In Wisconsin, there are more than 452,000 small business owners and, as one of them, you know how much you have on your plate. Product ideation, development, roll-out, dealing with customers, and hiring and paying employees. And then there’s the paperwork.
It’s important to have a good grasp of the rules and regulations when you file your annual report. In Wisconsin, failure to file this report can cause the state to dissolve your business’s legal entity structure. Most business entities in Wisconsin must file, including corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs). Here’s your guide to filing a Wisconsin annual report.
Business entities in Wisconsin are required to file an annual report. This mandatory filing provides important information to the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI) on who’s doing business, and how, within its borders. This shows the state that the business is playing by the rules and is in good standing to continue operation for the near future.
Annual reports are filed via the WDFI. The state sends a notice to each registered agent that an annual report must be filed. The form includes an ID number in a shaded box, which you need to file the annual report online. If you did not receive your form, call WDFI at (608) 261-7577.
Take care to not confuse the annual report with your required tax filings in Wisconsin. Tax filings are handled by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (WDOR). Consult the WDOR for the most up-to-date information and to learn which taxes are applicable to your particular business structure and situation.
Corporations and LLCs must file annual reports in Wisconsin. But each entity has its own form with specific information that you need to provide. One of the main differences between entities is the cost to file. Fees depend on the legal structure of your business, and whether you’re filing online or by mail.
A significant difference exists for businesses that have been certified by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) as Foreign Qualified New Business Venture Corporations. They have to file the 18QNBV Form, which replaces the form used by other business entities, by mail. Do not submit the form used by other entities because the fee is non-refundable and the form does not meet the state requirements for QNBVs. The annual report filing fee for QNBVs is $80.
The WDFI collects annual reports and fees for the Wisconsin Secretary of State. To do this, the WDFI created its “One Stop Business Portal” that allows business owners to file the annual report electronically and pay with a credit card. The steps to file a Wisconsin annual report via the online portal are:
If you prefer to file via mail, you must email DFIAnnualReport@wisconsin.gov and request the proper form. Once it’s filled out, mail it to the WDFI.
Filing fees for corporations increase to $40 if not filing online.
Be aware that some company information and annual reports are public records. Anyone can obtain your basic business information such as when the business was incorporated, its legal entity type, and the registered agent’s name and office of record by visiting the Wisconsin Secretary of State website and searching for your business name. They can also request a copy of your annual report via WDFI. However, the business employer identification number (EIN), member names of domestic LLCs, telephone numbers, owners, trade names, and Wisconsin tax information are not recorded by the WDFI.
The annual report is due by the end of the quarter in which the business was first registered. Your first annual report will be a year after registration, and then at the end of the quarter.
|Incorporation Date||Due Date|
|January 1st thru March 31st||March 31st|
|April 1st thru June 30th||June 30th|
|July 1st thru September 30th||September 30th|
|October 1st thru December 31st||December 31st|
So, if your business was originally registered in May, that means your annual report’s due date is the end of June. All foreign (out-of-state) entities must file their annual reports by March 31st.
While there is no monetary penalty for failing to file an annual report, Wisconsin will administratively dissolve entities that fail to file an annual report within one year of the failure. This means that your business no longer has liability coverage or protection, even if you’re in the process of closing.
If your company has been administratively dissolved for failure to file an annual report and you wish for the company to be reinstated, call (608) 261-7577 to request the forms for reinstatement.
The fee to file an annual report in Wisconsin falls between between $25 and $80. The exact fee is determined by the legal structure of the company.
If you need help determining the annual report fee, call the WDFI at (608) 261-9555.
It is helpful to gather all the required information before attempting to file your Wisconsin annual report. That information includes:
Before beginning the online filing process, it may be helpful to first obtain a WAMS ID for use at the One Stop Business Portal. Getting a WAMS ID allows you to log into the site and file various forms on behalf of the business, including the annual report. It also lets you pause and save during the process, so you can finish it at a later time.
Need some help navigating the portal? Contact the Wisconsin Interactive Network via email at email@example.com or call them at (608) 250-4606.
When you finish the online process of filing the annual report, you should end up at a screen that confirms your report was received. Online filings are typically addressed by the state within five business days. During high volume times like the end of the quarter or year, it may take more time. If your annual report contains errors, your registered agent should receive notification from the state.
If you fail to file an annual report on time in the state of Wisconsin, your company will eventually be administratively dissolved. This will happen around one year after the report’s due date. The business will no longer receive the legal protections the entity affords from this point forward.
If administrative dissolution happens, all is not lost and you may be able to be reinstated. However, Wisconsin requires more paperwork and fees to do this, including the original annual report filing fees that weren’t paid. Call WDFI at (608) 261-7577 to request the forms and information for reinstatement.
If you have questions or problems filing your Wisconsin annual report online, reach out to WDFI via email. You can also speak to someone directly by calling.
Closed businesses do not need to file an annual report in Wisconsin. However, businesses that are closing do need to file Articles of Dissolution with the Department of Financial Institutions in order to avoid ongoing liabilities past the intended date of closure. You can find the forms for dissolution on the DFI website. Corporations and limited liability companies pay $45 for dissolution ($25 for the annual report fee and $20 for the dissolution).
You do not need an attorney to file an annual report in Wisconsin, though one may be able to provide useful advice and guidance. In Wisconsin, the people who formed the business entity bear responsibility for selecting the right person(s) to file the annual report.
No. Electronic signatures are allowed on Wisconsin annual reports.
Wisconsin Business Resources
File an Annual Report
Start an LLC in Your State