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Start a Business in Wisconsin

Starting a business in Wisconsin is easy. All you need to do is file a few forms with the Wisconsin Secretary of State and start running your business. Below, we show you how to get started and walk you through some of your options.

One option is, of course, to stop reading and just hire us to start your business for you. At Northwest, we form businesses and provide registered agent service throughout the US. That’s our business, and obviously we recommend starting your business in a certain way. We call it “Starting a Business the Right Way."

Starting your business the right way means hiring a registered agent to form your LLC or corporation so you can protect your privacy and receive the care your business needs to stay active. If you hire us to start your Wisconsin business, we’ll be your registered agent, provide Privacy by Default®, a business address, mail forwarding and local Corporate Guide® service for life.

All You Need

Hire us to start your Wisconsin LLC or corporation and get all the tools you need to start fast:

  • WI registered agent service

  • Wisconsin business forms

  • Online client account

  • Easy access to all our business services & answers to your business questions

Start Your Business the Right Way

As your registered agent, when we start your business, we give you what other filing services can’t:

  • Privacy by Default®
  • Business address
  • Free mail forwarding
  • Lifetime support from local Corporate Guides®

Start Your Wisconsin Business

$225 + State Fees
Rated 4.7 / 5 stars by 556 clients on Google

How to Start a Business in Wisconsin

File Your Articles

You file articles of incorporation for a Wisconsin corporation or articles of organization for a Wisconsin LLC with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Obtain a Federal Tax ID

You obtain a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) with the IRS after you have confirmation and filed articles from the State of Wisconsin showing your approved Wisconsin business.

Open a Bank Account

Opening a business banking account under your new Wisconsin business name should be easy with these two items.

Register with the Dept of Revenue

If you’re going to have employees or need to withhold sales tax, you will probably need to register with the AR department of revenue. We provide all these links in your online account.

Apply for Licenses

If your business trade requires a license, you’ll have to apply for a license with the Wisconsin licensing board. (Most businesses don’t.) But if you do, these quick links and contact details are in your online account. Some local cities or counties have a general license, but most don’t. You obtain a local trade license if the city or county you’re going to be working in requires it.

Get Proper Zoning

If you’re going to have an office or shop you might need an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in that location.

Get Up and Running

If you get overwhelmed, just get your business pulling in money and worry about regulations later.

Are You A Do-It-Yourselfer? You Can Save Some Money:

If you want to start a business in Wisconsin yourself, you can just hire us as your Wisconsin registered agent, and you’ll instantly have the Wisconsin LLC or corporation forms to file along with filing instructions on the quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to incorporate an Wisconsin corporation or form a Wisconsin LLC. You’ll get the ongoing support of our online tools, reminders and the support of a professional Wisconsin registered agent service.


Wisconsin LLC vs Corporation

Small business owners enjoy the easy maintenance of an LLC. They have fewer annual requirements and offer flexible management structures. Corporations are best for anyone seeking to grow a larger business. Plus, having the ability to sell stock helps attract top investors.

But, what about Wisconsin? Any pros and cons for a Wisconsin LLC vs a Wisconsin corporation?

When it comes to start up fees, there is a slight advantage to starting a Wisconsin corporation versus a Wisconsin LLC. The Articles of Incorporation costs $100 to file, compared to $130 for the Articles of Organization. Both entities are required to submit annual reports ($25 online) each year with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate & Consumer Services.

During tax season, Wisconsin LLCs and corporations will get hit fairly hard—especially those that earn a higher income. The corporate income tax is a flat rate at 7.9%. In addition, if your total gross receipts are $4 million or more, your corporation will have to pay an Economic Development Surcharge (3%). Unless taxed as a C or S corp, LLCs won’t have to worry about the surcharge; however, rates for personal income range between 3.86% and 7.65%.

Wisconsin offers LLCs strong protection against creditors. Although claimants can obtain a charging order—putting a lien on the debtor’s interest—they can’t force the LLC to make distributions. Definitely something to consider when starting a business in Wisconsin.

If you want a corporation, you file Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation:

The Wisconsin articles of incorporation cost $100 with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

We custom draft your Wisconsin articles of incorporation when you hire Northwest to start your Wisconsin business. The basic requirements of Wisconsin corporations are:

  • The Wisconsin corporation must have a corporate ending such as incorporated, corporation or an abbreviation thereof.
  • The number of shares the Wisconsin corporation is authorized to issue.
  • The name and address of the Wisconsin incorporator(s).
  • The Wisconsin incorporator must sign the articles of incorporation.
  • The name of the person who drafted (completed) the articles of incorporation.
  • The name, email, phone number and address of the contact person for the WI articles of incorporation.
  • The name of the registered agent in Wisconsin and the registered office address.

Wisconsin does not require original signatures on new incorporation filings. They will mail file stamped copy back to you.

Start Your Wisconsin Business!

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If you want a LLC, you file Wisconsin Articles of Organization:

To form a Wisconsin LLC, you file Wisconsin articles of organization and pay the $170 fee. The basic requirements of Wisconsin LLC filings are:

  • The business name must include “limited liability company” or end with the abbreviation for it.
  • New Wisconsin LLCs name must be different than already registered Wisconsin companies.
  • The Wisconsin registered agent and the physical address.
  • Whether it is a member managed or manager managed Wisconsin LLC.
  • The names and addresses of organizer(s).
  • The Wisconsin organizer must sign.
  • The name of the Drafter of the LLC articles of organization.
  • Name, address, email and phone number of the contact person.

Wisconsin does not require original signatures on new LLC filings. The DFI will mail your file stamped copy to you.

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