The TRUE Cost to Start a Wisconsin LLC

Last updated on: June 30, 2021

If you plan on launching an LLC in Wisconsin, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost. We have prepared this information for you by summarizing the possible costs of starting an LLC in Wisconsin.

There are some types of businesses where you can start a business without money, but they are few.

To start your own business, you need small start-up capital. And, in order to rationally allocate the amount of money you have, it is necessary to make a plan for future expenses.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at all the nuances associated with starting an LLC in Wisconsin and calculate the minimum budget you need to start a business in this state.

Bare Minimum Cost to Start an LLC in Wisconsin

The costs associated with starting an LLC can be divided into:


the amount of Articles of Organization Fee depends on the method of filing:

  • $130 for online;
  • $170 for hard copy (by mail or in-person).

If you wish, you can pay an optional $25 for expedited processing.


  1. LLC Name Reservation Fee: The application can only be submitted in paper form. It costs $15.
    There is also an expedited service for $25;
  2. LLC Formation Service: you can also use such an LLC service as:

Overall Wisconsin LLC Formation Costs

LLC Name Reservation Fee

Approving the Articles of Organization of your LLC automatically register its name. 

However, if you are not ready to start your business yet, by filing a name reservation you can secure your chosen LLC name.

Wisconsin name reservation costs $15. For that money, you get a 120-day hold of the name by the state. 

Also, filing a name reservation is not required by law, but it allows you to save time and money by avoiding surprises when registering an LLC.

Articles of Organization Fee

For every company, the Articles of Organization is a fundamental document. It will officially register your business and make it legal.

The cost of processing of the Articles of Organization will depend on the way of filing:

This is the most valuable document that you need to file to start your Wisconsin LLC, so it should be filled out carefully.

Business and Professional Licenses

After approval of the Articles of Organization, the company is considered officially formed. But in most cases, this is not enough for doing business in Wisconsin. Some LLCs are also required to obtain licensure from state agencies or local governments to start working. 

Licenses may be required at the following levels:

  • Federal: All federal business licensing requirements can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration website;
  • State: to find out if you need Wisconsin state licensure, visit the Department of Safety and Professional Services website;
  • Local: Often cities and counties have their licensure requirements for companies operating in their area. Contact your local government for more information.

The cost of permits depends on the level at which they are issued and the field of activity. 

Note that you might be required to have more than one license for an LLC to work properly.

To save time and make sure you don’t miss anything, you can hire a professional service to get all the licenses you need. For example, Incfile offers the appropriate package of services for $99.

LLC Formation Service

Hiring an LLC formation service can simplify and accelerate starting an LLC.

The modern market offers a wide range of LLC formation services that meet all your business requirements. At the same time, you can get high-quality services for reasonable prices.

For example, LegalZoom provides a basic LLC formation service for $79, plus the mandatory filing fee. 

ZenBusiness is a good LegalZoom LLC alternatives. Its price is only $39 (not including the state fee).

Generally, all online LLC services offer a name to search for the future company and filing documents services.

Besides the registration process, they can also help with:

  • Obtaining Employer Identification Numbers for your LLC;
  • Drafting Operating Agreements that will be carefully structured and individualized; 
  • Expedited filing documents.

They also offer professional consultation on all issues related to the creation of the company.

Registered Agent Service

Under Wisconsin business law, the owner of a company is required to provide an appointing a registered agent before the company is formally registered. This is an essential part of the LLC formation process, so applications without the details of a registered agent will be rejected.

The registered agent can be either a legal entity or an individual, even the owner of the company. However, the best way is to delegate the responsibility to a professional by signing a contract with a specialized online company. 

A professional registered agent service will receive letters and documents on behalf of your LLC and keep them in perfect order. Their representative will control that you do not miss important official, legal and tax documents. Moreover, they will check the deadlines, when you need to file reports regarding the activities of the LLC.

If you think about choosing a registered agent, please read the Best Registered Agent Services guide, which describes the leading companies in the field. 

In case you are too busy to do this research, we recommend checking out Northwest Registered Agent services and prices. This company has an excellent reputation backed by many positive reviews. Also, it handles LLC formation by providing a registered agent-free for 1 year. Subsequent maintenance will cost $125 per year.

An alternative option would be ZenBusiness. If you hire them to start your own company, you also get a year of free registered agent service. Renewing the service costs $119.

Attorney Fees

It can be very helpful to know about the nuances of legislation and specifics of the practice in the LLC formation process. If you have any questions about setting up an LLC, you can consult an attorney who will help remove any doubts. A specialist will not only answer all your questions or give essential business advice but will also assist you in choosing the best business structure, taking into consideration the specifics of your business.

If you have already started making preparations for your company, an attorney can provide you with professional filing assistance for registration.

Of course, a lawyer’s service requires a fair payment. Some of them set a flat rate for setting up an LLC. The cost of such a service package ranges from $500 to $2,000.

Other attorneys offer free consultations for 30 to 60 minutes and then charge by the hour. Their average price ranges from $150 to $350 per hour, depending on specialization and location.

If you don’t know how to find a good lawyer, visit the Avvo website. There’s a database of Wisconsin business attorneys and an easy tool that allows you to filter them. Using this search, you can quickly get a comprehensive list of Wisconsin business attorneys that meet your needs.

Foreign Qualification Fee

If you already have a company registered in another state and want to take your business to the next level, expanding into Wisconsin is a good idea for its development.

Unlike domestic, foreign LLCs are not required to file the Articles of Organization in order to be registered. There is a special Foreign LLC Certificate of Registration Application that gives them the right to do business in Wisconsin legally. 

The process for obtaining this approval is called foreign qualify in Wisconsin. All foreign business entities can submit the required form online by paying a $100 fee.

LLC Annual Fees

It is required for all Wisconsin LLCs to file Annual Reports to keep information about the company up-to-date. The documents must be filed with the Department of Financial Institutions no later than the end of the quarter in which your LLC was approved. Thus, the due dates are:

  • March 31
  • June 30
  • September 30
  • December 31.

There are two ways to send materials:

  • File it online here;
  • As a hard copy by print and mail your form to the Department.

An Annual Report costs $25 for a domestic LLC and $80 for a foreign LLC.


Tax law is fairly simple for Wisconsin LLCs, compared to some other states.

There are three levels of taxation:

  1. Federal Taxes: by default, law considers LLCs as ” pass-through” tax units. This means that the company does not have to file a separate corporate return and pay income tax. Instead, all business income and losses are reported on the individual tax returns of its owners. This system helps effectively avoid double taxation;
  2. State Taxes: there is no corporate income tax or franchise tax in Wisconsin. However, if the owners of an LLC choose to be taxed as a corporation, they must pay Withholding Tax an franchise tax. Learn more about these taxes here.
  3. Local: cities and counties have the right to establish additional taxes for companies operating in their territory. To avoid any surprises, before you set up your LLC, it is a good idea to consult with your local authorities for advice.

Depending on the nature of the company, you may also need paying a Sales Tax if the LLC sells merchandise or provides services. 

Companies that use, store, or consume goods on which Sales Tax has not been paid must pay Use Tax.

And companies that hire employees must pay an Unemployment Tax and income tax.

To help new entrepreneurs, the One-Stop Business Portal offers a lot of useful information regarding taxation and LLC activities in general. You can use Wisconsin’s One Stop Business Portal to know exactly what taxes your LLC is required to pay and to maintain a good reputation.

What If I Don’t Pay?

Trying to save on taxes can cause big problems for your company in the future.

To conduct business according to state legislation, first of all, you should file your formation documents, which are fundamental to every LLC. These are the Articles of Organization for domestic companies and the Certificate of Registration Application for foreign companies. 

Until they are approved, doing business in the state is impossible.

Don’t forget to file an Annual Report. Filing it on time is the basis of your company’s good reputation. If you fail to do this, you will not only be unable to foreign qualify in many states, but it will also make it impossible for you to apply for business loans. Furthermore, it would make it impossible to renew your professional licenses.

Tax penalties are outlined in Wisconsin Statutes Section 71.83. You can pay a penalty of 5% of the amount due per month, up to 25%.

In the extreme case, the consequences of not paying taxes could be even more serious, up to administrative dissolution.

Planning Your Expenses

If you are used to keeping track of your money, we have some good news for you. Most of the expenses associated with register an LLC in Wisconsin are one-time fees, and you won’t have to go back to them afterward. 

The only exception is Annual Reports, which every LLC must file annually.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *