There are a number of reasons you might need to change your Wisconsin LLC’s registered agent. Maybe your designated registered agent moved out of state, left the company, or no longer wants the responsibility. Maybe you had assigned the job to yourself, and you no longer want your address on public record. Maybe (hopefully) your business has expanded so much that you no longer have time to handle the registered agent responsibilities.
Whatever your reason may be, changing a registered agent in Wisconsin might seem like a daunting task, with a mountain of paperwork and legal proceedings involved. However it’s actually quite simple, and this guide will help make the process quick and painless.
The state of Wisconsin has certain requirements for changing your LLC’s registered agent. Any business entity that wants to change its registered agent can do so on its Annual Report, or by filing a separate Form 13: Registered Agent and/or Registered Office Change.
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions FAQ page and LLC Act, Section 183.0105 each offer some additional information on the procedure for changing a registered agent.
You can’t pick just anyone to be a registered agent for your LLC. The state of Wisconsin puts certain restrictions on who can serve as one. If you’re choosing or changing your registered agent, keep these requirements in mind. The registered agent in Wisconsin must:
* If your registered agent is a foreign business entity, it must be authorized to transact business in Wisconsin
Even if your new registered agent is onboard and ready to start, their appointment isn’t official until it’s on record with the Department of Financial Institutions. Here’s how to get it done.
As mentioned above, you can make this change by submitting a registered agent change form or by updating your Annual Report.
You can file Form 13 (the Registered Agent and/or Registered Office Change) online and anytime throughout the year, which makes it the more common option. To access the online form, go to the Limited Liability Company forms page. Select, “Form 13” and you’ll be directed to a business search page. Enter your business name and choose the correct entity from the list. From there, simply follow the onscreen prompts to complete your filing. The form costs $10 to file, and you can pay via credit or debit card as part of the online filing process.
If your registered agent change happens to coincide with your Annual Report filing window, you can update your information there. All Wisconsin LLCs are required to file an Annual Report each year before the end of the quarter they were formed (due dates are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31). File your Annual Report online here. There is a filing fee of $25, payable by credit or debit card.
If you’re too busy, or if you’d feel more comfortable letting someone else take the reins, you have the option of hiring a company or individual to file your paperwork for you. It’s a great way to save time and stress.
Submit your form? Pay your fee? Then you’re all set! Standard processing time for the Department of Financial Institutions is five business days, so you should see your change on file within a week or so.
Think of your registered agent as a mediator between you and the state of Wisconsin, the person or business entity that handles some of your most important paperwork.
In case you thought the registered agent was just a formality, look at the documents they handle:
A lot of important stuff. Which is why a reliable registered agent is essential to every Wisconsin business owner.
By handling high-priority and sensitive documents on your behalf, your registered agent takes care of your communications with the state, so you can spend more time building your business.
Plus, if you operate a Wisconsin small business from out of state, a trustworthy registered agent is especially important, as the state requires a local contact for your LLC. Having this contact ensures your company will receive and respond to time-sensitive documents, so you won’t miss filings and get hit with penalties.
If you’re unsure where to find a good Wisconsin registered agent, consider using a registered agent service. These companies provide you a reliable, professional registered agent so you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t ever miss a filing, tax deadline, or state correspondence.
Sure, you can jump online, search “registered agent service,” and get a ton of results. But the truth is that not all of these services are trustworthy. So, we’ve done some research for you. If you want to know you’re getting a top-quality registered agent, take a look at our comparison guide on the best rated registered agent services. Many of these providers can also form an LLC for you if you’re needing a fresh start. ZenBusiness and IncFile are two very well known options.
There are numerous reasons you might need to give up your Wisconsin registered agent role, but only one way to resign.
Registered agents play an important role in the life of an LLC, handling sensitive legal and tax documents, so it’s essential that agents follow proper resignation procedures. Otherwise, you could leave your company with unplanned fines or penalties, and you could be individually liable.
Fortunately, for Wisconsin LLCs it is easy.
Follow these steps and the hardest part of your resignation won’t be the process itself, it’ll be saying “so long” to your former business.
During the resignation process, you aren’t required to inform your LLC. You only need to file an official resignation form with the Department of Financial Institutions and after it’s processed, they will mail a copy to your company. Still, speaking with your LLC beforehand can benefit all parties involved. Giving them more time to plan a registered agent change will help the LLC avoid potential penalties and maintain good standing with the state.
Plus, according to the Wisconsin Statutes Section 183.0105, even after your resignation is processed, you will retain registered agent duties for 30 days unless the LLC appoints a replacement sooner. Giving them extra time to line up a new agent can help cut that 30 days short.
You may be thinking about the exciting new opportunities that lie ahead, but before moving on, you must file a “Resignation of Registered Agent” form with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). It’s located on the LLC forms section of the DFI website.
Download the form and you’re ready to complete it. Do so using a PDF editor (like Adobe Acrobat) or black ink. Here’s the information you’ll need to provide:
This filing comes with a $10 fee, payable by check or money order made out to “Wisconsin Department of Financial institutions.” When everything is ready, mail your document and payment to:
State of Wisconsin
Department of Financial Institutions
P.O. Box 93348
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348
Typical processing time for the Department of Financial Institutions is five business days. If you need it done sooner, you can check the box for expedited service on the form and include an additional $25 payment. As mentioned earlier, you will remain on file as the LLC’s registered agent for 30 days unless they bring on a replacement sooner. Just keep in mind that you may still receive service of process for one month after you resign.
When you put down your registered agent responsibilities, someone else has to pick them up, or your LLC will lose its good standing with the state. Help your LLC keep its momentum by carefully planning your transition.
This starts with finding a successor who’s ready to take over right away. Even a small gap in registered agent coverage can result in severe penalties. All Wisconsin LLCs are required to maintain a valid registered agent for the entire life of the business. After your resignation, your LLC must have a new agent on record before it files its next Annual Report or else it will be administratively dissolved.
Anyone appointed as your replacement must meet Wisconsin’s registered agent requirements, which means they must:
LLCs are allowed to assign registered agent duties to one of their individual members. However, it can often be easier to outsource those duties to a professional service.
We recommend using a registered agent service, which can take over registered agent duties, freeing up more time for the LLC’s managers to focus on running the business.
You do a lot for your Wisconsin LLC. You’re essentially the shield that protects it from fines, the filter that catches important documents, the conductor that keeps it on track with compliance.
Because you play such an important role, it’s crucial that you follow the resignation procedures exactly — and potentially provide a replacement agent for the business. Otherwise, you might find yourself and your LLC in hot water.
Follow this guide and you’ll be totally fine. Soon, you’ll be on to your next project, whether that’s starting a new business in Wisconsin or something completely different.
If you need a fresh start and would like to form a brand new LLC, there are plenty of services that can take care of this for you. ZenBusiness and LegalZoom are two very popular options.
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