How to find a registered agent in Wisconsin

Wisconsin registered agent requirements

Being your own registered agent

If you want to be a registered agent yourself or if you want to hire another individual to take on this role for your company, you or they will need to meet the following guidelines:

  • Accept the role of registered agent for your business
  • Be over the age of 18
  • Be a Wisconsin resident
  • Have a physical address in Wisconsin (no P.O. box addresses will be accepted)
  • Be at this Wisconsin address throughout the day, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours from 9am to 5pm

Hiring a registered agent service

Bigger registered agent companies need to meet the following requirements:

  • Accept the role of registered agent for your business
  • Be registered as a business in Wisconsin
  • Have a physical address in Wisconsin (no P.O. box addresses will be accepted)
  • Be at this Wisconsin address throughout the day, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours from 9am to 5pm

Recommended registered agent services

Northwest Registered Agent will scan all documents you receive for your business so that you can easily see them in your online account. There, you’ll have unlimited cloud storage as well as strong business data protection, and help from their friendly customer service staff when you need it. A yearly subscription for their registered agent services costs $125.

See the full Northwest review here.

ZenBusiness is one of the most popular registered agent services, and many say they’re the best. They can help you with the process of LLC formation while also becoming your registered agent, and the total fee is just $99 per year — a great price. ZenBusiness is known for its competitive pricing, excellent customer service, and easy-to-understand plans.

See the full ZenBusiness review here.

Incfile will include their registered agent services free for the first year when you purchase their LLC formation services. After that, you’ll pay $119 per year to keep them on as your registered agent. With Incfile, you can instantly see and access your business’s important documents and legal notices by using their convenient dashboard. So that you know instantly when your business receives new mail, you’ll also receive a direct SMS notification and an immediate email.

See the full Incfile review here.

Why you need a registered agent

According to Wisconsin State law, all limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations must choose a registered agent during the formation process. The job of a registered agent (also known as a resident agent or statutory agent) may appear simple, but it is also critical to the operation of your business.

Registered agents are tasked with accepting important mail and legal documents that are sent to your business from the state, the court, or other business entities in Wisconsin.

Let’s say your small business was being sued. Service of process would then take place, which would involve court documents being served to your company. By law, these documents would be sent to the registered agent address you have on file. The reason registered agents are so important is that they handle important documents like these. The state may contact you via your registered agent as well.

Registered agents in Wisconsin may be registered agent companies that specialize in these services, or they can be single individuals such as yourself, your spouse, or someone else.

We will go over the requirements for registered agents below. What’s important to remember now is that all businesses in Wisconsin need to have one, and it’s important to understand the role of this position as you go about choosing one.

When you need a registered agent

You will choose your company’s registered agent when filling out your Articles of Organization (also known as Articles of Incorporation). In particular, you’ll need to include who your registered agent will be and their registered office address.

Your Articles will also need to include other critical information, such as information about your chosen Board of Directors and, of course, what your new business name will be. In fact, choosing your business name is usually the first step in the incorporation process and when filling out your formation documents.

Be sure to follow the guidelines required by the State of Wisconsin when choosing your business name. You’ll need to conduct a business entity search to make sure you’ve selected a unique business name that no one else has. Your name must also not mislead the public in any way or resemble another business’s name so much that it causes confusion.

Why use a registered agent service

When forming an LLC, many businesses decide to choose a registered agent service over being their own registered agent. Here are the primary reasons why.

More privacy and discretion

It’s better to have a registered agent company as your registered agent address because it relieves you from using your own home address. While it may not seem like that big of a deal to use your home address, what many people don’t know is that registered agent addresses must be on public record.

If, then, you act as your own registered agent, all it would take for someone to find out where you live would be for them to look up your business with the Secretary of State.

Of course, this also means that if your business was ever served with court documents, the paperwork would be sent to your home because that would be your point of contact for the courts.

More time to work on your business

All Wisconsin registered agents are required to be at their registered agent addresses from roughly 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday (regular business hours). This is so that they are always present at a dependable address in the event that the state needs to get in touch with them.

Registered agent services can do this easily as they act as the registered agent for numerous businesses. Naturally, these companies employ workers to be present during business hours on their clients’ behalf. However, if you decide to be your own registered agent, this requirement would mean that you’d need to be limited to a single physical location during all major business hours of the week. You would not be available for other responsibilities related to your business.

Therefore, allowing a professional registered agent company to take on registered agent services for you gives you back your time.

Immediate notifications and better organization

Lastly, there’s never a need to worry about a time delay when it comes to important documents that are sent to your registered agent service.

A high-quality registered agent company will have your important documents forwarded to you on the same day they are received in many cases. They can do this by creating an online account for you and immediately scanning any documents your business receives.

Having these scanned documents all in one place can also help you stay organized. In fact, registered agent companies help LLCs and corporations stay better organized, which, in turn, can help them remain in good standing with the state.

Your registered agent company can help you stay on track with Annual Report due dates, tax filing deadlines, and other business filings.

Wisconsin registered agent costs

If you choose to hire a registered agent in Wisconsin, plan to pay between $50 and $300 per year for their services. Being your own registered agent in Wisconsin does not require any costs, but some business owners may choose to give themselves or their chosen registered agent a salary or wages for their services.

It’s also worth noting that many registered agent companies offer additional business filing services. They may even provide their registered agent services for free for the first year if you incorporate with their business. This is a good deal for entrepreneurs and new businesses that are just getting off the ground.

How to change your Wisconsin registered agent

Any Wisconsin LLC or corporation that would like to change their registered agent with the state can do so by following the steps below.

  • Start by finding your new registered agent. It’s common for businesses that started off with an individual registered agent to switch to a registered agent company after a few years. The latter provides more services and frees up your time and energy.

  • Once you’ve found a new registered agent, be sure to let your old (current) registered agent know that you will be switching. You will want to get copies of any business documents they may still have in their possession before leaving.

  • Head to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate and Consumer Services, Corporate Section, and get a Change of Registered Agent form.

  • Fill out the Change of Registered Agent form in its entirety, being sure to include your new registered agent’s address and contact information.

  • Pay the filing fee. This can usually be paid by credit card.

Note: Many registered agent service companies will pay the filing fee on your behalf and perform the change of registered agent filing for you as well. This is usually the case when you switch to them for the first time. This isn’t a service offered by all registered agent companies, however, so be sure to inquire as you shop around.

List of forms

Incorporating your business in Wisconsin and choosing a registered agent can be a complicated process. Here are some government links and helpful forms that may make the process easier.

FAQs

Who can be a registered agent in Wisconsin?

Any individual that is 18 or older and has a physical street address in Wisconsin (not a P.O. box) can be a registered agent. You also must be a Wisconsin resident.

What happens if you don’t have a registered agent in Wisconsin?

All Wisconsin LLCs and corporations need to have a registered agent. It is a requirement when forming your business in the state.

Why is a registered agent required?

The State of Wisconsin requires that all businesses have a registered agent so that they can receive important notices from the government, including service of process and other demands and correspondence.

Why might you need to change a registered agent in Wisconsin?

Many LLCs and corporations in Wisconsin need to change their registered agent because they are going from an individual agent to a registered agent service or because they are expanding their business into other states.

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