How To Form A Corporation In Wisconsin
Starting a Wisconsin Corporation
Incorporating in Wisconsin begins with submitting Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI). Corporations will need to get an EIN, and many corporations will need licenses, bank accounts and more.
Below are common steps to forming a Wisconsin corporation:
- Form and file Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation
- Hold an organizational meeting
- Obtain Wisconsin licenses
- Register with Wisconsin departments
- Get an EIN from the IRS
- Submit Beneficial Ownership Information report
- Open a Wisconsin corporate bank account
For a hassle-free incorporation, let us handle your formation! At Wisconsin Registered Agent LLC, we provide a comprehensive formation services package that gives you everything you need: a full year of registered agent service, custom documents, and more for only $249!
WHY INCORPORATE IN WISCONSIN?
- Long Legal History
LLCs have been around for decades, but corporations have been around for a couple centuries—which means that corporations have a much longer legal history. Why is a long legal history important? Case law has a huge impact on modern legal rulings, so corporations have a better guide to follow and far fewer legal surprises. LLC Articles and operating agreements are also much less standardized than corporate Articles and bylaws, meaning lawyers and judges must invest more time reviewing issues—and the results are much less predictable.
- Established Trust
People understand corporations. CEOs, board meetings, selling stock—these are familiar ideas. Because LLCs are relatively new, there’s still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about members and transferring membership. Many people aren’t even sure what “LLC” stands for, assuming the “C” is for “corporation” instead of “company.” Investors, bankers, and business partners are more likely to be familiar with corporate structures—and more likely to trust them with their business.
- Investor Appeal
Investing in corporations can also appeal to many types of investors. Unlike LLCs, corporations can offer guaranteed dividends, which may appeal to more conservative investors. Corporations are also able to become publicly-traded, which can be enticing for investors seeking huge growth potential.
Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation
Your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation contain the essential information about your corporation that the state needs to approve and register your business. The information required is described below:
Your Wisconsin corporation’s name must include one of the following words or abbreviations: Corporation (Corp.), Incorporated (Inc.), Company (Co.), or Limited (Ltd.). Check your name’s availability with a Corporate Records Search.
Authorizing shares is creating shares for your corporation. Some or all of these shares can be issued later at your Wisconsin corporation’s organizational meeting. In your Articles, you’ll need to list the number of shares your corporation is authorizing. You have to authorize at least one share.
Registered Agent and Office
A Wisconsin registered agent accepts service of process and legal notifications for your corporation. A registered agent must be regularly available at a designated physical location—the registered office. The registered office must be in Wisconsin and can’t be a PO Box.
Hiring a commercial registered agent (like us!) not only ensures you never miss an important document—it can also help you maintain privacy. When you list our address on public documents like your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation, you can keep your own address private. Let us deal with the junk mail and hassle that come with a public address.
We provide expert registered agent service for just $49 a year—with renewals at the same low price.
This optional section is for additional information you’d like to include in your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation. You can include any provisions that aren’t inconsistent with the law.
For example, if you want to designate classes of shares with different voting rights, you could include that information in this section. Another example of an optional provision is a delayed effective date (the date your corporation begins its existence). If you don’t want your corporation to be formed upon your filing’s approval, you could designate a future effective date within 90 days of filing.
An incorporator signs and submits your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation. Incorporators must include their names and addresses. An incorporator doesn’t have to be a director or have any ownership interest in the corporation. Hire us, and we’ll be your incorporator.
Wisconsin has a specific provision requiring that Articles of Incorporation executed in Wisconsin list the name of the drafter (the person who filled out or completed the document). No signature or address is required.
Submit Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation
You can submit Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation online or by mail. The filing fee is the same: $100 or $125 expedited.
Although expedited (next-day) processing is available, it may not be necessary. While the WDFI states that regular processing time for Articles is “within 5 working days,” it’s typically much faster—often the same day for online filings.
You can file your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation online through either the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions portal or Wisconsin’s One Stop Business portal. Payment can be made by eCheck or credit card.
The Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation form can be downloaded from the WDFI. Responses must be typed or written in black ink. Payment can be made by check or money order.
Our Formation Package
At Wisconsin Registered Agent LLC, we make incorporation easy! Our formation services package gives you everything you need to launch your Wisconsin corporation.
We provide your Wisconsin corporation with bylaws, initial resolutions, and more!
A Year of Registered Agent Service
We scan documents daily to ensure you never miss an important document.
- Immediate Access to Your Secure Client Account
In your account, you’ll find your scanned documents along with free access to helpful resources, such as state forms pre-filled with your information.
- Address Privacy
List our address instead of yours on public formation documents and avoid the spam of a publicly-listed address.
- Compliance Tools
Our compliance tools ensure you never miss a state filing requirement, like your Wisconsin Annual Report.
- Expert Customer Service
Need assistance? Talk to our friendly, expert staff—never an automated operator.
- Access to Additional Business Services
You’ll be able to add additional services inside your client account, like our Trade Name Service. If you’re interested in registering a trade name, commonly known as a DBA, you can sign up for our Trade Name Service for $130.
1 Year of Registered Agent Service
Our Business Formation Service Fee
Wisconsin State Filing Fees
After Forming Your Wisconsin Corporation
Once your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation are approved, congratulations—you have a Wisconsin corporation! However, there’s still work to be done. Corporations have a variety of requirements, from obtaining an EIN to filing an annual report.
WISCONSIN ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
- What is a Wisconsin organizational meeting?
Your Wisconsin corporation’s organizational meeting is your first opportunity to finish organizing your business. At the organizational meeting, you can elect directors, appoint officers, issue shares of stock, and adopt bylaws.In our formation package, we include custom bylaws to help your Wisconsin corporation organize smoothly.
- Can I hold the meeting outside of Wisconsin?
Yes, your Wisconsin corporation’s organizational meeting can be held in or out of state.
EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
What is an Employer Identification Number?
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a federal tax ID. The IRS issues this number to your business to identify your Wisconsin corporation on tax filings.
Do I need an EIN for my Wisconsin corporation?
Yes. Corporations are required to obtain an EIN.
- How does my corporation obtain an EIN?
EINs are available from the IRS website. There is no filing fee for the application. If you’d like to delegate this task to us as well, you can add EIN service to our formation package for the cost of our time: $50.
Beneficial Ownership Information Report
- What is a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) Report?
The BOI report is a mandatory federal filing that must be submitted to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). These reports are part of a new measure to reduce instances of fraud and financial crime in the US. The information you share will not be accessible to the public—only authorized agencies or individuals can request the information.
- What information is required on my BOI report?
The BOI report requires basic information about your company and the people with the most influence over how it operates (those who have substantial control over business decisions, who own 25% or more of the company, or who are responsible for company formation).
Legal company name
Principal business address
Jurisdiction of formation
Tax ID (EIN, SSN or TIN)
Date of birth
Photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
- When is my BOI report due?
For businesses formed on or after January 1, 2024, the BOI report is due within 30 days of company formation. However, for businesses created before 2024, the report is due by January 1, 2025.
- How do I file my BOI report?
BOI report filing must be done online using FinCEN’s database. Filing is free. There several exemptions for certain types of highly-regulated businesses.
WISCONSIN LICENSES & REGISTRATIONS
Do I need to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue?
Most likely—especially if you have employees or engage in sales. You’ll need to register with the Department of Revenue if you need a sales permit, withholding, or use/consumer’s use tax certificates. You’ll also need to register if you require alcohol, fuel or tobacco tax permits or specialty tax permits. If you have employees, you’ll need to register with the Department of Workforce Development as well.
- What is the Department of Revenue registration fee?
$20, with a $10 renewal fee every two years.
- Does Wisconsin require professional licenses?
Yes, professional licenses are required for specific occupations, such as aestheticians, home inspectors, electricians, and counselors. For a list of licensed professions, see the Professions List maintained by the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
WISCONSIN ANNUAL REPORT
- What is the Wisconsin Annual Report?
The Wisconsin Annual Report is a yearly report used to update your corporation’s contact and ownership information with the WDFI.
- What is the Wisconsin Annual Report filing fee?
The filing fee is $25 if filing online and $40 if filing with a paper form.
- When is my Wisconsin Annual Report due?
The report is due each year at the end of the quarter in which your corporation was formed. So, if your corporation formed in the first quarter of the year, your annual report will be due March 31st each year. You don’t have to submit a report in your formation year.
Annual Report Due
- How do I submit my Wisconsin Annual Report?
You can submit your Wisconsin Annual Report online or by mail. Paper forms are sent to your registered agent and can be paid by check. The state strongly encourages online filings, however, making them $15 dollars cheaper. Online filings use Wisconsin’s One Stop Business Portal. You don’t need an account to file your Wisconsin Annual Report.
Incorporate in Wisconsin Today!
At Wisconsin Registered Agent LLC, we take the stress and frustration out of incorporation with our comprehensive formation services package. Custom documents, compliance tools, a full year of registered agent service—we have everything you need to start your Wisconsin corporation today!