations. An  LLC can be a “pass-through entity” when it comes to taxes, so that the LLC owner or owners report business losses or profits on their personal tax returns, in the same way that a partnership would.

Wisconsin’s personal income tax system consists of four brackets with a top rate of 6.75 percent that takes effect at an income level of $145,460. This top rate ranks the Badger State 17th highest among states levying personal income taxes.

Special Requirements

None identified 

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