After you've completed the steps described above, your LLC is official. But before you open your doors for business, you need to obtain the licenses and permits that all new businesses must have to operate. These may include a business license (sometimes also referred to as a "tax registration certificate"), a federal employer identification number, a sellers' permit, or a zoning permit. For more on business licenses and permits, see the Licenses & Permits for Your Business area of Nolo's website.
Minimal Compliance Requirements LLCs are subject to limited state mandated annual filing requirements and ongoing formalities. While corporations are typically required to have at least an annual meeting of directors and shareholders (and initial meeting of the same), adopt bylaws, and keep minutes of all meetings and all formal corporate resolutions, an LLC is not required to do any of those things (see the explanation of an operating agreement, above). The LLC members may have whatever meetings they wish and may document any such things as they wish, however they are not required to do so.
Some businesses are prevented from forming an LLC, however. Typically financial companies such as banks, financial trust companies and insurance agencies can't file as an LLC. LLCs are sometimes limited for industries in certain states, too. For example, if you live in California, you can't form an LLC if you're an architect, accountant or licensed health care provider. Check out our LLC information by state for more details on your state.
Articles of organization are short, simple documents. In fact, you can usually prepare your own in just a few minutes by filling in the blanks and checking the boxes on a form provided by your state's filing office. Typically, you must provide only your LLC's name, its address, and sometimes the names of all of the owners -- called members. Generally, all of the LLC owners may prepare and sign the articles, or they can appoint just one person to do so.
Another important component when you are determining how to form an LLC is the creation of an LLC operating agreement. While operating agreements are not required under state law when forming an LLC and do not have to be filed with the state, they are very important documents to create because they help you and any other members of the LLC organize your business, plan for the future, and put all pertinent facts in writing.
A limited-liability company ("LLC") is commonly referred to as a "hybrid" business structure, meaning that it shares characteristics of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship. It allows its owners to insulate themselves from personal liability for business debts, does not require the payment of separate business taxes (the tax "passes through" to its owners), allows for a great deal of flexibility with regards to its organizational structure, and is subject to fewer regulations and restrictions than are other types of business structures. Establishing such a company in Wisconsin is a rather straightforward process.
The articles of organization also should include information about how your LLC will be managed. You need to indicate whether the members of the LLC will do hands-on management or if there will be hired management. Another requirement is to discuss how long the LLC will be in existence (there is no limit on this, so it is fine to say in perpetuity).
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
Indicate your LLC's initial registered agent and registered office. State law requires your LLC to have a registered agent and a registered office in Wisconsin on whom legal process can be served and to whom official documents can be sent. Your registered agent must be located at the registered office, which must be in Wisconsin and represent the physical business address of your registered agent.
Please do not place your social security number on filing or other documents you submit to the Secretary of State. Although we attempt to prevent disclosure of social security numbers, due to the large number of documents filed, we cannot guarantee that a social security number placed on a document will not be disclosed. It is the responsibility of the filer to ensure that a social security number is not contained on the filing.