Starting a Corporation or Limited Liability Company In Wisconsin and receiving a federal employer identification number isn't very difficult if you know where to find the forms and state information.
I provide so many people with links to the various website portals that I decided to create a post that people can easily use to get their business started as a corporation or limited liability company LLC.
The first step is figuring out what type of entity is right for your business. I believe a separate entity (corporation or LLC) is the right choice for most, but not all businesses. If your expected profits are small and/or you want to pay into social security, often a sole proprietorship is the best choice. As a sole proprietorship, your accounting is easier and you may be able to save money by doing your taxes on your own. You really need to talk to a professional if you're not familiar with the many nuances of various business structures available though.
Currently, as of the date of this post the fees to start a corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, and nonstock corporation are as follows (highly subject to change, and especially so as this post ages – although I will attempt to keep it updated):
Business Corporation $100
Limited Liability Company $130
Limited Partnership $70
Limited Liability Partnership $100
Nonstock Corporation $35
The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is the state department that facilitates new and existing companies and has a PDF schedule of fees and you can find it by CLICKING HERE.
Before filing for a company, be sure to perform a name check to ensure the name you want is available and is one that won't be easily confused with another company that may be in bad standing. You can check on your name by CLICKING HERE.
To get a form or to file for a corporation, limited liability company, and or partnership CLICK HERE. If you file online, you should have your newly minted company in hand within a few days unless there's a problem, but for most, well under five days (the maximium the state is allowed at the time of this post).
Your next step is to receive the equivalent of a "social security" number for your new business, called a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Even if you don't want to hire employees, you will want an EIN because you will need it for so many things including banking and taxes. You can get an EIN by CLICKING HERE.
Your next step with your brand new LLC, LLP, or corporation is the accounting. If you're not using an accountant, which I recommend for any new business owners, is to setup an accounting system. 1 Reason can recommend bookkeepers for you if you don't have one in mind. If you want an online accounting solution that is free and easy to get started with, Wave online accounting is a great place to do-it-yourself.
Have questions? Give us a call and we'll try our best to provide strategies to help you figure out what solutions are available and the pros and cons of each.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that simply starting a LLC, LLP, and/or corporation doesn't mean you're forever out of the woods when it comes to personal liability. A common mistake that many make is not treating the other entity as the separate entity it's supposed to be. If you co-mingle funds and assets, you can jeopardize the integrity of the liability wall you tried to create to begin with. A term no limited liability entity owner ever wants to hear is "piercing the corporate veil". Piercing the corporate veil is a term used to describe the process an attorney uses to get at personal assets because there's no legal difference between an owner and the limited liability entity created. Co-mingling funds is one of the most common ways to lose your valuable and expensive protection, so don't do it. Seek professional advise because a few dimes today may save you dollars later.