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After you start a Wisconsin LLC, there are two main types of ongoing filings. The first is the Annual Report with the state, and the other is taxes.
Paying taxes is an important part of running a business, but figuring out which taxes you need to pay can be a pain.
This lesson will provide you with general resources and the basics of Wisconsin LLC tax filing requirements.
What taxes does a Limited Liability Company pay in Wisconsin?
Each LLC has a different tax situation, so the taxes paid for a Wisconsin LLC varies.
The amount of taxes owed for your LLC depends on rules like:
- how your LLC is taxed
- state and local tax rules
- any sales and use tax requirements, or
- whether you have employees
Additionally, some business types are required to register for industry-specific taxes.
Pro Tip: We recommend hiring an accountant to ensure your LLC meets all of its tax obligations.
We also recommend getting an EIN Number for your LLC. An EIN is also called a Federal Tax Identification Number. They mean the same thing.
Not only will an EIN number be used to open an LLC bank account, but it will also be used for filing taxes with the local, state, and federal governments.
LLC pass-through taxation (Who pays the taxes?)
By default, LLCs don’t pay taxes.
Instead, the LLC Members are responsible for reporting the income (or losses) on their personal 1040 tax return. The Members pay taxes on any LLC profits. This is because of LLC pass-through taxation.
Simply put, pass-through taxation means the responsibility for reporting tax information from an LLC “passes through” the LLC to the LLC Members.
How are LLCs taxed in Wisconsin?
By default, a Wisconsin LLC is taxed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) based on the number of Members the LLC has. Then the Wisconsin Department of Revenue honors this and taxes your LLC the same way at the state level.
An LLC with 1 owner (Single-Member LLC) is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
An LLC with 2 or more owners (Multi-Member LLC) is taxed like a Partnership.
The above are referred to as the “default status“. Meaning, they are automatically applied based on the number of LLC Members.
Alternatively, you have the option of requesting an “elective status” for your LLC. This is done by filing an extra form with the IRS. Once granted, this elective status means the IRS will treat your LLC as a Corporation (either an S-Corporation or C-Corporation) for tax purposes.
Note: Your Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement should also include information about how your LLC is taxed.
Federal Income Taxes
There are several different options for how the IRS can treat your LLC for tax purposes.
Single-Member LLC taxes (default status)
The IRS treats all Single-Member LLCs as Disregarded Entities for tax purposes. This just means that the IRS doesn’t expect the LLC to file its own federal income tax return.
Instead, the owner of the Single-Member LLC files the return (and pays the federal income taxes).
How the LLC pays federal income tax is determined by who owns the LLC:
- If the LLC is owned by an individual, the LLC is taxed like a Sole Proprietorship.
- If the LLC is owned by another company, the LLC is taxed as a branch/division of the parent company.
Multi-Member LLC taxes (default status)
If an LLC has two or more owners, the LLC is taxed like a Partnership.
The LLC needs to file a 1065 Partnership Return and issue a Schedule K-1 to the LLC owners.
The K-1s report each owner’s distributive share of profits. And the K-1 income “flows through” to the owners. The income taxes are then paid by each owner on their personal income tax return (Form 1040).
Husband and Wife LLC taxes
In community property states like Wisconsin, a husband and wife LLC has the option to file taxes as a Single-Member LLC (aka Qualified Joint Venture) instead of a Multi-Member LLC.
On your EIN Application, you can choose to have your husband and wife Wisconsin LLC taxed as a Qualified Joint Venture. If you already have an EIN for your LLC, you can send a letter to the IRS requesting that your LLC be taxed as a Qualified Joint Venture.
Otherwise, a husband and wife Wisconsin LLC will be taxed in the default status as a Partnership.
Electing to have your LLC taxed as a Corporation
Instead of the default statuses above, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be taxed like a Corporation.
Note: We recommend speaking with an accountant before making a corporate election.
There are two types of corporate elections:
LLC taxed as an S-Corporation (elective status)
By filing Form 2553 with the IRS, your LLC can request to be taxed like an S-Corporation.
Being taxed as an S-Corp can help businesses (with established profits) save money on self-employment taxes.
Tip: There are additional expenses to having your LLC taxed as an S-Corporation Most new business owners shouldn’t make this tax election until their business is established and revenue is consistent. Once there is at least $70,000 in annual net income per LLC Member, we recommend speaking to your accountant about this option.
LLC taxed as an C-Corporation (elective status)
By filing Form 8832 with the IRS, your LLC can request to be taxed like a C-Corporation.
Being taxed as a C-Corp can help large employers save money on healthcare fringe benefits.
Note: This election is not common. Most of our readers don’t choose to have their LLC taxed as a C-Corporation.
Wisconsin State Income Tax for Wisconsin LLCs
Single-Member LLCs in Wisconsin: The LLC itself usually doesn’t file a state-level return. However, the owner files a personal state-level return that includes the LLC’s profits or losses.
Multi-Member LLCs in Wisconsin: The LLC itself may need to file a Partnership return at the state-level. And the owners file a personal state-level return that include the LLC’s profits or losses.
There are other types of Wisconsin business tax that apply to certain industries and types of businesses.
We recommend hiring an accountant to prepare and file your state income taxes.
You can also contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for more information about Wisconsin state taxes.
Local Income Tax for Wisconsin LLCs
You and/or your LLC may need to file and pay income taxes with your local municipality (town, city, county, etc.).
We recommend hiring an accountant to prepare and file your local income taxes.
You can also contact your municipality to check on their requirements.
Wisconsin Sales Tax
If you sell products to consumers in Wisconsin, you may need to collect sales tax and get a Seller’s Permit. You can get a Seller’s Permit from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR).
A Seller’s Permit is the license that allows you to collect sales tax on retail sales in the state where you do business. It’s sometimes also called a:
- resale license
- wholesale license
- sales tax permit/license
- reseller permit
They all mean the same thing and we may use these terms interchangeably.
You can read more information about Wisconsin sales tax from these Wisconsin DOR resources:
- What Permits Does My Business Need?
- Wisconsin DOR: Use Tax Fact Sheet
- Wisconsin DOR: Sales and Use Tax FAQs
For more information on permits, read Wisconsin Business Licenses and Permits.
And if you have any questions about whether you need a Seller’s Permit, you can contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at 608-266-2776.
Tip: Save time by hiring an expert. We recommend using TaxJar. They'll help you register for, collect, and pay sales tax.
Wisconsin LLC Taxes FAQs
Do I have to pay an annual fee for my LLC in Wisconsin?
Yes, all Wisconsin LLCs have to pay an annual fee by filing a Wisconsin LLC Annual Report every year. This is separate from the federal, state, and local taxes that you pay.
The LLC Annual Report is filed with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. It is not a tax paid to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
The Annual Report for Wisconsin LLCs costs $25 per year. This is paid every year for the life of your LLC.
How much is an LLC in Wisconsin?
$170 to form your Wisconsin LLC (to file your LLC Articles of Organization).
$25 in annual fees (to file your LLC Annual Report) for a Wisconsin LLC.
Do I need to file a Wisconsin state tax return for my LLC?
Maybe – it depends on what type of LLC you have.
Single-Member LLC taxed as a Sole Proprietorship: No. You only need to file your personal tax return (Federal Form 1040 and Wisconsin Form 1) and include your LLC profits on the return.
Multi-Member LLC taxed as a Partnership: Yes. Your LLC must file a IRS Form 1065 and a Wisconsin Partnership Return (Form 3).
LLC taxed as a Corporation: Yes. Your LLC must file tax returns with the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to pay your Wisconsin income tax. Check with your accountant to make sure you file all the correct documents.
How do I know my LLC tax classification?
You can tell your LLC’s tax classification by looking at how many Members are in your LLC.
This is because LLCs receive their tax classification from the IRS based on the number of Members (owners) your LLC has.
If you have one Member, your LLC is taxed as a Sole Proprietorship.
If your LLC has more than one Member, your LLC is taxed as a Partnership.
This is called being taxed as your default status. Meaning, you don’t have to file any paperwork to let the IRS know that’s how your LLC will be taxed because they tax LLCs that way by default.
However, in order for your LLC to be taxed as a Corporation, you or your accountant would have to file paperwork with the IRS letting them know you’ve chosen to be taxed as a Corporation.
And then the IRS would have mailed you an Approval Letter to confirm you’ve chosen the Corporate tax election for your LLC.
Note: Being taxed as a Corporation is rare for LLCs, so most people don’t need to worry about this.
And if you’re still unsure about how your LLC is taxed, we recommend calling your accountant or the IRS (1-800-829-4933). To speak to a live person at the IRS, press option 1, option 1 again, and then option 3.
Do I need to pay more taxes if my LLC has employees?
If your LLC has employees, you can find more information on unemployment and workers’ compensation taxes from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Withholding Tax.
How to start an LLC in Wisconsin?
Here are the steps to starting an LLC in Wisconsin:
- Choose an LLC name and make sure it’s available
- Choose who will be your Wisconsin Registered Agent
- File the Wisconsin LLC Articles of Organization
- Complete and sign an LLC Operating Agreement
- Get a Tax ID Number (EIN) from the IRS
- Open an LLC bank account
- Check whether you need a business or sales tax license in Wisconsin
Wisconsin DFI: Fees
Wisconsin DOR: Income Taxes
Wisconsin DOR: Business Taxes
Wisconsin DOR: Sales and Use Tax
Wisconsin DOR: Sales and Use Tax FAQs
Wisconsin DOR: Partnership Taxes FAQs
WISCONSIN LLC GUIDE
Follow the lessons below to form your Wisconsin LLC.