LLC Cost in Wisconsin - How Much To Pay In Fees & Taxes in WI

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Last updated February 17, 2023
Written by Dmytro Kondratiev
Editor, lawyer
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If you're planning to set up a limited liability company in Wisconsin, we can help you find out how much you need to open it and keep your LLC in good standing.

Thus, we set ourselves the task of answering the following questions:

  • How much does it cost to open an LLC in Wisconsin?
  • How much does it cost to set up a foreign LLC?
  • Do business owners have to pay an annual LLC fee Wisconsin?
  • Which additional costs should be considered?

How Much Does It Cost to Open an LLC in Wisconsin?

At the initial stage of formation, future LLC owners often wonder how much an LLC costs. Once you learn this step-by-step guide on starting a business, the answer will be quite obvious.

That said, to get a clearer answer, you will need to know:

  • Wisconsin LLC filing fees for local and foreign LLCs;
  • Annual report fees;
  • Registered agent service cost;
  • State taxes;
  • Business licenses (if any), etc.

Wisconsin LLC Online Filing Fee

The state filing fee for LLC Articles of Organization is considered one of the major costs when forming a business. In Wisconsin, the fee is the following:

The filing procedure is mandatory for anyone who wants to legally run a business within the state.

The fee is a one-time payment. You can fill out and file online on the official website of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. That's where the payment is made and that's also where you can check your LLC's name availability.

Processing time for online applications: instant (due to the global situation in the world, processing time may take longer). For mail ones, the processing time will be longer (around 5 days).

Mail to:

State of WI-Dept. of Financial Institutions
Box 93348
Milwaukee WI, 53293-0348

For Express or Priority U.S. mail, use:

State of WI-Dept. of Financial Institutions
Division of Corporate and Consumer Services
4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison, WI 53705

LLC in Wisconsin Cost: Annual Report Fee

Many US states require LLCs to file annual reports. This is to be informed and up to date on existing businesses operating within the state. It's also a way for business owners to maintain good standing and comply with the state.

What is the Wisconsin LLC annual fee? The fee is $25 and is annually paid to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) at the end of the quarter in which the LLC was formed. The first one is due one year after the company is launched.

As for overdue reports, Wisconsin is loyal in this regard. However, don't take this for granted - considerable delays may still result in losing your business:

  • Delays of 1 to 2 years will obligate the owner to pay late fees and fill out unsupported reports;
  • Delays for 3+ years may result in the cancellation of the LLC.

Note that if your LLC will be dissolved administratively, you can reinstate it at any time. Such a service will cost you $100 + $25 for each annual report.

Cost to Set up an LLC in Wisconsin: Registered Agent Fee

In every US state, it's mandatory to appoint and maintain a registered agent (RA) for all LLCs. Wisconsin is no exception.

As a business owner, you can be your own RA or this can be any of your friends, family members, or colleagues who are 18 years old and residents of the state. However, it's still most beneficial to appoint a commercial registered agent.

Hiring a professional resident agent service will be especially relevant if: 

  • You don't have a registered physical address in the state;
  • You need more privacy in terms of your contact information;
  • You don't want to burden yourself with routine paperwork and the hassle of obtaining/tracking business documents;
  • You want more freedom and peace of mind.

Commercial registered agents charge from $49/year to $500/year on average. That said, some business formation agencies will offer their RA services for free (for the initial year), provided you hire the company to form an LLC for you.

LLC Cost in Wisconsin: Foreign LLC

If you already have an LLC and plan to expand your business to Wisconsin, you will need to register a foreign LLC in the state.

For this, you will need to address the Department of Financial Institutions and file a Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for a Certificate of Registration. The filing fee to submit the Certificate of Registration online is $100.

The foreign qualification process is done in several steps:

  • Choose a business name and check its availability;
  • Appoint a registered agent;
  • Complete the certificate of registration;
  • File with the Secretary of State.

Note that you can also file a Name Reservation Application separately for $15.

Filing Options: online, by mail, in person.

Mail to:

State of Wisconsin

Dept. of Financial Institutions

Box 93348

Milwaukee WI, 53293-0348

Filing fee: $100.

Also, the filing fee will be $25 more if you order the expedited end-of-day service for a foreign LLC registration.

Note that if your LLC has already been operating within the state without foreign registration, you’ll need to pay a penalty.

Requirements for foreign companies are different from those for local firms. For example, unlike local LLCs, there's no need to file Articles of Organization or submit a Certificate of Good Standing for foreign LLCs.

Cost to Form a Series LLC in Wisconsin

As your business grows, at some point in your business life cycle, you may want to convert your traditional LLC into a series LLC, a special type of company structure with a "parent" LLC and one or more divisions (subsidiaries).

Wisconsin technically allows you to form a series LLC, however, there is not much sense in it. The point is that a series LLC in the state will not have the same liability protections as a traditional LLC.

It's for this reason that many experts do not recommend forming a series LLC in this state. On the other hand, you can consult with a lawyer and make the right decision for yourself.

Cost to Form a PLLC (Professional LLC) in Wisconsin

If you plan to provide professional services in the state, then you have the option of forming a professional LLC (PLLC). However, the statutory framework for PLLCs does not contain specific provisions, which may seem like a disadvantage.

Still, even though there's no separate law for this group of businesses, it's likely that they will be governed by laws formed for individual professions in the state (e.g., the law for medical professionals or lawyers, etc.).

You can create a professional limited liability company by filing Articles of Organization with the Department of Financial Institutions. However, in addition to a standard set of documents required for traditional LLC registration, you will also need to obtain special professional business licenses.

Document filing can be done: 

  • Online,
  • By mail (download the form in PDF). 

Filing fee: depending on the form of filing, $130 online and $170 by mail.

State Income Tax

As an owner of an LLC, you must pay state income taxes on any profit the business generates and report these earnings on an income tax return. In addition, this also applies to the employees of the LLC. 

The rate depends primarily on your business income and varies from 3.54% to 7.65%.

Business License and Business Tax Registration Fee

A business license is required for those business entities that sell physical goods or certain types of services.

Depending on your business activities and specifics, to launch and legally operate an LLC in Wisconsin, you will need to get certain specialty licenses or local business licenses. Additionally, your LLC may also need other permits to operate in the state.

Essentially, a business license gives the right to sell specific goods or services within the state. Plus, all LLCs must also complete the Business Tax Registration, which allows businesses to register for a number of different tax permits, incl. the seller’s permit.

According to the Department of Revenue:

  • The initial Business Tax Registration (BTR) fee of $20 covers a period of two years;
  • It will then need to be renewed every 2 years, and the BTR renewal fee is $10.

To find out which business operating licenses you may need for your LLC, check with your local city or county business licensing department. Read more about this subject here.

Franchise Tax

Businesses in Wisconsin are also subject to franchise tax which is known as the corporate tax on the privilege of doing business in the state. This tax is paid by any business with revenues in excess of $4 million.

The tax rate is a minimum of $25.

Other LLC Filing Costs

When forming an LLC in Wisconsin, there are other processes that require attention and financial expenses.

LLC Name Reservation

Before listing your business name in the articles of organization, you need to make sure the name is not taken by another existing business operating within the state. You can read more about the rules in Section 183.0112.

In the future, you might want to change your LLC name. In this case, you will need to file Form 504, Articles of Amendment – Limited Liability Company (available in your online account) with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Alternatively, you can also draft your own articles of amendment. The amendment is filed along with paying the $40 fee (+ $25 fee for expedited processing).

Note that in Wisconsin, you do not need to reserve the name in advance as in other states. It will be approved along with the articles of organization.

Also, don’t forget to register your URL.

Foreign LLC Name Registration

Both local and foreign business owners should first make sure that their name is available for use in the state. If no such name exists in the state, no other paperwork needs to be filed.

Otherwise, if the name is taken, a special form on acceptance of a fictitious name (DBA) is filled out. 

Doing Business As (DBA)

If there is a desire to have another (more convenient) name for your business, which will be different from your official business name, then you should register a "doing business as" (DBA) name with the state.

A DBA itself is an alias of your company that is used for branding purposes. And you can create as many fictitious names as you need.

In Wisconsin, a DBA name is referred to as a “trade name.”

You can file your trade name with the Department of Financial Institutions by filling out a special form. The cost of registration is $15.

Registration methods: 

  • Online;
  • In person. 

Certified Document Copies

If you need simple or certified copies of your Articles of Organization or a Certificate of Status, you can order them online, by mail, or in person (Form SP48/50). Orders can be placed through the Department of Financial Institutions' website. The fee is $10.

Processing time: 

  • The standard turnaround time is 7 days;
  • You can speed up the process by paying an additional $25 per document. In such a case, your application will be processed within 2 days.

Note that if you make a request by mail, the cost of the service will be 10$, but the processing time will be longer. You can find more information here.

Certificate of Good Standing

A Certificate of Good Standing can be issued for LLCs that are in compliance with all state regulations/requirements and is proof that the company is in good standing.

You can order the document from the Department of Financial Institutions. The fee is $10 ($10 for a certified copy + $0.25 per page of the document attached to the certification).

Ways to order: 

  • Online;
  • By mail.

When will you need a Certificate of Good Standing? It's often required when obtaining business loans to qualify to do business in another state or more. Therefore, it's relevant to get this document as soon as possible.

Note that the Certificate of Good Standing does not have an expiration date. However, you should be prepared for the fact that bankers or creditors will have a different opinion and may require a new document if the one you have seems dated to them.