Wisconsin Articles of Organization

The Wisconsin LLC Articles of Organization is a crucial document for officially establishing your limited liability company in the state, and understanding its requirements is essential for a successful business start-up in Wisconsin.

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Many small business owners consider forming an LLC because they want to protect their personal assets if anything goes wrong with their business. If you are in that boat, it may be time for you to form an LLC.

In Wisconsin, you’ll have to file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions to start an LLC. Your Articles of Organization act as your business registration in Wisconsin. Filing them is a necessary step to ensure that your LLC is compliant with state regulations.  

How to File Your Wisconsin Articles of Organization

As part of preparing and filing your State of Wisconsin Articles of Organization, you will need to complete the following steps.

Step 1: Select Your LLC’s Official Name

The first thing you will need for the Articles of Organization for an LLC in Wisconsin is a business name. Under Wisconsin law, your business name has to be “distinguishable” from other Wisconsin business names. This means that the name you select cannot be the same as or too similar to another Wisconsin business name. You should check with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for more information about which words your LLC name can and can’t contain.

You can check if the name you want is available by searching Wisconsin’s business database. Because you never know how long that name will be available, you can also reserve your LLC’s prospective name by submitting a form and fee to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. If, however,  you decide to file your LLC Articles of Organization in WI without reserving your name, you should include an alternative name in your submission.

We can help you with your Wisconsin LLC’s naming process. We offer a Business Name Search to help you quickly see if the name you want is available.  We also offer a Name Reservation service that allows you to reserve your prospective name with ease. 

Step 2: Provide the Name and Address of Your Registered Agent and Registered Office

The next step for preparing your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin is to provide the name and address of your Wisconsin registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that will be responsible for accepting service of process, or legal documents, on behalf of your LLC. Wisconsin requires a registered agent to have a physical address within the state and be available to accept these legal documents during regular business hours. 

A person, such as an employee or LLC member, can serve as your LLC’s registered agent. So too can a company. We can connect you with a Wisconsin Registered Agent so that you won’t have to seek out a registered agent for your LLC.

Step 3: Decide Who Will Manage the LLC 

Next for your WI LLC Articles of Organization, you will need to decide how your LLC will be managed. LLCs can be either member-managed or manager-managed.  A member-managed LLC is an LLC where all the members take on management responsibilities and deal with the LLC’s day-to-day operations. In a manager-managed LLC, the members select managers to deal with the daily obligations of running the business.

Only you can decide which of these management styles is best for your Wisconsin LLC. Most commonly, people select the member-managed LLC. However, if your LLC has members that do not want to be actively involved in day-to-day operations, the manager-managed option may be best suited for you.

Step 4: Provide the Names and Addresses of Your Organizers

You will also have to provide the names and addresses of the organizers for your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin. The organizers of the LLC are the people who prepare your LLC formation documents like the Articles of Organization. You must provide their information on the Articles of Organization to file it with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Step 5: List the LLC Articles of Organization Drafter 

Next, you will need to submit the name of the person who drafted the Articles of Organization. This may be one of the organizers you already listed, but you are still required to provide their names separately. 

Step 6: Choose a Filing Date 

Generally, State of Wisconsin Articles of Organization are effective on the date that the Department of Financial Institutions receives them. However, you can pick a future effective date for your Articles of Organization so long as it is within 90 days of the date that you file them with the state. 

Step 7: Provide Contact Information

Last, you’ll provide an email address or a mailing address. You’ll provide this information so that the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions can send you the officially filed copy of your Articles of Organization. They also request that you provide a phone number to contact you with any questions or if there are any issues with the filing.   

Where to File Your State of Wisconsin Articles of Organization

Now that you’ve gathered the above information, you’re ready to file your Wisconsin Articles of Organization. You’ll file the Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.  

You can file the Articles of Organization online and pay the filing fee by credit card. You may also file them by mail and include the requisite fee. If you use mail to file, your WI LLC Articles of Organization must contain an original signature. Expedited service is also available.

What Are the Next Steps? 

Once you file your Articles of Organization in Wisconsin, you’ll have to follow additional steps to comply with state and federal regulations.

Draft an Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a document that will help you make decisions about and govern your LLC.  The LLC operating agreement describes the purpose and functions of the LLC. It also sets forth rules, policies, and other guidelines for decision-making. An operating agreement typically addresses the following:

  • The management structure
  • The managers’ duties and responsibilities
  • Voting procedures
  • The allocation of profits and losses among the members
  • The tax elections for the LLC

Although an operating agreement is not required by Wisconsin law, without it, running your LLC may be confusing, or you may have conflict among the members when difficult decisions arise. You do not need to file your LLC operating agreement with the state.

We make drafting an LLC operating agreement easy. We offer an LLC Operating Agreement Template to help you.

Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You will most likely need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service. An EIN is a number assigned to a business for tax purposes. You will use this number for all of your LLC’s tax-related filings. You may also need an EIN to open a bank account for your LLC or conduct other business.

You can quickly apply for an EIN for your LLC with our EIN ID Number service.

Register Your Wisconsin LLC with Other Governmental Agencies

In addition to getting an EIN from the IRS, your LLC will need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for state taxes. You may also need to obtain business licenses depending on your LLC’s work. You can do this by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Public Services to apply for the appropriate business license.

We Can Help! 

Getting a new LLC registered in Wisconsin can be a tricky process. With the help of our Wisconsin LLC Formation service, you don’t have to worry about the formation process. Plus, with our Worry-Free Compliance service, you can relax knowing that your LLC will comply with ongoing requirements. Let us take these tasks off your plate, so you have more time to focus on your business.

Wisconsin Articles of Organization FAQs

  • To change your Articles of Organization for an LLC in Wisconsin, you’ll have to file Articles of Amendment with Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions. The state offers an Articles of Amendment form that you can use to change your Articles of Organization. You may also file Articles of Amendment online.

    Figuring out how to amend your Articles of Organization can be confusing. We also provide a Wisconsin LLC Amendment service to help you through this process. Plus, our Worry-Free Compliance Service helps you stay compliant with ongoing LLC regulations and includes up to two amendments per year.

  • Depending on your LLC, there are different things you may need to do to dissolve your LLC. First, you should examine Wisconsin’s Articles of Dissolution requirements. Your operating agreement should state the basis for dissolution.  If you do not have an operating agreement, you may dissolve your LLC with the written consent of all the members. If your LLC was formed before 10/01/2002, you could also dissolve if a member voluntarily leaves, or dissociates from, the LLC. You’ll file the Articles of Dissolution form with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

  • To form a corporation in Wisconsin, you must file Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, along with the required filing fee. You should also draft corporate bylaws to describe how the corporation will operate. You must comply with many other legal requirements when incorporating your Wisconsin business.

    We can help you navigate through the Wisconsin incorporation process. We offer a Wisconsin Corporation Formation service so that you can delegate the heavy lifting for incorporating your business.

  • Wisconsin does not require an LLC to have an operating agreement. Nonetheless, an operating agreement can be beneficial because it functions as the LLC’s governing document.

    Operating agreements set forth things like decision-making processes, how profits and losses are allocated, and what happens when the LLC dissolves. An operating agreement can help LLC members and managers avoid confusion or conflict if something arises.

  • No, you don’t need an attorney to form your Wisconsin LLC. You can set up your Wisconsin LLC on your own. However, it never hurts to run your business plans by an attorney. They can advise you as to the particular needs of your business.

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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