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Most adults dream about starting their own business at some point in their lives. If you feel like you’re finally ready to put an idea into action in Wisconsin, it may be intimidating to start the paperwork. Do you need to incorporate? Are you required to get a tax number? Where do you even find the necessary documents to register your name in Wisconsin? What the heck are Articles of Organization?

Whether you’re opening an internet café, a clothing boutique, or a watch repair shop, there are steps you’ll need to follow to make everything official in the Badger State. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know enough about registered agents, Taxpayer Identification Numbers, annual reports, and operating agreements to form a limited liability company (LLC) in Wisconsin.

What is a Wisconsin registered agent?

Several of the required forms you’ll be filling out for the State of Wisconsin will ask you to provide basic information about the registered agent you’ve chosen. The job of the registered agent—which you may also see referred to as an “agent for service of process”—will be twofold: to commit to being available during business hours to accept important paperwork on behalf of your LLC and, in some cases, to process that paperwork and notify you.

Read more:  What is a registered agent?

How does an owner select a registered agent in Wisconsin?

Choose a few registered agents and then research their rates and services. Once you settle on one and sign up for their service, provide the information on forms where indicated.

Who can be a registered agent in Wisconsin? 

There is a standard set of rules across the United States defining who can be a registered agent. These same criteria apply in Wisconsin:

  • If the person is an individual, they must be 18 years old or older.
  • Whether a person or business entity, the registered agent must have a street address (home, business or office) in Wisconsin in order to accept document deliveries in person. Post office boxes cannot be used in place of a street address.
  • Availability to accept paperwork during regular business hours is required.

Can I be my own registered agent in Wisconsin?

Although you can serve as your own registered agent in Wisconsin, it’s important you understand the pros and cons before committing to doing it yourself.

Why would a company choose to work with a registered agent service? 

When start-up funds are tight, it’s hard to justify spending money on a service you can do yourself. But before you commit to serving as your own registered agent, take a moment to read through the benefits of outsourcing the job:

  • Local options. Since Wisconsin registered agents need to have a street address in the state, you won’t be able to fulfill your requirements if you don’t yet have a residence, business, or office space. On the other hand, commercial registered agents can provide you with a street address to which you can have documents delivered.
  • Availability. You’re not promised a 15-minute window for every delivery of paperwork. Knowing this, will you have the availability to stay in one place to await the knock on the door during regular work hours, five days a week? Not likely. New ventures typically require entrepreneurs to interview and train employees, attend meetings with investors or prospective vendors, or oversee the work of contractors. Using a commercial agent will free up time for you to handle other essential tasks.
  • Privacy. Are you aware that it’s often uniformed law enforcement who is tasked with delivering legal paperwork? It’s worth noting that when law enforcement shows up at your house, office, or business, there’s a chance that someone will witness their arrival. This could translate to customers, employees, or neighbors getting the wrong idea. Using a commercial registered agent can help ensure privacy.
  • Experience. You might consider yourself to be business-savvy, but are you up to speed on Wisconsin’s state and federal guidelines and compliance regulations? Commercial registered agents specialize in such matters and can fill out paperwork on your behalf.
  • Time savings. Let’s say you DO have the experience to handle all your own filings. Do you have the time? Registered agents won’t require a big financial investment and letting them handle some of your paperwork will clear some time from your schedule.

Read more:  Best Registered Agent Services

How much does a registered agent service cost in Wisconsin?

Most registered agents in Wisconsin charge $49 to $125 for one year of services.

List of Wisconsin registered agent services 

Now that you’ve reviewed the benefits of using a commercial agent, are you ready to outsource the work? Here are some options in Wisconsin:

  • ZenBusiness is fairly new to the market, but it’s grown a strong following. Business owners love the affordable rates for a registered agent service, which are as low as $99 per year. The company also offers worry-free compliance to help business owners file the necessary reports on time.
  • Northwest Registered Agent is one of the most recognized names in the registered agent business. The company has decades of experience and local offices scattered across the U.S. to serve small businesses like yours. The cost for a registered agent service is comparable to others. Business owners can also take advantage of additional services like report filing.
  • Harbor Compliance is a great fit for organizations that register in multiple states and for those who don’t want to pay excessive service fees. With their network and electronic document delivery, they help ensure your business never misses a legal notification.

Wisconsin registered agent FAQs

Do I really need a registered agent in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin, just like other states where you might do business, requires LLCs to list a registered agent on some paperwork.

Can a company change its registered agent?

To change your registered agent, file a change form on the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s website and pay the $10 filing fee.

What’s a statutory agent?

A statutory agent or an agent for service of process is the same as a registered agent. The name can vary by state.

What’s a commercial registered agent?

A commercial registered agent is someone you’re paying for their service. If you act as your own registered agent, choose “non-commercial.”