How to Find the Best Registered Agent in Wisconsin
What is a registered agent?
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions explains that a registered agent is an individual or business entity that receives service of process and official correspondence as a representative for a company.
You’re required to appoint a registered agent in Wisconsin so that someone is physically available to accept legal notices and other important documents such as:
- Articles of Organization – the formation documents for Wisconsin LLCs
- Articles of Incorporation – documents submitted by corporations upon formation
- Annual report fee – due at the end of the quarter of the business formation anniversary month
- Certificate of Status– proof of good standing in Wisconsin
- Franchise tax – expected by the 15th day of the 4th month after the tax year ends
A registered agent is a physical street address
A registered agent must have a physical presence in Wisconsin to accept official documents from the Department of Financial Institutions.
Because they have a street address, you can list a registered agent’s address as the business address to keep your personal one out of the public record.
An agent is your point of contact in Wisconsin
A registered agent in Wisconsin accepts important correspondence from the Department of Financial Institutions that include time-sensitive legal documents such as subpoenas.
In Wisconsin, a business or individual only has ten days to respond to a legal summons.
When you choose to appoint a registered agent service, it ensures that you receive and respond to court summons in a timely manner to avoid default judgments and other monetary sanctions.
Your professional registered agent is the compliance calendar that you need
The annual report is due on or by the end of the quarter of your business formation anniversary month.
Even if you forget to pay the fee because of simple oversight, you can lose good standing in Wisconsin, which means you’ll also lose asset protection.
When you elect a professional registered agent service, you’re accessing a compliance calendar that allows a registered agent to send notifications when due dates approach and help you through the filing process.
Cost of a registered agent in Wisconsin
All registered agents in Wisconsin must be at least 18 years old and have a street address in the state.
The Wisconsin Dpeamrtnen of Financial Institutions allows you to appoint anyone that meets the registered agent requirements for no charge to your company, including:
- LLC member
A commercial registered agent service will cost a Wisconsin organization between $50 and $500.
When to appoint a registered agent
All business structures appoint a registered agent in Wisconsin when submitting the formation documents to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Limited liability companies (LLCs) use the Articles of Organization to provide the registered agent information.
A corporation lists the registered agent’s name and address on the Articles of Incorporation.
How does a Wisconsin LLC appoint a registered agent?
File the Articles of Organization
You will complete the Articles of Organization form and submit it to the Department of Financial Institutions by mail or in person.
State of Wisconsin
PO Box 93348
Milwaukee, WI 53293
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705
Or, you will use the Wisconsin OneStop business portal to file the Articles of Organization online.
Appoint your registered agent
Articles 2 through 4 of the Articles of Organization form will ask you to produce resident agent information that includes:
- registered agent name
- registered agent email address
- registered agent street address
Pay your Wisconsin
The cost to file Articles of Organization in Wisconsin is $130 if you file online and $170 by mail.
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions does offer expedited services for paper filings for an additional fee of $25.
The cost to file your LLC Articles of Organization in Wisconsin is $130 online, and $170 if you file by mail.
How to change your registered agent in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions requires that an organization officially notify them of any change to the appointed registered agent or of any registered agent address changes.
Submit the registered agent or registered office change form online
You will use the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website to list the new registered agent or registered office address online.
Submit the registered agent or registered office change form by mail
You can complete the registered agent or registered office change form and submit it to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions by mail.
The cost to switch registered agents in Wisconsin is $10.
Submit the change of agent or address using the annual report
If the change happens near the filing date for the annual fee, you can use the yearly report to update the registered agent information.
How to resign as a registered agent in Wisconsin
You will fill out the resignation of registered agent form and submit the completed copy to the Wisconsin Division of Corporate and Consumer Services.
The Department of Financial Institutions will send the company you’re resigning from notice of the withdrawal of consent.
The resignation of the registered agent form will ask you to provide specific information.
- business entity name
- state and country
- registered agent address
- the address of the company you’re resigning from
- date of resignation
- statement of resignation
The cost to resign as a registered agent in Wisconsin is $10.
Benefits of appointing a registered agent in Wisconsin
It helps keep you in compliance
A business in Wisconsin must be in good standing to maintain liability protection. If you miss the annual report fee due date, you become noncompliant and lose asset protection.
The professional registered agent service you appoint uses a compliance calendar to track important due dates, notify you immediately, and assist you in filing the correct paperwork and fees.
You choose the address listed in the Wisconsin business search
If you’re a small business owner in Wisconsin, you may work from a private office or home address. The choice to appoint yourself means that that personal address becomes public record.
Anyone can use the Wisconsin Business Search and search by business name or ID.
The appointment of an outside registered agent means you can use the service’s address as the business address in the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions database.
You get the benefit of discretion
In Wisconsin, a process server does not have to notify you before they attempt to contact you in your place of business.
When you hire a registered agent, the service will accept the sensitive documents away from the office, giving you peace of mind.
It allows you to create a flexible work schedule
According to Wisconsin Legislature: 181.0403, registered agents must make themselves available during normal business hours to accept official documents from the Department of Financial Institutions, law firms, and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR).
The registered agent you appoint must be available during those hours, which includes if you select yourself.
Professional registered agent services have an agent available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, to accept documents on your company’s behalf.
Your Certificate of Status is always available
Banks and financial institutions in Wisconsin will ask you to prove the Certificate of Status before allowing you to open business bank accounts.
When you elect to go with a professional registered agent service, you gain online access to the Certificate of Status and other formation documents to make doing business more convenient.
LLC expansion into other states is easy
Expanding an LLC into different states means you must appoint a registered agent before the formation process can begin.
You can begin the foreign LLC formation process quickly when a registered agent is appointed.
Where do I list myself as a Wisconsin registered agent?
The registered agent’s name and address will go on the formation document regardless of who you appoint. If you own an LLC, you will list yourself as your own registered agent using the Articles of Organization.
Is a Wisconsin registered agent liable?
A registered agent in Wisconsin is liable for any wrongdoings by an organization. And, an agent isn’t brought into a lawsuit by accepting legal documents.
Who can be a Wisconsin registered agent and an LLC Member?
The only registered agent that can’t be a member of an LLC is a professional registered agent service.
Are there business entities not required to appoint a statutory agent in Wisconsin?
While some states allow exemptions, Wisconsin requires that all businesses, regardless of structure, appoint a registered agent with a physical street address.
Can I use my registered agent’s address on everything on my LLC filing?
You can use the registered office address for all business registration in the state of Wisconsin. You can’t use the registered agent office address when you apply for an employee identification number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
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