Wisconsin has both stock and nonstock corporations. Individuals interested in running a for-profit business can start a stock corporation. Charities generally file a nonstock corporation with the state of Wisconsin. Filers can obtain forms from the Department of Financial Institutions. They then submit the forms and a fee to the department to form a Wisconsin corporation.
Create a corporate name. In Wisconsin, a corporate business must use one of the following words or abbreviations: Corporation, Incorporated, Limited, Company, Inc., Corp., Co. or Ltd. After selecting a name, then you need to check for name availability. Your chosen name must be “distinguishable” from all other names already registered in Wisconsin. Visit the “Search Corporate Records” page at Wdfi.org/apps/CorpSearch/Search.aspx?. Enter your desired name and run a search to determine whether that business name is available. Use it as your corporation name on the filing form only if it is still available for use in Wisconsin.
Open the “Forms” page on the Department of Financial Institutions website at Wdfi.org/corporations/forms/. Use the “Corporation – business” link to find the “Articles of Incorporation” filing forms for stock (business) corporations. Use the “Corporation” link for nonstock corporations. Although a business can technically operate as a nonstock corporation, nonprofits are usually the organizations that file as a nonstock entity.
Fill out the “Articles of Incorporation” that apply to your chosen Wisconsin business entity. Note that corporate law is very complex and may need the services of a Wisconsin business attorney. The preexisting filing forms merely provide the minimum for creating a Wisconsin corporation.
For example, a nonprofit registering in Wisconsin must meet certain federal requirements to even qualify as a tax-exempt organization. Read Publication 557 to get more details about federal requirements before completing your Wisconsin filing form for nonstock corporations.
Prepare the filing fees for your Wisconsin business. As of 2010, the fee for a stock corporation is $100. The fee is $35 for a Wisconsin nonstock or nonprofit corporation. Make checks payable to the “Department of Financial Institutions.”
Mail in the original and a copy of the”Articles of Incorporation” with the filing fee. When sending by first-class mail, use the following address:
Department of Financial Institutions
P.O. Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707-7846
If sending by express or priority mail, use the following street address:
345 W. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703
Wisconsin Business Forms