How to Do a Business Name Search in Wisconsin

Wisconsin maintains a database of corporations that are registered in the state. Entity names can be searched at www.wdfi.org

Wisconsin Name Search

Business Name Search in Wisconsin: You can use the Wisconsin Business Entity search to find out if a preferred name for a business in Wisconsin is available. You can also use this search to locate information about an existing business. Business owners can visit the Secretary-of-State (SOS) website to search for names and assist with administrative tasks.

Wisconsin Business Search for Name Availability

To form an LLC within Wisconsin, you must search the SOS website for names available.

You must follow specific guidelines when choosing a name to your LLC.

To find out if the name that you are interested in using is already being used by another company in the state, start with a search. Two businesses cannot have the same name in Wisconsin. It is important to verify that the URL for that name is available. You will likely need it to create a website. You can purchase the domain name ahead of time if you are concerned about other people using it.

To search for name availability, visit the Financial Institutions section (DFI) website. Type your desired name into the search bar and perform a search. If you receive a message that the name is not being used by any other business, it can be used for your LLC.

Wisconsin Name Search by Business Entity

A name search can also be used to locate a business entity that is in existence.

  • The legal status of the business (DIS-dissolved, etc.
  • The address of the business
  • The Registered Agent’s Address
  • Filing history (date of the most recent annual reports)

This search allows business owners to find Certificates in Good Standing and submit required reports for their LLC.

You can search for a business entity on the SOS website by entering your Wisconsin business name, or an advanced search. To ensure accurate results, you should enter as much as possible of the name and as many keywords as possible when using the simple name search.

These results will give you a preview of information about the business, including:

  • Name of the business
  • Identification number (not EIN).
  • Type of business (LLC PLLC or LP, etc.
  • Date was incorporated
  • Status current with the SOS

To view detailed information about the business, select the matching name. This includes everything above and any filing requirements.

You can search for the name of your business to view details about your LLC. Once you have found the right LLC, click on it to see details, file any reports, request certificates, and update information for your registered agent.

Information not available

The following information will not be found when you search online for a business entity:

  • Employer Identification Numbers (EINs/FEINs)
  • Names of the members of the LLC
  • Numbers for the business
  • Trademarks and DBAs (Tradenames).
  • Information about state taxes
  • Names of business owners
  • Information about any partnership (GPs).

Year-End Corporate Filings

Remember that year-end reports filed for businesses are only effective for 90 days. A document that is filed before December 29 will become effective on January 1st, three days after it was filed. However, this will only occur if the document has been filed in its entirety. A new effective date will be given if the document needs to be returned for revisions. Keep in mind, however, that offices will be closed for the holidays on New Year’s Day and December 25, 2018.

You can create an LLC, or any other type of organization (corporation or partnership), to change or create. For filing, you will need to contact The Corporation Section of The Division of Corporate & Consumer Services within the DFI. This department will also be responsible for licensing any out-of-state companies that wish to do business in Wisconsin.

File Changes and Contact Information

As of January 3, 2017, the Department of Financial Institutions will not accept cash payments for filing or copy services but will accept personal checks, cashier’s checks, and money orders.

Although businesses can still visit the department to file their paperwork, they are encouraged to use this website to simplify the process and make filing more efficient.

Here are the contact details for the Department of Financial Institutions.

  • phone: (608)261-7577
  • Address: Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions 201 W Washington Ave. Madison, WI 53703
  • email: DFISecretary@wisconsin.gov

Register Your Wisconsin Business Name

Your LLC name can be reserved in Wisconsin for up 120 days before you register it. This allows you to prevent other businesses from registering the name until your turn.

You can make name reservations by mailing to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee is $15.

 

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