The process of incorporating a company is simple. You can file articles of incorporation online in less than 10 minutes.
There are several options for filing articles of incorporation in Wisconsin. One way is to use a registered agent. Another is to file the documents directly with the Secretary of State’s office. And there are still others. In fact, there are over 30 different methods to incorporate a company in the state of Wisconsin.
A limited liability corporation (LLC) is a great choice if you want to limit your personal exposure to potential lawsuits. An LLC provides limited liability protection for owners, managers, employees, and shareholders. This protects you from being sued personally if something goes wrong with the business.
You don’t have to worry about paying taxes either. Corporations aren’t taxed like individuals; they pay corporate income tax based on profits earned.
If you’d rather keep your personal assets separate from your business, consider forming an S Corporation. With an S Corp., your personal assets remain completely separate from your business. If you decide to sell your business later, you’ll receive capital gains treatment on those assets.
Table of Contents
What Exactly Are Articles of Incorporation in Wisconsin?
The purpose of incorporating a corporation is to protect shareholders from personal liability. Shareholders are protected from personal liability because corporations are treated differently under the law than individuals. Corporations cannot sue or be sued, cannot commit crimes, and must pay taxes. They do not have free wills like people; rather, they act solely according to the laws passed by legislatures. When you incorporate, you become a legal entity separate from yourself. You don’t exist anymore—you’re now “the corporation.”
Wisconsin requires incorporators to file articles of incorporation within 30 days of forming the corporation. These articles are called the articles of incorporation. In addition to filing articles of incorporation, incorporators must complete several additional tasks.
Article 2: Name
An incorporated company must name itself in the articles of incorporation. This is done to provide clarity about what type of organization it is. For example, if you want to start a construction company, you might call it “Construction Company, LLC.” If you plan to open a restaurant, you might name it “Restaurant, LLC.”
Article 3: Address
Incorporated companies must designate an address where they will conduct most of their business. This address is usually the same as the registered agent’s address. An incorporated company does not have a physical address. Instead, it operates out of one location and conducts business throughout the state.
Instructions for Finishing Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation
To incorporate in Wisconsin, you must file the articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. If you do not know where to start, we recommend that you contact a qualified professional. You will need to provide your name, address, phone number, email address, occupation, and whether you want to register a corporation, limited liability company, or both. You will also need to provide information about yourself such as your social security number, date of birth, and driver’s license number.
The process takes approximately 10 minutes to complete online. After submitting the form, you will receive a confirmation email containing a link to download a PDF document showing your completed articles of incorporation. You will also receive a copy via mail.
If you choose to print out the forms, you will need to pay $4 per page plus tax. We suggest printing multiple copies of each page so that you can keep track of what needs to be done next.
For Domestic Entities
A domestic corporation in Wisconsin needs a registered agent. You must file a document called a Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office within 30 days of filing your articles of incorporation. This process costs $50.00.
Foreign corporations must file for a certificate of authority (ACertificate of Status) with the Department of Financial institutions before conducting business in Wisconsin. This includes companies incorporated outside of Wisconsin. If you are incorporated outside of Wisconsin, you will want to file an application for a Certificate of Authority with the DFI. Once you receive approval, you can use it to open a bank account, issue stock, collect payments, etc.
The process is simple and free. You simply need to complete an online form and pay $100.00 via check or credit card.
If you are incorporated outside of the United States, please contact us for additional information.
How to Register Your Business in Wisconsin
The process of obtaining a business name in Wisconsin is fairly simple. You must file an application with the Secretary of State’s office, pay a $25 fee, and wait for the approval. Once approved, you’ll receive a registration certificate allowing you to use the name. If you want to change your name, you’ll need to repeat the same steps.
To obtain a business name, you’ll need the following documents:
1. A completed business plan
2. Proof of incorporation
3. Application form
4. Fee payment
5. Certificate of Registration
Articles of Incorporation Optional Information
The Secretary of State is responsible for filing articles of incorporation for corporations formed under Delaware law. This includes filling out the optional information section on the application form. You must provide some basic information about yourself, such as your name, address, state of residence, date of birth, social security number, etc. However, it is perfectly acceptable to leave certain sections blank. For example, you do not need to list your occupation, nor do you need to specify whether you are applying for a domestic corporation or an international one.
If you want to use the online system, you must go to www.delaware.gov/corporations and follow the instructions. Otherwise, you can print off the form and mail it to the Secretary of State.
Include any supplemental forms
The IRS requires you to file a Schedule C form annually if you are running a small business. This includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, estates, and limited liability companies. You must report gross income, deductions, and losses. You must keep records of your work hours and expenses if you are self-employed.
If you run a business out of your home, you must include it on your tax return even though you aren’t technically working there. Your home office is considered part of your main place of business.
You can deduct certain costs associated with operating your business. These include rent, utilities, supplies, advertising, taxes, repairs, depreciation, insurance, and legal fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a Wisconsin LLC need an EIN
The answer is yes! A Wisconsin LLC does require an EIN. An EIN is a federal tax identification number issued by the IRS. Without an EIN, you cannot file taxes for your business. You may have heard people say they don’t need an EIN because their state doesn’t require it. That’s not true. All states require an EIN regardless if the state requires filing taxes.
How do I find out who owns an LLC in Wisconsin?
1. Go to www.dane.gov/corporations/llcs-search.asp
2. Enter the name of your business (LLC)
3. Click Search
4. You should now have a list of companies that own an LLC in Dane County
5. If you don’t get any results, try searching for your company’s state
6. If you still don’t get any results then contact the Secretary of State’s office at 1-866-233-0383
James Rourke is a business and legal writer. He has written extensively on subjects such as contract law, company law, and intellectual property. His work has been featured in publications such as The Times, The Guardian, and Forbes. When he’s not writing, James enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.