Registered Agent Service in Wisconsin

What is a Wisconsin registered agent?

A registered agent in Wisconsin is the same as a registered agent in any other state. Although sometimes referred to by different names — statutory agent, resident agent, agent for service of process — Wisconsin registered agents accept official mail (annual report forms, tax forms, etc.) and service of process on your business’ behalf. When forming a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) in Wisconsin (or in any other state for that matter) you’ll need to appoint a registered agent on your formation documents. Wisconsin’s business act requires all business entities formed in or authorized to do business in the state to appoint a Wisconsin registered agent.

What does a registered agent do?

When you appoint a registered agent for your LLC or corporation, you are giving that person or business the responsibility to accept official mail and service of process on your business’ behalf. Once your agent accepts your mail, it is their responsibility to deliver it to you, the business owner. Registered agents are required for businesses in all 50 states. The reasoning for their existence is the idea that these agents serve as a link in the chain of due process. If your business is sued, before the lawsuit can move forward in court, your business must be officially notified. Registered agents serve as a reliable point of contact, so business owners can’t hide from lawsuits and businesses can’t be sued or dissolved without the business first being notified.

Who can be a registered agent in Wisconsin?

Any Wisconsin resident over the age of 18 can be a registered agent, as well as other business entities authorized to do business in the state. The address of the agent’s registered office (the agent’s official address) must be located within the state, and P.O. boxes are not valid addresses, as the agent’s address must be a physical one. A registered agent must also be available at their registered office during normal business hours and have a reliable way to notify businesses when they’ve received a notification on that business’ behalf.

Can I be my own Wisconsin registered agent?

Yes, you can be your own registered agent in Wisconsin, as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Wisconsin resident.
  • You have a physical residence (no P.O. boxes!) where you can accept notifications and services of process on your business’ behalf during normal business hours.
  • You are okay with listing your name and address as the business’ point of contact, which means your address will be listed on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ website and it’s where process servers will be delivering any lawsuits.

Why would I hire a registered agent service?

  • If your business is web-based or without a physical address, hiring a registered agent service like Northwest will help your business meet Wisconsin’s requirements.
  • If you don’t keep regular business hours, you won’t be able to accept services of process and official mail when they’re delivered, so a professional registered agent would be beneficial to you in this situation.
  • Some business owners want privacy. They don’t want their names and addresses listed on the WI Department of Financial Institutions’ website as their business’ main point of contact. That way process servers don’t show up at your office or home, they come to our office instead.
  • Registered agent services should help business owners track important legal documents and business obligations like annual reports.
  • Listing friends or family members as your business’ registered agent could cause you distractions and tension. Do you want your friends or relatives knowing the intimate details your business’ lawsuits? Are they reliable and organized enough to deliver your business’ important documents? If not, you could miss a court deadline without knowing it, and your business will suffer because of it.

What makes Northwest the best registered agent service?

  • The most expansive alert system in the business. If you want us to remind you, or anyone else you choose, we’ll do our job until you actually look at the documents we’ve uploaded to your account. We never make light of our responsibility. When you hire Northwest, you can rest assured that when we receive a document for your business, a serious timeline is initiated and over the course of the following week, we’ll send emails, call on the phone, send faxes, texts, and finally a mailed notice to make sure you see your lawsuit. We can also alert your Wisconsin attorney for certain documents, should you choose.
  • Customizable notifications. One major thing that separates us from the competition is how we let you customize the entire notification experience and decide who gets notified for what type of document.
  • Easily manage lawsuits. For heavy volume lawsuit clients, we have a special management portal where all your docs are OCR’d and customizable to meet your needs.
  • Real time service. When the state or a service of process delivers a document for your business, within minutes we will scan the documents at our Wisconsin office in Appleton and upload them to your online account. When this happens, you receive an email prompting you to log in to view the documents. We’re the only national registered agent service that uploads everything locally at our office to your account in real time.
  • Reporting reminders. We send reminders when any business reports are due to the secretary of state and, unlike other registered agent services, we’ll never try to upsell your annual report so we can charge a fee to file it for you. We send you the link, the forms, and instructions to do it yourself. We want to save you money and hassle.
  • Pre-populated Wisconsin forms. When you hire Northwest, you’ll receive instant access to your online account. There, you’ll find every Wisconsin state form you can file, and each form is pre-populated with our information to make filings easy. We also include ordering sheets and all kinds of Wisconsin state forms that aren’t easy to find.
  • Free tips and instructions. In your account, you’ll also find instructions and tips from our expert business professionals on the best ways to file state forms and make payments with no additional markup.
  • National registered agent service. Northwest is a national company. As you expand, you can add state services as you need to register your business in different states, and you’ll receive an automatic discount as you do. Not to mention having one vendor manage all your companies in one account will save you from a lot of organizational headaches.
  • We know Wisconsin corporate filings. For years, we’ve worked with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. They know us, we know them. We’ve perfected ironing out any bureaucratic wrinkles your business may encounter in Wisconsin.
  • Helpful staff. Any time you have a question and can’t find an answer, you can call us and talk with a real, knowledgeable human being who will help you find whatever you need to know at no additional charge.

How much does Northwest charge for its registered agent services?

Registered agent service for $125 per year. You’ll find no hidden fees, and we include automatic discounts for more states and companies as your business’ portfolio expands.

Should I hire a registered agent before or after forming my LLC or corporation?

You should definitely know who your registered agent is before forming your business entity because all states require that you appoint a registered agent on your formation documents. Your registered agent should also be able to help you with your filing.

Is it worth hiring a registered agent service if my business never gets sued?

That depends. You need a registered agent in each state where your business operates, so if you do business in multiple states, then you’ll likely need to hire one. Plus, with a solid registered agent service like Northwest, you can rest easy knowing that if anything does happen, you’ll know about it within minutes. We will also keep you apprised of any reports due to the state, and in your online account, you’ll find every document you could file with the state of Wisconsin pre-populated with our information, ready to be filed.

What if I get sued every day?

We don’t charge more for high-volume clients, but if you know you’re going to get sued everyday, we should create a customized set up that make sense for both of us. Typically, our clients don’t receive more than 15 lawsuits in a year and do not pay additional fees.

How are lawsuits served to a registered agent?

When your business is sued, a process server will deliver a complaint form and a summons form to your registered agent. Then the agent signs for the documents, acknowledging receipt of the lawsuit (this is what it means to be served). If Northwest is your registered agent, we’ll quickly scan the documents, upload them to your account, and notify you instantly. You can learn more about our real time registered agent service by checking out our Registered Agent Infographic.

I can really hire Northwest for $125 a year and I won’t get any additional fees tacked on?

Absolutely. In five minutes or less, you can sign up for our services online and get instant access to your account.

How do I change my registered agent in Wisconsin?

Change your Wisconsin registered agent on your annual report or by filing the change form with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: Division of Corporate and Consumer Services (DFI). You can also change your Wisconsin registered agent on the DFI website.

How do I search for a Wisconsin company’s registered agent?

  • You can do a Wisconsin business name search on the DFI website
  • Type in the company name you are trying to find.
  • Look at the WI registered agent name and registered office street address.

If you want to legally notify someone through their Wisconsin registered agent service, just send a certified letter directly to the registered agent name and registered office address.

Should I hire someone to help me form my Wisconsin LLC or corporation?

If you’re uncomfortable filing state forms, then maybe, but throughout our website you’ll find all the resources you need to help you form your Wisconsin business entity. For example, get specific help incorporating a Wisconsin corporation or organizing a Wisconsin LLC.

One reason why some new businesses hire registered agents to complete their filing is they’re concerned about having their home or business address listed on public record on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s website. If you hire an agent to do your filing, the agent’s address will be listed as your business’ contact—not yours. But if you aren’t worried about privacy, there are few advantages in having a professional form your business entity.

Keep in mind, if you hire us as your Wisconsin registered agent, you’ll get all the forms you need to create corporations and LLCs in any state in your online account. All forms are pre-populated with our information and you’ll find some helpful, professional tips to make starting your business easy.