Wisconsin LLC Cost
When forming a limited liability company in Wisconsin, the primary expense is $131 in fees to file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate and Consumer Services online. Your new LLC will also come with other costs, like license fees, business insurance premiums, and $26 to file an annual report. In this guide, we’ll explain the most common expenses associated with starting a Wisconsin LLC.
What You'll Find In This Article:
- Wisconsin LLC Formation Filing Fee
- Wisconsin Annual Report Fee
- Wisconsin Registered Agent Fee
- Wisconsin State Business License Fee
- Wisconsin Professional Licensing Fees
- Local Business License Fees in Wisconsin
- Optional LLC Fees in Wisconsin
- Business Insurance Premiums
- How much does it cost to register a foreign LLC in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin LLC Formation Filing Fee: $131
To form a Wisconsin LLC, you’ll need to file Articles of Organization with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate and Consumer Services. Filing the articles costs $131 online. You can also fill out a printable form to submit by mail, but you’ll pay a higher fee of $170 to do it that way.
State of Wisconsin
Dept. of Financial Institutions
Milwaukee, WI 53293-0348
Express or Priority Mail:
State of Wisconsin
Dept. of Financial Institutions
Division of Corporate and Consumer Affairs
4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison, WI 53705
The Division of Corporate and Consumer Services normally takes about 5 days to process Articles of Organization once they receive them. Expedited processing is available for $25, with articles ready by close of business one day after receipt.
Wisconsin Annual Report Fee: $26
Around the end of your LLC’s first year of existence, you will need to submit its annual report to the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services, along with a $25 fee. This report can be filed online via the One Stop Business Portal (please add the standard additional $1 portal fee) or with a paper form. The due date for your LLC’s annual report is based on the time of year it was formed:
- Formed January 1 – March 31, report due by March 31 of the following year
- Formed April 1 – June 30, report due by June 30 of the following year
- Formed July 1 – September 30, due September 30 of the following year
- Formed October 1 – December 31, due December 31 of the following year
Learn more about filing your Wisconsin Annual Report.
Wisconsin Registered Agent Fee
Per Wisconsin Statutes § 183.0115, you must name a Wisconsin registered agent when you form a LLC in the state. They must have a Wisconsin street address—no PO boxes or virtual offices allowed—and be able to operate during regular business hours in order to accept service of process for your LLC.
You can designate an employee, partner or family member as your registered agent—or you can even do it yourself. However, many LLC owners prefer the privacy and convenience they get from hiring a professional registered agent service like Northwest over using in-house or do-it-yourself registered agents. While our competitors’ price tags vary, we charge just $125 a year for registered agent service, and our cost never goes up.
Wisconsin State Business License Fee
Wisconsin doesn’t have a general business license all businesses are required to obtain. That said, most LLCs that make sales of any sort will need to file a Business Tax Registration (BTR) application and elect to register for a Seller’s Permit, Consumer’s Use Tax Certificate, or other tax permits – such as for food and beverage sales, lodging, vehicle rentals and certain other specialties. The BTR application can be printed and filed by mail or submitted through the Department of Revenue’s online registration. Initial registration costs $20 and lasts for two years, then $10 for every two years afterwards.
Wisconsin Professional Licensing Fees
Certain kinds of businesses need specialized education and training to function—such as architects, barbers, counselors, plumbers and many others. These careers generally need a professional license to operate in Wisconsin.The Wisconsin State Department of Safety and Professional Services can help you find the state department or board that issues your relevant professional license.
Applicants must usually pay a fee to take a state exam, complete an application to the relevant department or board, and pay all fees that accompany your professional license. Fees vary by occupation—a private detective’s license is $8 with a $127 exam fee, but a certified public accountant’s costs $43 with a $75 application. Some professions also expect you to pay annual renewal fees and continuing education costs.
Local Business License Fees in Wisconsin
Most communities in Wisconsin do not require a general business license—though there are exceptions, such as Beloit, which charges a $20 license fee for any business operating in the town. It is more common for Wisconsin communities to license specific kinds of businesses, such as the restaurant license in Madison, which ranges from $588 to $1,892 depending on the annual gross sales and amount of food preparation involved, or Kenosha’s $200 fee for commercial kennels. Consult your city and county websites or contact your town clerk for information about local licensing in your area.
Optional LLC Fees in Wisconsin
While we’ve listed the essential costs of starting a Wisconsin LLC in Wisconsin, there are also optional filings that your company may need, coming with additional fees.
You can reserve a business name in Wisconsin for 120 days by filing an Name Reservation Application with the Department of Financial Institutions. Applicants must mail a paper form for the reservation along with a check for $15.
DBA (Doing Business as) Name
DBAs are called “trade names” in Wisconsin and are part of the state’s trademark registrations. You can use a trade name instead of your LLC’s legal name when conducting business if you register the trade name and pay a $15 fee. Trade names are registered online or in person and last for 10 years before needing renewed. Use the trademark search function of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Online Filing System to see if your intended trade name is already in use.
Certified Copies of Business Documents
LLC owners sometimes need documents that prove their company is properly registered with the state. Wisconsin offers simple and certified copies of most business documents filed with the state through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website or by filing Form SP48-50. Simple copies cost $5 and certified copies are $10.
Wisconsin Certificate of Status
If your LLC needs to prove to a bank, investors, or another state that it is up-to-date on all state filings and fees, you’ll need a Certificate of Status. The fee for a certificate is $10 for hard copy or email delivery and $20 to receive both. Certificates of Status can also be ordered with Form SP48-50 or on the WDFI website.
Business Insurance Premiums
Wisconsin requires your LLC to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if it has three or more employees, one or more employees paid $500 or more in gross wages during a calendar quarter, or if the LLC is a farm employing six or more workers on the same day for any 20 days of the year. Employers can purchase coverage from private insurers, get last-resort coverage from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau if rejected by traditional insurance companies, or self-insure if their business qualifies. The average estimated cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Wisconsin is $1.49 per $100 in payroll.
You may also consider obtaining liability insurance for your LLC. LLCs protect the assets of their members, but liability insurance can help protect the LLC itself from losses. For example, liability insurance can cover the costs of lawsuits filed against your LLC in the event of customer injury. Insurance rates for liability coverage depend on the nature of your LLC’s business—a farm company will likely pay higher rates than a home-based content creator, for example.
Learn more about LLC Business Insurance.
How much does it cost to register a foreign LLC in Wisconsin?
To register your foreign LLC in Wisconsin, you’ll need to submit a Certificate of Registration – Foreign Limited Liability Company to the Division of Corporate and Consumer Services and pay a $100 filing fee. Your Wisconsin foreign LLC must follow the same rules as a domestic LLC, which means you’ll need all the same state, professional and local business licenses required when operating a business in Wisconsin.