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1. Choose a Name for Your Wisconsin Corporation
Check on Available Names in Wisconsin: The name that you choose for your corporation needs to be unique. You should choose a name that is not in use by another corporation that is registered in the state of Wisconsin. Before you file to incorporate, you should search online records as well as other registers and catalogs to determine that the name that you have chosen is available. You can search a database of registered Wisconsin corporations online at Wisconsin Corporation.
Reserve a Corporate Name: It is not obligatory to reserve a corporate name before you file to incorporate in Wisconsin, but if you want to reserve a certain name for your corporation before you file to incorporate, you can submit a name reservation application to the office of the Wisconsin Secretary of State. This application is not available online. The filing fee is $15.00 for this application. Contact the office of the Wisconsin Secretary of State for more details.
Filing Trademarks and Doing a Corporate Name Search: Even if the name that you have chosen for your corporation is available in Wisconsin, it is possible that the name is in use by a registered corporation in another state. There could be restrictions on your use of your corporate name. An attorney can advise you on these potential restrictions and on how you can trademark the name of your corporation.
Wisconsin Corporate Name Requirements: Remember that corporate names in Wisconsin need to include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” “company,” or an abbreviation of one of these words.
2. Find a Registered Agent in Wisconsin
You will need to choose a registered agent who will act as an agent for service of process for your corporation. A registered agent receives all legal and tax documents for a corporation. You may choose an adult resident of Wisconsin, a corporation in Wisconsin, or a corporate services company as your registered agent, but your corporation cannot act as its own registered agent.
3. File Articles of Incorporation with the Wisconsin Secretary of State
Minimum Requirements: Once you have chosen a corporate name and a registered agent, you can begin to create Articles of Incorporation for your corporation. The completed Articles of Incorporation document should be submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. There is a form for this document that you can download online at Wisconsin Corporation Set Up. The Articles of Incorporation of your corporation must include the name of your corporation, the name and address of your registered agent, the number of shares authorized by your corporation, the address of your initial registered office, and the name and address of each of the incorporators. Each of the incorporators must sign the Articles of Incorporation.
Other Wisconsin Legal Provisions: You will be able to include other legal provisions in addition to the minimum requirements in your Articles of Incorporation document. An attorney can advise you on what additional legal provisions will be the most important and beneficial for your corporation.
Where to Submit Form: You should submit the signed Articles of Incorporation document and one copy to the Department of Financial Institutions, P O Box 7846, Madison WI, 53707-7846.
Filing Fee: The filing fee for Articles of Incorporation in Wisconsin is $100.00. Checks should be made payable to the Department of Financial Institutions.
4. Create Other Wisconsin Incorporation Documents (Corporate Kits)
After you have completed and submitted Articles of Incorporation document, you will be able to begin taking other actions in your corporation such as appointing officers and directors, adopting corporation bylaws, issuing stock certificates, obtaining a tax ID number, and acquiring the appropriate business license. You can also begin drafting other types of corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, shareholders agreements that determine when stock can be sold, and documents that describe what will happen if an owner decides to leave the company. These types of corporate documents can be incredibly useful for corporations with multiple owners. An attorney or a professional corporate service company can help you to draft these important documents so that you can be sure to comply with all legal requirements.
5. Qualify Your Wisconsin Corporation to Do Business in Other States
Your corporation must qualify in order to do business in other states. If your main corporate office is located outside of Wisconsin, you must qualify your corporation before you can do business in that state. Most states will require some sort of qualification and will require you to pay taxes in your home state. There is more information about qualifying your corporation to do business in other states available online at Doing Business in other states.
6. Make Annual Filings and Pay Annual Fees and Taxes in Wisconsin
You will be required to file an annual report for your corporation. You can file this report online at Wisonsin Corporation Fee. You will be able to indicate the name and address of your registered agent and the names and addresses of the principal officers and directors of the corporation on this report. The filing fee is $40.00 if you submit a paper form and $25.00 if you file electronically.
All Wisconsin corporations are subject to state taxes. You must file taxes each year. You can learn about the taxes that apply to your corporation online at the official website of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Wisconsin Corporation Tax. An accountant can help you with the preparation of your tax documents so that you avoid mistakes that could end up costing you extra taxes.
There are many decisions that you face when you are in the process of incorporating your small business. These decisions can be very complex, especially if your corporation will have multiple owners. You should consult an attorney and an accountant for guidance during the process of incorporation. With the proper counsel, you can feel more confident that your paperwork is being prepared correctly.
This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. This information is derived from various sources and should not be relied on as an official source of information. All information should be independently verified. You should consult a legal or accounting professional before incorporating your business.
Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.