How Much Does an LLC Cost in Wisconsin (Filing Fees)

Jon Morgan
Published by Jon Morgan | Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Last updated: June 21, 2024
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A limited liability company (LLC) is known for offering personal asset protection and flexible taxation options. To get your LLC formed in Wisconsin, you must consider some costs before taking the plunge.

How much a Wisconsin LLC costs depends on a few factors, such as the filing fee, hiring a registered agent, and any legal fees associated with drafting and filing the necessary Wisconsin business documents.

From our experience, knowing where to start makes the process much easier. This is why I have created this in-depth guide, together with my legal team, to help you run a smooth Wisconsin-based LLC.

Quick Summary

  • Starting an LLC in Wisconsin costs a minimum of $130, which includes the state filing fee with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
  • Additional costs may include a registered agent service, name reservation, and annual report filing fees.
  • According to U.S. Small Business Administration data, in 2023, small businesses in Wisconsin demonstrated their economic impact with a net job increase of 66,394.
  • After assisting countless clients with LLC formation, I can say that the formation price in Wisconsin is one of the most affordable.


Cost to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

An LLC owner calculating the cost of an LLC in Wisconsin

An LLC in Wisconsin costs $130 for the Wisconsin Articles of Organization.

I remember when I started my own LLC in Wisconsin, and one of the first things that struck me was the initial cost of $130 for the Wisconsin Articles of Organization.

But keep in mind, that's just the beginning. Along the way, I also had to factor in expenses like hiring a Registered Agent, getting the necessary Business Permits, obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, and even acquiring a Basic Business License [1].

It all adds up, but it's essential to plan for these costs.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses contributed a net increase of 66,394 jobs in 2023, underscoring their economic importance and the potential benefits of starting an LLC in this vibrant sector [2].

"In Wisconsin, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) stand as the predominant business framework, favored for their provision of liability protection to the members, or owners."

- Delina Yasmeh, J.D./Tax LL.M, Distinguished Expert in Mergers & Acquisitions

1. Wisconsin LLC Filing Fee

The Wisconsin LLC filing fee is paid to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and costs $130. It also needs to be renewed on a yearly basis.

This fee is non-refundable, and you have to pay this fee when filing your LLC formation documents. If you are in a rush, know that you will have the option of expedited service. I found it more than handy when I needed to start a business in only 24 hours.

This is part of understanding the broader economic changes, as evidenced by a -1.7% change in new business applications filed in December 2023 compared to December 2022, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reflecting subtle shifts in the entrepreneurial climate of Wisconsin [3].

2. Wisconsin Registered Agent Service Fee

A registered agent calculating fees

A Wisconsin registered agent fee can range from as low as $50 to as high as $300 or more per year.

I learned from my research that the cost of a registered agent always depends on factors like the level of service you require, the experience of the registered agent, and the extra features offered by the service provider.

A registered agent is the official point of contact for your business. This individual or business entity is responsible for receiving important legal notices, including notices of lawsuits, on behalf of your business.

To comply with Wisconsin state law, the registered agent must have a physical address in Wisconsin and be available during all business hours.

You can act as your own registered agent, but it is best to leave it to a professional LLC’s registered agent.

Wisconsin Business/License Tax

When it comes to the Wisconsin Business/License Tax, I discovered that it's based on a range from $0.25 to $1.25 per $1,000 of the total assets, with a minimum tax of $25.

The sales tax payable depends on the type of business and the value of the assets it owns or uses.

The Business/License Tax is in addition to other taxes and fees that businesses may be subject to, such as sales, income, and local taxes.

Expenses Following the Approval of Your LLC

An LLC owner doing paperwork for LLC filing costs

Here's a rundown of all the other Wisconsin LLC fees and costs you may incur when starting an LLC in this state:

1. Name Reservation

The Wisconsin LLC name reservation is $15. The name reservation protects an LLC name you want to use before another organization uses it. By filing for a name reservation, you can ensure your desired LLC name remains available.

This filing also allows you to obtain a domain name and wrap up other filing requirements with local, state, and federal tax agencies without worrying about losing your desired LLC name.

Your LLC name reservation is valid for 180 days and can be renewed for another 180 days if necessary [4].

2. Trade Name

An LLC owner looking at paperwork

A trade name costs $15 in Wisconsin. A trade name is an alternative brand name that your official business uses instead of its legal company name.

Registering a trade name can prevent other businesses from using the same name in the state.

Although registering a trade name is not a requirement for forming a Wisconsin LLC, it might be necessary if your company operates several brands.

By registering a trade name, you can ensure that each brand has a unique identity and a different name.

This registration is valid for 10 years and can be renewed 6 months before expiration.

If you want to register for a trade name, trademark filings and requests are only accepted by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) via online applications or walk-in drop-offs [5].

3. Annual Reports

An LLC owner looking at annual reports

An LLC annual report in Wisconsin must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions each year.

The report's purpose is to keep the state informed of the status and activities of your LLC, including any changes to the registered agent or principal office address, and to maintain your LLC's legal status.

The Wisconsin annual report requires basic information about your domestic LLC, such as the legal name, the names and addresses of members, the name and address of the registered agent, and the principal office address.

The report must be filed online through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions business website, and the Wisconsin annual report fee is $25.

You need to file your annual report on time to avoid late fees and penalties, as well as the possible dissolution of your Wisconsin LLC.

The deadline for filing the annual report is based on the anniversary month of your LLC’s formation or registration with the state, as noted in the One Stop Business Portal [6].

Costs Of Registering Foreign LLC In Wisconsin

An LLC owner calculating the cost of registering foreign LLC in Wisconsin

After establishing dozens of foreign LLCs in Wisconsin, and mentoring them ad hoc, I have learned what it takes to expand them over time.

Below, you will find trusted steps on how to expand your business:

Application For Certificate of Authority

To register your Wisconsin foreign LLC in Wisconsin, you must apply for a Certificate of Authority with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee for this application is $100.

Registered Agent Fee

You must appoint a registered agent when registering your foreign LLC in Wisconsin. This person or entity will receive legal documents on behalf of your LLC.

You can hire a registered professional agent or appoint an individual to meet specific criteria. If you choose to hire a registered agent, there will be a fee associated with this service.

Certificate Of Good Standing

You may also need to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing from your home state as part of the Wisconsin foreign LLC registration process. The cost of getting this certificate can be between $25 and $125.

Annual Report Fee

All LLCs, including foreign LLCs, registered in Wisconsin must file an annual report with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The fee for this report is $25 [7].

Related Article: How to Renegotiate a Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement

FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Set Up An LLC In Wisconsin?

Setting up an LLC in Wisconsin takes approximately 1-2 weeks. The timeline for LLC formation service depends on the processing time of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. You can file your LLC formation documents online or by mail.

Is Wisconsin A Good State To Form An LLC?

Wisconsin is an excellent state to form an LLC. Wisconsin has a relatively low cost of living and a strong economy, making it an attractive location for businesses. Also, Wisconsin has a business-friendly environment with a simplified LLC formation process, minimal ongoing compliance requirements, and reasonable tax rates.

Do I Have To Renew My LLC Every Year In Wisconsin?

You need to renew your LLC every year in Wisconsin. The annual report can be filed online, with a filing fee of $25.

How Do I Register An LLC Annually In Wisconsin?

To register your LLC annually in Wisconsin, you must file an annual report with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The annual report can be filed online or by mail; the fee is $25. You can use the DFI's online system to file online and pay by credit card or electronic check.


References:

  1. https://www.llcuniversity.com/wisconsin-llc/costs/
  2. https://advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/2023-Small-Business-Economic-Profile-WI.pdf
  3. https://www.uschamber.com/small-business/new-business-applications-a-state-by-state-view?state=wi
  4. https://www.harborcompliance.com/how-to-form-an-llc-in-wisconsin
  5. https://softgoza.com/wisconsin-llc/
  6. https://onestop.wi.gov/OpenMyBusiness
  7. https://www.upcounsel.com/wisconsin-llc-annual-report

About The Author

Co-Founder & Chief Editor
Jon Morgan, MBA, LLM, has over ten years of experience growing startups and currently serves as CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter. Educated at UC Davis and Harvard, he offers deeply informed guidance. Beyond work, he enjoys spending time with family, his poodle Sophie, and learning Spanish.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Growth & Transition Advisor
LJ Viveros has 40 years of experience in founding and scaling businesses, including a significant sale to Logitech. He has led Market Solutions LLC since 1999, focusing on strategic transitions for global brands. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Communications, LJ is also a distinguished Matsushita Executive alumnus.
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