At any stage of running your own business, you might be ready for it to be over. Maybe you want to end your business so you can retire, avoid debt or bankruptcy, or free up time and resources to start a new business. Though there could be multiple reasons to close your business, there is one step you always need to take: you have to properly dissolve your closing business. If you don’t properly dissolve your Wisconsin business, you might have to keep paying state business taxes and fees. An improperly dissolved business could also subject you to fines or negative personal consequences. These unpleasant consequences can arise regardless of whether your business is in a good financial place at the time of closure or not. 

Maybe you’re not looking for tips on how to close your business at this time. Maybe you’re looking for help starting a new corporation or limited liability company (LLC). If this is the case, you can rely on us. We can help you get a solid start to your business with our Wisconsin LLC Formation or Wisconsin Corporation Formation services. 

Before dissolving your Wisconsin business

One of the best ways to limit the amount of work needed to dissolve your business is to act preemptively. In other words, there are things you can do at the start of your business that will make the dissolution of your business easier when the time comes. You can accomplish this preparatory work in many ways, including developing a system to organize records of all of your business dealings throughout the life of the company. 

Step 1: Establish a valuation of your Wisconsin business  

Typically, when you dissolve a Wisconsin business, there are a lot of decisions to make about where business assets go and how to handle outstanding business obligations and debts. To help with these decisions, you need a good valuation of your business. When you value your business, it’s important to include everything your business owns: assets, real estate, income, accounts, etc. If you don’t know how to properly value your business, you can hire a professional to make an accurate assessment. Whether you use a professional or do the business valuation work on your own, you need to gather all documents related to your business operations to do the job. It’s especially important to gather documents reflecting the contracts you have with third parties and business tax information. 

Being thorough and organized from day one is the best advice we can give you. This not only helps the company run more smoothly, but will make closing up shop much less complicated. Staying organized is much easier done with help. Through our Worry-Free Compliance Service and dashboard, we keep your business documents organized so you can quickly access and analyze them as soon as you need them. 

Step 2: Compile a full account of your Wisconsin business’s debts

Business debts are one of the most important obligations you need to handle quickly when you’re ready to pull the plug on your venture. You need to know every individual you owe money to and how much money you owe. Business debts don’t necessarily go away after your business closes. Also, you could be held personally liable for your closed business’s debts. This can happen even if the structure of your business normally limits your personal liability. 

Step 3: Identify Wisconsin’s official dissolution document

In general, if you had to file paperwork to register your business with the state, you need to file paperwork with the state to complete a Wisconsin voluntary dissolution of your business. Whether you want to dissolve a Wisconsin LLC, or dissolve a Wisconsin corporation, you have to file Articles of Dissolution. You file your Articles of Dissolution with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, and you can file online, or by mail. 

Step 4: Follow instructions in your Wisconsin business’s operating document

A business’s operating document normally contains rules that the business owners wrote. These rules typically detail how to conduct the business and explain the rights and duties of the owners. Bylaws are used to accomplish this for corporations, and operating agreements are used by LLCs. If your business has dissolution procedures in its bylaws or operating agreement, you’ll follow those procedures to close your business. Otherwise, you need to follow state law to dissolve your business. However, relying on default state rules to direct the dissolution of your business isn’t necessarily ideal. Wisconsin’s business dissolution rules might not suit the needs of your company as well as rules written by the company’s owners. 

Writing your own business rules is often your best option for running a business smoothly from start to finish. If you’re an LLC member who doesn’t know how to write a good set of business rules, our Operating Agreement Template can give you the solid foundation you need to get started in the right direction. 

Following your own operating document is often the first step in dissolving your corporation or LLC. But you still have to file dissolution paperwork with the state to close your business properly. 

Step 5: Cancel your Wisconsin business’s permits, licenses, and registrations

You probably had to have some kind of authorization such as a permit, license, or registration to operate your business. Your business might have even required multiple authorizations from federal, state, and local government agencies. You need to make sure you cancel all of these authorizations before you close your business and walk away. Research the licenses, permits, and registrations your business has to make sure you close everything correctly. You don’t want to leave any authorizations that automatically renew open because you could end up paying continual renewal fees for licenses you no longer need. 

Creditors aren’t the only entities that need to be paid. If your business has employees, you need to pay them their final checks and submit final tax information about their wages. You might also need to file final tax returns to the state and federal governments. Businesses with Employer Identification Numbers from the IRS need to cancel their EINs and any federal tax accounts.

Step 7: File Articles of Dissolution for your Wisconsin business

You might be itching to move on to the next chapter of your life and leave your current business behind. But don’t leave loose ends from an old business that could harm you personally or professionally. You need to make sure you prepare to wind up your business properly. You also need to file any necessary business-closing paperwork with the government, such as Articles of Dissolution. 

We can help you with your Wisconsin business’s needs

We are here to help you with your Wisconsin business needs from formation through dissolution. Our LLC or corporation services can help you form your business quickly and properly. Our Worry-Free compliance service and dashboard also help you stay organized every step of the way. Whatever your business needs, we are here to help.  

Dissolution FAQs

  • To dissolve many businesses, you need to have proper approval from your business owners. After you get approval, you file Articles of Dissolution with the state. During dissolution, you need to handle any debts, obligations, and distributions of assets. You also need to cancel any licenses, permits, accounts, and registrations.

  • The fee to file LLC Articles of Dissolution is on the form. There is a standard filing fee, and an additional fee to expedite processing. You must also pay an additional fee if you are delinquent on any state requirements for your LLC.

  • It normally takes five business days to process your Articles of Dissolution. If you pay an additional fee, the state can process your filing by the end of the next business day.

  • To dissolve a nonprofit corporation in Wisconsin, you must first have proper approval. You need to get this approval from enough incorporators, directors, members, or other required parties. Then, you have to file Articles of Dissolution with the state. During dissolution, you need to handle business debts and obligations, distribute assets, and cancel business accounts, licenses, registrations, and permits.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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