When you form your LLC in Wisconsin, you’ll have to pay certain costs to officially register your business with the state.
In addition to formation and ongoing costs, there will be business expenses like using a registered agent service, building a website, getting business insurance, and so on. So, what’s the total Wisconsin LLC cost?
In this guide, we break down the costs associated with forming your LLC, from the Wisconsin LLC filing fee to LLC upkeep prices and other business expenses.
Cost of Forming an LLC in Wisconsin
When forming your limited liability company (LLC), there are a few different costs that you may incur. These include the filing fee, LLC formation service cost, operating agreement draft, and registered agent costs.
Wisconsin LLC Filing Fee
To form an LLC, you must file your Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee for the Articles of Organization is $130 online and $170 by mail. You will commonly see this fee referred to as the “state fee” or “filing fee.”
If you choose to use an LLC formation service, you will pay the $130+ state fee on top of their service fee. Generally, these service fees start around $29 and increase depending on additional services you purchase.
Most people choose to use an LLC formation service to create their LLC. The cost is low and they guarantee that your filing is done correctly. Check out our #1 rated LLC service:
For more details on the formation process, check out our Wisconsin LLC Formation guide.
Wisconsin Registered Agent and Registered Office
Every Wisconsin limited liability company (LLC) is required to appoint a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or entity you assign to receive tax forms, legal documents, or government correspondence on your LLC’s behalf. Registered agent services can cost around $130 per year or more.
Your registered agent can be:
- A registered agent service (most common)
- Yourself (not recommended)
- Another member of the LLC
- A business attorney
If you haven’t yet formed your LLC, we recommend using Northwest Registered Agent to form, as you will receive one year of registered agent services for free with a $29 formation.
Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement
An operating agreement defines the roles and responsibilities of the members or managers in your LLC and will help prevent and solve any business disputes that may arise later on.
The costs associated with the operating agreement come in the drafting of the document. For single member LLCs and simple multi-member LLCs, most people choose to create the document themselves.
You don’t need to file this document with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Using a free operating agreement template or document builder, that means your total cost would be $0.
Optional Wisconsin LLC Formation Costs
Along with the fees associated with forming an LLC, there are several optional LLC formation costs that you may encounter.
- Reserve a Name for Your LLC – Before registering your Wisconsin business name, check that it’s unique by performing a business entity name search. The name reservation fee of $15 is only necessary if you’re planning to wait between securing the name and operating.
- Doing Business As (DBA) Name – If you’re planning to do business under another name than the one registered, you must file for a DBA name (known in Wisconsin as a trade name). The filing fee for a trade name in Wisconsin is $15.
- Expedited Wisconsin LLC Filing – Wisconsin offers expedited filing of your Articles of Organization for an additional $25 fee.
- Certified Document Copies – Certified copies of your Wisconsin business documents serve as physical validation of your information. It’s proof that everything you’ve filed is correct and up-to-date. The fee for requesting a certified copy is $10.
- Certificate of Status – A Certificate of Status, known in most states as a Certificate of Good Standing, is proof that your business is properly registered and authorized to conduct business in Wisconsin. You may be required to provide it to banks or other lenders. The fee for requesting a Certificate of Status is $10.
Wisconsin LLC Cost and Fees Over Time
There are a few things you need to address to keep your LLC in good standing with the state year after year. Each of these comes with costs and fees.
Annual LLC Fee Wisconsin
Each year, your Wisconsin LLC must file an annual report with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee is $25.
The annual report is due at the end of the quarter in which you originally filed. Quarters end on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.
Annual reports are necessary for states if and when officials need to contact your LLC. See our Wisconsin LLC Annual Report article for more information.
Registered Agent Fee
If you use a professional registered agent service, you will pay their fee annually. Pricing will depend on the service provider that you use, but usually costs around $130/year. Using a registered agent service will save you time and the hassle of handling important legal documents and filings for the long term.
If you act as your own registered agent there are no maintenance fees. However, for privacy and compliance purposes, we don’t recommend being your own registered agent.
We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which offers a year of its registered agent service for free when you use the company to form your LLC ($29 + state fees).
General Costs of Running a Business
Operating a business will obviously come with more than just LLC costs. These are a few of the expenses that you may run into.
Business Bank Account
An LLC separates your personal assets from your business assets. This separation is called the corporate veil. That corporate veil ensures that if your business is sued or incurs debts, your personal assets will be protected from any liabilities.
Commingling (mixing) your personal bank account with your business can pierce your LLC’s corporate veil, which means you are no longer protected by the separated entity of your LLC.
Using a separate bank account to accept payments and pay business expenses is the only way to prevent commingling funds and piercing the corporate veil.
Recommended article: Check out TRUiC’s Best Small Business Banks guide to find the best bank account for your business.
Business Permits and Licenses
Depending on the type of business you operate, your business may need the proper permits and licenses to legally operate in Wisconsin.
Alongside the permits required, your business may require industry-specific licenses to operate legally. Examples include licenses like the Wisconsin real estate license, Wisconsin insurance license, Wisconsin adjuster license, and so on.
See TRUiC’s How to Get a Business License in Wisconsin article for more information.
Every business needs a website. There’s no better way to get in front of your customers, build your brand, and grow your business.
Fortunately, the cost and difficulty of creating a business website have come down over the years. Websites are now simple to build and cheap to keep up.
We advise LLC owners to use the GoDaddy Website Builder. It’s an extremely simple to use system, creates great business websites, and only costs about $15/month.
Having the proper insurance coverage can potentially save your entire business if there is a loss, accident, or lawsuit.
A few of the most common business insurance policies include:
- General liability insurance – Protects against claims of personal injury, physical injury, property damage, and more. This is the most common of all business insurance policies. Learn more about general liability insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance – Protects against claims of inaccurate or negligent work. It’s most common in the “professional” space where businesses offer services or advice to other businesses or consumers. Learn more about professional liability insurance.
- Commercial Workers’ Compensation Insurance – This type of insurance protects your employees from on-the-job injuries or illnesses. This coverage is required if you have one or more employees. Learn more about Workers’ Compensation insurance.
The cost of business insurance varies widely based on business type, size, location, and other factors. Getting a quote is the only way for LLC owners to understand the actual cost of insurance.
We recommend NEXT Insurance to help protect and grow your Wisconsin LLC. It features instant coverage with competitive pricing that’s tailored to fit your business’ needs.
LLC Cost in Wisconsin FAQ
Do you have to pay ongoing fees for an LLC every year?
Wisconsin LLCs pay a $25 fee to file an annual report with the Department of Financial Institutions.
What’s the cheapest way to form an LLC?
Can you start a Wisconsin LLC for free?
No. All applicants must pay the state filing fee to start a Wisconsin LLC. The filing fee is $130 online and $170 by mail.
How much does a registered agent cost?
Do I need to pay a franchise tax for my Wisconsin LLC?
No. Wisconsin doesn’t require franchise or corporate taxes to be paid to the internal revenue service (IRS).
How much does an LLC formation service provider cost?
It depends on the LLC formation company and whether you choose to form a foreign LLC or domestic LLC. We recommend Northwest Registered Agent, which starts at $29, plus the $130+ state fee, and includes the first year of registered agent services for free.