For businesses in industries like construction or real estate, where unforeseen circumstances and hazardous conditions may hold the owner responsible, consider starting an LLC. The protection gained means you will not be held personally liable, protecting you and your family from litigation or the debts of the business. An LLC may not be the best choice for business owners who plan on raising capital through outside investment. LLCs are not public structures and do not have shareholders, so taking a company public is not an option either. However, in the event that you'd like to take your business public you may switch to a public legal structure, like a C corporation, later on.
The first step in forming an LLC is to file your company’s Articles of Incorporation with the state in which you are looking to establish your business. Once this has been completed, it is recommended that you take the time to develop a formal set of documents that will explicitly outline the ownership and management structure of the business, as well as establish your initial bank accounts.
A limited-liability company ("LLC") is commonly referred to as a "hybrid" business structure, meaning that it shares characteristics of both a corporation and a sole proprietorship. It allows its owners to insulate themselves from personal liability for business debts, does not require the payment of separate business taxes (the tax "passes through" to its owners), allows for a great deal of flexibility with regards to its organizational structure, and is subject to fewer regulations and restrictions than are other types of business structures. Establishing such a company in Wisconsin is a rather straightforward process.
Where the equipment you use in your business was acquired as a gift, you may report your estimate of its current market value on the Business Property Statement (that is, what you think it would sell for in the open market place). Enter that estimated value in the most current year's cost line and add a note indicating that the entry is an estimate.