Essential Steps for Incorporating a Wisconsin Corporation

Incorporating a business in Wisconsin can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As entrepreneurs, we understand the thrill of creating something from scratch and seeing it grow into a successful venture. However, the process of incorporating your business can also be overwhelming, with many legal requirements and paperwork to complete. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you navigate through the essential steps for incorporating a wisconsin corporation.

Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to expand your existing venture, understanding the incorporation process is crucial for success. Incorporating your business provides numerous benefits such as liability protection, easier access to funding, and tax advantages.

By following these essential steps, you’ll be on your way to creating a strong legal foundation for your business while ensuring compliance with state regulations. So let’s dive in!

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Choose a Business Name and Registered Agent

Selecting a business name and finding a registered agent are two important steps when incorporating a Wisconsin corporation. Your business name should be unique, easy to remember, and it must not conflict with any existing trademarks or trade names.

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Once you’ve chosen your business name, you’ll need to register it with the state of Wisconsin. Finding a registered agent is also essential. A registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your company, such as lawsuits or service of process.

The registered agent must reside in Wisconsin and have a physical address here. After selecting your business name and finding a registered agent, the next step is to file articles of incorporation with the Wisconsin Secretary of State’s office.

This document establishes your corporation as a legal entity and includes important information about your company, such as its purpose, stock structure, and the names of its officers and directors. With these key elements in place, you can take the necessary steps towards building a successful Wisconsin corporation that stands out from others in its industry.

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File Articles of Incorporation

When incorporating in Wisconsin, we must determine the type of corporation to establish before moving on to drafting and filing articles of incorporation.

This document should include essential details about the business, such as its name, purpose, location, and registered agent.

Once completed, we must pay the required filing fee and submit our application to the Department of Financial Institutions for review and approval.

Determine the Type of Corporation

Figuring out the type of corporation that best fits your needs is crucial when incorporating in Wisconsin. There are several types of corporations to choose from, including C corporations, S corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Each type has its own pros and cons and legal requirements that must be considered before making a decision.

To help you make an informed choice, we have created a table outlining the main characteristics of each type of corporation. C corporations offer limited liability protection for shareholders but require double taxation on profits. S corporations provide pass-through taxation and limited liability protection but have strict eligibility requirements. LLCs combine the benefits of both partnerships and corporations by offering pass-through taxation and flexible management structures while also protecting members’ personal assets from business debts. It’s important to carefully consider which option best suits your business goals before moving on to the next step: drafting and filing articles of incorporation.

Draft and File Articles of Incorporation

Now it’s time to get started on drafting and filing your articles of incorporation! This is a crucial step in incorporating your Wisconsin corporation, as the document sets forth the legal requirements for your business entity.

The articles of incorporation must include important information such as the corporation’s name, purpose, registered agent, number of shares authorized, and the names and addresses of its initial directors. Document preparation can be a daunting task for those who are not familiar with legal requirements.

To ensure that you comply with all Wisconsin laws and regulations pertaining to corporations, it’s best to seek the assistance of an attorney or professional document preparer. These experts can help you draft accurate and complete articles of incorporation that will satisfy all state requirements.

Once you have prepared this crucial document, it’s time to move on to paying the required filing fee.

Pay the Required Filing Fee

To complete the process of incorporating your Wisconsin corporation, it’s crucial to pay the required filing fee. This fee varies depending on the type of corporation you’re forming and can range from $100 to $200. It’s important to note that this fee is non-refundable, so make sure you’ve filled out all necessary paperwork accurately before submitting it.

When it comes to payment options, there are a few choices available. Most commonly, fees can be paid by check or money order made payable to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Alternatively, payment can also be made online through their website using a credit card or ACH transfer.

Once your payment has been processed and accepted, you’ll receive notification that your articles of incorporation have been filed successfully.

With the filing fee taken care of, the next step in establishing your Wisconsin corporation is obtaining any necessary permits and licenses.

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Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Make sure you’ve got all the necessary permits and licenses before launching your Wisconsin corporation. Permit requirements vary depending on the type of business you’re starting and where it’ll be located. Some common permits include zoning permits, building permits, health department permits, and environmental permits.

Failure to obtain these can result in fines or even legal action against your company. The license application process is also an important step to take when incorporating your business. You may need a state or local license to operate within certain industries such as healthcare, finance, or construction.

There are also specific licenses required for businesses that sell alcohol, firearms, or lottery tickets. It’s crucial that you research which licenses apply to your industry and file the appropriate applications so that you can legally conduct business.

Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses for your Wisconsin corporation may seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. By taking this step seriously from the beginning stages of incorporation, you’ll avoid potential legal issues down the road and allow for smooth operations moving forward.

Once all necessary paperwork’s been filed, it’s time to move onto creating corporate bylaws and holding initial meetings with shareholders to solidify your company structure.

Create Corporate Bylaws and Hold Initial Meeting

You’re ready to establish the foundation of your company and get everyone on the same page by creating corporate bylaws and holding your first meeting.

Bylaws are a set of rules that dictate how your corporation will operate, including important details such as shareholder rights, officer duties, and voting procedures. It’s important to customize these bylaws to fit your specific business needs and goals.

When preparing for your initial meeting, make sure you have a clear agenda outlining what topics will be discussed. This may include electing officers, approving bylaws, issuing stock certificates, and setting up a bank account.

You’ll also want to make sure all necessary parties are present – this could include shareholders, directors, officers, and any legal representatives.

Creating corporate bylaws and holding an initial meeting may seem like tedious tasks, but they’re crucial steps in establishing a successful Wisconsin corporation. Once these items are completed, you can move on to obtaining an employer identification number (EIN) and registering for taxes.

This process ensures that your business is properly recognized by the government and is operating within legal guidelines.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Register for Taxes

Now that we’ve created our corporate bylaws and held our initial meeting, the next step in incorporating a Wisconsin corporation is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

This number is essential for tax purposes and will be used to identify our business entity.

We also need to register for state taxes with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and register for local taxes (if applicable) with the appropriate local government agencies.

Obtain an EIN from the IRS

Once you’ve completed your Wisconsin corporation’s formation paperwork, it’s time to obtain an EIN from the IRS. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to identify your corporation for tax purposes. Having an EIN is critical for establishing your business credit, opening a bank account, hiring employees, and filing taxes.

Here are three essential steps on how to apply for an EIN:

  1. Determine which method works best for you: You can apply online, by mail or fax, and through telephone services with the IRS. Applying online is the quickest way as you’ll receive your EIN immediately after completing the application process.
  2. Gather necessary information: Before applying for an EIN, make sure you have all required information available, such as business name and address, legal structure of your corporation, and responsible party’s personal identifying information.
  3. Submit application: After gathering all required information, submit your application via the preferred method selected in step 1.

Obtaining an EIN should be one of the first tasks on your incorporation checklist because it plays a vital role in establishing credibility for your business operations with financial institutions and regulatory agencies.

Now that you’ve obtained an EIN from the IRS, it’s time to register for state taxes in Wisconsin.

Register for State Taxes

After obtaining an EIN from the IRS, it’s time to register your Wisconsin corporation for state taxes. This involves obtaining a Tax ID number from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. You’ll need to fill out an application and provide information about your business, such as its name, address, ownership structure, and type of business activity.

Once you have obtained your Tax ID number, you’ll need to make sure that you’re complying with all state tax requirements. This may include filing periodic tax returns and paying sales tax or other applicable taxes. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties and fines.

After registering for state taxes, it’s important to also register for local taxes (if applicable) in order to fully comply with all tax regulations.

Now that we have registered for state taxes and obtained our Tax ID number from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, let’s move on to registering for local taxes (if applicable).

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Register for Local Taxes (if applicable)

If your business operates within certain jurisdictions, you may need to register for local taxes in addition to state taxes. Local taxes are typically administered by county or city governments and can include things like sales tax, property tax, and occupancy tax.

Before registering for local taxes, it’s important to research the specific requirements of the jurisdiction you’re operating in. In addition to registering for local taxes, you may also need to apply for permits and fulfill sales tax obligations. This can include obtaining a business license or permit from the city or county government, as well as registering with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for sales tax purposes.

It’s essential that all necessary permits and registrations are obtained before conducting any business activities within a jurisdiction to avoid potential penalties or legal issues down the line.


In conclusion, incorporating a Wisconsin corporation requires several essential steps that must be followed diligently to ensure smooth operation of the business.

The first step is to choose a suitable name for your company and appoint a registered agent who will receive legal notices on behalf of the company.

This should be followed by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, which establishes your business as a legal entity.

Next, it’s imperative to obtain all necessary permits and licenses required to operate in Wisconsin. Failure to do so can result in penalties or even suspension of operations.

Additionally, creating corporate bylaws and holding an initial meeting can help establish ground rules for the company’s governance structure.

Finally, obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is recommended for tax purposes.

You must also register your corporation for taxes with both state and federal authorities before commencing operations.

Overall, following these essential steps will not only ensure compliance with state laws but also set up your business for success in the long run.

Incorporating a Wisconsin corporation may seem overwhelming at first, but with careful planning and execution, it can be achieved smoothly and efficiently.

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