Your first consideration when choosing a name for your LLC is that it be unique from any other business in the state of Wisconsin. You can quickly and easily check your company’s potential name options at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions business name database. For a $15 fee, you can also reserve a company name for 120 days. To do so, you’ll need to submit the Name Reservation Application (form 1) by postal mail.
In order to comply with Wisconsin state law, your company’s name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company” or the abbreviation “LLC.” In addition, language stating or implying that the LLC is affiliated with a government agency or entity is prohibited.
The state of Wisconsin requires that any LLC have a registered agent for service of process. This means your LLC must have an entity that agrees to physically accept any legal papers on the company’s behalf should it be sued.
The registered agent does not have to be an individual person and can be any resident of the state of Wisconsin or a business entity authorized to do business in Wisconsin so long as the agent has a physical street address within the state.
You may want to consider preparing an operating agreement for your LLC. Though not required by the state, an operating agreement will set the guidelines for success for your company. This does not need to be filed with the state, but it can go a long way toward ensuring your company’s success.
An IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required of your LLC unless it is a single-member LLC with no employees. Obtaining an EIN is as easy as completing the application on the IRS website.
It’s possible your company will need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Whether or not your company needs to follow this step will depend on the exact types of taxes it will be collecting and/or has been collecting from the state and whether you have employees. If applicable, you can register online at the Wisconsin DOR’s Taxpayer Access Point (TAP) or on paper using Form BTR-101, Application for Business Tax Registration.
If your LLC will be selling a physical product, you’ll need to register for a sellers permit through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website. This will allow you to collect sales tax on taxable sales. Additionally, if you have employees, you’ll need to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and also register for Employee Withholding Tax through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
If yours is a foreign LLC, also referred to as an out-of-state LLC, wanting to do business in the state of Wisconsin, you’ll need to follow all the steps outlined above with a few key differences.
The main difference is that the form required to make your LLC legal to operate is referred to as a Foreign Limited Liability Company Certificate of Registration Application (Form 521). You can either file paperwork online at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions web page or by mail. The filing fee is $130.
Some industries will require you to secure federal, state, and/or local licenses to legally operate in the state of Wisconsin.
You can get federal licenses and check with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services on the appropriate licensing for your business.
Since business licenses and permits are issued at all levels of government and for such a multitude of reasons, you should still do careful research to find out what licenses and permits you need. You can also hire or use a professional service to do it for you.