- What Is a Wisconsin Registered Agent
- Why Businesses Need a Wisconsin Registered Agent
- What To Look for When Choosing a Wisconsin Registered Agent
- How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
- What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Wisconsin?
If you’re interested in starting a business in Wisconsin, then you will need a registered agent. A registered agent acts as a point of communication between your business and the state of Wisconsin.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about registered agents. You’ll learn about what they are and what they do, why you need one, as well as what to consider when choosing a registered agent. We’ll also give you our recommendations for registered agent services in Wisconsin.
What Is a Wisconsin Registered Agent
A registered agent receives communication and notices (including service of process) from the state on behalf of a business. They will then share this communication with the appropriate business contact. Some other names for registered agents include resident agents and statutory agents.
The state of Wisconsin requires, by law, all formal businesses to have a registered agent. In Wisconsin, a registered agent is elected upon the formation of a business. The registered agent provides a single, specific point of contact to prevent confusion and keep businesses accountable for filing annual reports by their due date.
What Are the Requirements To Be a Registered Agent in Wisconsin?
The requirements to be a registered agent in Wisconsin are not strict at all. All you need is to be 18 or older, maintain a physical address within the state, and keep regular business hours.
If these three things apply to you, then you can be the registered agent for your company if you want to. You could also have a spouse, business partner, friend, or employee act as a registered agent. Of course, there are a number of reasons why many businesses prefer to hire registered agent services instead, and we’ll get to those next.
Why Businesses Need a Wisconsin Registered Agent
As we mentioned, Wisconsin law requires all formal businesses to have a registered agent. However, there are other reasons why it is beneficial to have one. In this section, we’ll talk about how registered agents can help you and your business and why hiring one may be preferable to being one yourself.
Every year, the state of Wisconsin requires businesses to file certain documents. The most common are annual reports. Businesses are given a deadline by which they must file, and if they are late, they can lose their good standing with the state.
This should be avoided at all costs as a company with bad standing may lose benefits such as limited liability protection. Similarly, businesses can get into trouble and may face fees if they don’t respond to service of process on time.
Registered agents help businesses meet deadlines by keeping track of them via compliance calendars. Agents will also send reminders so that companies don’t miss any due dates.
A registered agent’s address is public record, and anyone can find it on the Wisconsin Business Search. Whether you simply want privacy or just want to avoid junk mailing lists, this is one reason that some business owners prefer to hire registered agents.
There’s also something to be said for discretion. While you can use the address of your business’s building, this means that employees may be around to witness certain notifications you receive, such as service of process. Should you find your business at the end of a lawsuit, it may lower the morale of your workers and be embarrassing for you.
Employing a registered agent service allows the service to discreetly receive this legal correspondence and forward it to you at a convenient time.
It’s no secret that the internet is taking over. There have long been articles discussing whether or not the rise of the internet will cause brick and mortar establishments to go out of business, perhaps even for good.
In the USA, 85% of households reported having an internet subscription in 2018. It’s now easy for businesses to operate completely online.
If this is the case for your business, then you may not have an address to use as a registered agent aside from your personal address. If you don’t wish for your personal address to be easily accessible, then hiring a registered agent rather than acting as your own may be the best option.
Irregular Business Hours
One of the requirements for registered agents is to keep regular business hours so that they will be available at predictable times to receive communication and notices from the state. Of course, following a nine-to-five schedule isn’t realistic for everyone. If you work irregular hours, then you won’t be able to be the registered agent for your company and will likely have to hire one.
Registered agents often receive communication in the form of mail and paper documents. This means that part of their job is to keep these documents organized. Most registered agents will immediately scan and upload documents onto a server so that they are easily accessible.
Even if you work regular business hours, keeping track of correspondence from the state can be a hassle. You may be too busy to organize documents immediately. A hired registered agent is likely only focused on registered agent work and thus can manage and organize paperwork much more efficiently.
Locations in Different States
If your business is operating in more than one state or you’d like to expand your business in the future, then you will need to hire registered agents. You must have a registered agent in each state your business is active in. While you could certainly cover the registered agent duties in your own state should you choose to, you’ll still need agents in other states.
What To Look for When Choosing a Wisconsin Registered Agent
If you’ve decided to hire a registered agent, then you’ll have many options to choose from. There are a number of companies that provide registered agent services. The question is, how do you figure out which one is best suited to your needs? We suggest considering three factors: price, services provided, and time saved.
This one is probably obvious, but you need to think about the cost of registered agent services. Though they aren’t that expensive, some registered agents charge more than others. You need to set a budget as well as determine if paying extra is worth it.
One of the reasons you may pay more for a registered agent is because they provide more than just basic services. Basic services include accepting documents on your business’s behalf and forwarding them to you, maintaining a physical address, along with keeping normal business hours.
Most registered agents will also scan and upload documents to a server and send reminders of deadlines. But some registered agents offer extras. For instance, they may be willing to receive and organize a limited number of regular business mail as well.
Some registered agent services may also offer help hotlines that answer business-related questions. This can be great for first-time business owners.
Nothing is more valuable than time. This is exactly why many businesses prefer to hire registered agents. The services they provide save time. You should look carefully at the services offered and consider which will save you the most time. That will give you a better idea of which registered agent service you should hire.
How Much Do Registered Agents Cost?
Registered agents are, luckily, quite affordable. They typically cost between $50 and $300 per year. Of course, being your own registered agent is free.
Should you choose to hire a registered agent, be aware that they don’t always offer free filing for annual reports. It’s not uncommon for them to charge a fee. Of course, any fees will be made clear before you hire them. Typically, registered agents charge more to help corporations file annual reports than they do for smaller LLCs.
What’s the Best Registered Agent Service in Wisconsin?
If you’re looking for a registered agent in Wisconsin, try ZenBusiness. ZenBusiness’s registered agent service costs only $99 per year, and the company is upfront about all of the features you will receive as well as any potential charges.
ZenBusiness also has a Worry-Free Compliance service that ensures you don’t miss any deadlines for annual reports required by the state of Wisconsin. You will receive alerts and updates to keep you on track. Should you somehow miss a deadline, you’ll be provided with the support you need to get your business back in good standing with the state.
ZenBusiness is one of the best options for registered agents, but if you’re looking to compare services, we’ve got your back. Check out our article comparing all of the best registered agent services.