Wisconsin Filing Fees

What are the Business Filing Fees in Wisconsin?

Starting a business in Wisconsin means paying a variety of government filing fees. We’ve compiled the most common ones here so that you’ll know what to expect.

FILE YOUR BUSINESS

Opening a business involves more than just a good idea and a passion for what you do, although that is a great starting point. Wisconsin formation fees should be taken into consideration as you move through the formation process. 

All statutory entities need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. These include corporations, limited liability companies, cooperative associations, and others. Common law entities such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships don’t have to register with the state, but may still be subject to fees for business licenses and permits. 

If you’re in the formation phase of starting a business, we can help simplify it with our LLC Formation Service and Corporation Formation Service.

Step 1: Pay your Wisconsin business’s initial filing fees

Initial Wisconsin filing fees are required when you submit your formation documents. Each business type requires a different document. Corporations require Articles of incorporation, and limited liability companies require filing Articles of Organization.

Fees for each of these documents are listed on the PDF file or can be found on the Department of Financial Institutions website. Expedited processing service is available for most forms. If you need to get your formation documents processed quickly, consider using our Expedited Filing Service. 

Step 2: Reserve your Wisconsin business’s name 

Choosing a name is a pretty important part of starting a business. Make sure you get the name you want by reserving your business name. Once you have filed the reservation form and paid the applicable fees, your reservation is good for 120 days. It’s 60 days for limited partnerships. You need to adhere to all Wisconsin naming guidelines when choosing your name. This includes doing your research to make sure that your desired name isn’t already in use. We can take care of this research and complete the filing for you with our Business Name Reservation Service

Step 3: Reserve a “doing business as” name in Wisconsin

A “doing business as” (DBA) name is an alternative name that a business may choose to use in place of their registered name. This is common for sole proprietors who don’t want the name of their business to be their actual name. A business called “Joe Smith” is undoubtedly more marketable as “Joe’s Fish and Chips.” DBAs are also used by statutory entities that want to branch out into different markets or product lines under the same company. Learn more about them and register your DBA name using our service

Step 4: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is like a social security number for your business. The number is needed to pay taxes, hire employees, or open many business accounts. Your EIN is issued for free by the IRS, but there’s still a process you will go through to obtain it. Let us take care of that for you with our EIN Service

Step 5: Draft an operating agreement, corporate bylaws, or partnership agreement for your Wisconsin business

Not all important documents require filing fees. Once your business has been legally registered, it’s time to draft a document detailing how the business will run. This is different from providing your basic information. Your type of business entity will determine which document you draft. Some of the information may include:

  • Shareholder or member information
  • Roles of managers
  • Profit and loss sharing
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Sale or transfer of ownership or shares
  • Exit strategy 

If you have a limited liability company and need to draft your operating agreement, consider using our Operating Agreement Template to make sure you don’t miss anything important.

Step 6: Apply for your Wisconsin business’s necessary licenses and permits

Wisconsin doesn’t require a general business license, but most businesses need some sort of license or permit to operate. These are dependent on industry, activities, and location. You will need to do a deep dive into online searches and speak to your local municipality to find out what’s required. These usually involve an initial Wisconsin business filing fee, which is subsequently renewed periodically. If you’re interested in saving yourself countless hours of research, check out our Business License Report Service, and let us do it for you. 

Step 7: Pay registration fees for out-of-state businesses

Businesses formed in a different state or country are considered foreign businesses. To transact business in Wisconsin, the foreign business needs to file a Certificate of Authority. The business will also need to submit a Certificate of Good Standing demonstrating that they are in compliance with all regulations in their home state. 

Step 8: Check Wisconsin’s biennial/annual report requirements and fees

File your annual reports to ensure the state has the most current information about your business. There are fees for filing your annual report and failing to meet deadlines could result in penalties, fees, and ultimately dissolution of your business. One of the hardest parts is just remembering to do it. Let us help you stay organized and on top of things with our Annual Report Service

Step 9: Keep your Wisconsin business legally compliant

Things change and that’s ok. But when they do, you need to make the accompanying amendments to your formation documents to stay compliant with the state. Depending on the changes you need to make, this may require multiple forms. It can be a lot, but it’s worth it to stay organized. Check out our Worry-Free Compliance Service to help you stay in check. This service also includes two annual amendments for which we do the work and you only pay the filing fee. 

We’re here to help you with your Wisconsin business needs

Starting and running a new business is difficult enough as it is. You probably didn’t start your business because you were passionate about paperwork and filing fees. Let us help simplify the compliance components of your business so you can focus on what you do best. We’re here to help.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

FAQs

  • Are there penalties for paying my fees late in Wisconsin?

    Yes. Your Wisconsin business can incur penalties and additional fees for failing to pay the required filing fees in a timely manner.

  • What happens if I can’t pay my fees to the Wisconsin government?

    Failing to meet deadlines and pay fees could result in penalties, additional fees, and ultimately lead to the dissolution of your business.

  • Who receives the fees for forming my Wisconsin business?

    The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution.

  • What is usually the biggest fee I will pay when I form my Wisconsin business?

    Fees vary depending on the document being submitted, but initial filing fees are often the largest expense.

  • What payment methods can I use to pay my LLC or corporation filing fees to the Wisconsin government?

    Pay online using debit, credit, ACH account, or by mail using a personal check or cashier’s check.

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