How to Form an LLC in Wisconsin

by Joe Stone

A Wisconsin LLC, or limited liability company, is formed by filing a document called the articles of organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The requirements for completing the articles are set forth in the Wisconsin Limited Liability Company Act. The DFI gives you the option of filing the articles using a pre-printed form or submitting the articles electronically through the DFI’s website (see Resources). Either filing method is easy, but you should understand the legal and tax consequence of structuring your business as an LLC before doing so.

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Step 1

Select a name for your LLC that complies with Wisconsin LLC law; that is, the name must include the words "limited liability company" or end with the abbreviation "L.L.C." or "LLC.” The name must also be distinguishable from the names of all business entities on file with the DFI. You can check a name’s availability by using the “Search Corporate Records” feature on the DFI website (see Resources).

Step 2

Download the Articles of Organization form from the DFI website (see Resources). Page two includes instructions for completing the form.

Step 3

Complete page 1 of the articles of organization by inserting your LLC’s name, the name and address for your LLC’s registered agent, indicating if your LLC will be member-managed or a manager will be appointed, and inserting your name and address as organizer and as the drafter of the document.

Step 4

Complete page 2 by inserting your name, address and phone number where indicated at the top of the page.

Step 5

File the original articles of organization plus one copy of the document with the DFI at the address indicated in the instructions (see Resources). A filing fee must be submitted with the articles which, as of December 2010, is $170.

Step 6

Go to the DFI's web page "Wisconsin Limited Liability Company - Directions," if you want to submit the articles of organization online (see Resources). The information required for this method of filing is the same as using the form; however, the filing fee is less, $130 as of December 2010.