In order to serve as your business' registered agent, your nominee must have a physical address (not just a PO box) in the state of Wisconsin and be available during normal business hours.
In addition to these qualifications, your registered agent must also be:
- a legal resident of Wisconsin, or
- an entity that’s authorized to conduct business in the state
While a business cannot serve as its own registered agent, it is permissible for a member of your LLC to assume this role. Most Wisconsin business owners choose to either act as their own registered agent or hire a professional service.
A registered agent service provides assistance in the following areas:
- Scanning, storing and processing legal documents on behalf of your LLC
- Providing compliance calendars and deadline reminders (for recurring filings such as annual reports and tax returns)
- Alerting you of documents in need of signatures
- Receiving service of process notices (in the event that your business is sued)
It's worth noting that registered agents will not typically handle any other mail on your business' behalf, although some professional services may do so for an additional fee.
Whether you'd like to appoint yourself, another member of the LLC, or a professional service to act as the business' registered agent, you'll be able to do so on the Articles of Organization. Take a look at what this process will entail below:
IF YOU FORM AN LLC ONLINE
To begin the online formation process, head to the electronic business registration page on the WI Department of Financial Institutions website. This online form will ask you to provide some essential information about your LLC, including the name and address of your registered agent.
IF YOU FORM AN LLC BY MAIL
To form your LLC by mail, simply download the Articles of Organization, fill out the required fields and submit a physical copy with the Department of Financial Institutions. Your registered agent’s name and address will be requested near the top of the form. See below:
There are several factors to consider when making this decision. Here we look at the pros and cons of hiring a registered agent service versus acting as your own registered agent.
- Privacy: Your registered agent’s address will be listed on the public record -- not your personal or office address. This is especially important to consider if your business operates out of your home.
- Convenience: If you choose to act as your own registered agent, you will need to be available to receive official notices during standard business hours at the address you provide. Hiring a professional registered agent allows you to keep a flexible schedule.
- Discretion: If your business is ever sued, your registered agent will notify you immediately and discreetly. No need to worry about getting served in front of your employees, or worse -- your customers.
- Peace of mind: A professional registered agent service will send you regular compliance reminders and notify you of any requirements needed to keep your Alabama LLC in good standing.
- Cost: Hiring a professional service is more expensive than acting as your own registered agent.
Best Value: Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest provides the most comprehensive registered agent services you can get for the price. There's no hidden fees, and no gimmicks. Plus, if you form your Wisconsin LLC using Northwest, they'll include a full year of registered agent services for free.
Northwest's online document management system and regular compliance alerts make working with them totally worry-free. They'll scan and upload all your essential legal documents and mail you physical copies as needed.
Registered Agent Service
$39 + State Fees
(Registered Agent: $125 after 1st year)
If you want to explore all your options, check out this article on the 7 Best Registered Agent Review written by our friends at Startup Savant.
Do I need to hire a registered agent service before I form my LLC?
Yes, unless you or someone in your company plans to serve as the registered agent. You will need to list the name and address of your registered agent on your Articles of Organization. Otherwise, your business registration documents will be rejected by the WI Secretary of State.
How do I change registered agents in Wisconsin?
To change registered agents, you must download a Registered Agent Change form and file a physical copy with the Department of Financial Institutions ($10 filing fee required).
Who is responsible for submitting my LLC’s annual report?
You, the LLC owner, are responsible for keeping up to date on all your LLC’s state filings. However, hiring a registered agent service greatly simplifies this process.
Once you’ve formed your LLC, the state will begin sending your registered agent requests for annual reports. Wisconsin’s reports are due each year by the end of the quarter in which the LLC was formed ($25 filing fee required).
If you choose to work with Northwest Registered Agent, they’ll send you reminders in advance of each deadline and ensure the reports are pre-filled with your business’ information.