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.[1] Establishing such a company in Wisconsin is a rather straightforward process.
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In the United States, a limited liability company is a business entity type that combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation, creating the best of both worlds for business owners. LLCs have rapidly become one of the most popular business structures for new and small businesses, largely because they are considered to be simpler and more flexible than a corporation.
Check to see if your chosen name is available. Before you submit the Articles of Organization, you should check to see if your chosen name is available/acceptable under state law. You can do this by conducting an online search for business names that are already registered with the Department of Financial Institutions using the database provided.[4]
File with the appropriate federal, state, and local governmental agencies. Depending on the business purpose of your LLC and the jurisdiction in which you organize, you may have to file additional forms relating to LLCs with certain governmental agencies. Each industry is regulated differently—as is each local jurisdiction—and so it is best to ask an attorney or accountant for assistance in this matter.
Check to see if your chosen name is available. Before you submit the Articles of Organization, you should check to see if your chosen name is available/acceptable under state law. You can do this by conducting an online search for business names that are already registered with the Department of Financial Institutions using the database provided.[4]
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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.
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.
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.
Versatile Tax Status One of the most advantageous aspects of the LLC is that it has the ability to choose how it is treated as a taxable entity. According to the IRS an LLC is, by default, federally taxed as a partnership (in the case of a multi-member LLC) or as a sole proprietor (in the case of a single member LLC). The LLC, however, may elect to be taxed as a C- or S-corporation at any time the members so choose.
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.
File with the appropriate federal, state, and local governmental agencies. Depending on the business purpose of your LLC and the jurisdiction in which you organize, you may have to file additional forms relating to LLCs with certain governmental agencies. Each industry is regulated differently—as is each local jurisdiction—and so it is best to ask an attorney or accountant for assistance in this matter.

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.
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