Opening Your Business

The One Stop Business Portal allows you to quickly and easily open your new business as easy as 1-2-3. This new service allows you to complete the basic requirements most new businesses need to fulfill in a single, streamlined application. This includes:

  1. Entity registration with the Department of Financial Institutions
  2. Business tax registration with the Department of Revenue
  3. Unemployment Insurance Assessment for the Department of Workforce Development

Step 1: Entity Registration

The One Stop Business Portal allows you to register three common entity types: a domestic Limited Liability Company, a Business Corporation or a Statutory Close Corporation with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

Once you have entered the required information and paid your fees, your application will be submitted to the DFI for review. You can also monitor the status of your application by checking the One Stop Business Portal’s Dashboard webpage at any time.

Entity Descriptions:

A business corporation is a general-purpose entity managed by a board of directors who, in turn, are elected by and report to the shareholders (ie. the owners).

A limited liability company or LLC has member-owners (similar to a partnership) who may directly manage the company or who may appoint one or more managers to run the company. An LLC combines features of both a partnership and a corporation.

A statutory close corporation is a general purpose business corporation or service corporation, but one in which the shareholders agree to limitations on the transferability of shares, may elect to operate without a board of directors, and may impose greater voting or quorum requirements. The number of shareholders is limited to 50 or less at the time the corporation elects statutory close status. Only statutory close corporations that are "general purpose" business corporations can be filed online via the Wisconsin One Stop Business Portal. Statutory close service corporations must be filed directly with DFI.

For descriptions and to register all other entity types, please visit the DFI website.

Each entity type has unique registration requirements. Please review the information below to ensure you have the required information available prior to starting the registration process.

Limited Liability Companies

What You Need

Name: The proposed name of the new limited liability company (LLC).

Registered Agent: The name of the registered agent and the registered office address.

Management: The type of management the new LLC will use; will management be vested in a manager/managers or in a member/members of the new LLC. (See Wisconsin Statute 183.0401.)

Organizers: The names and complete addresses of each organizer.

Drafter: The name of the drafter of this document. The drafter is the person who is completing this document.

Signature: The articles must be signed by one or more organizers.

Contact: : The name, address, email address, and phone number entered here will be forwarded to the Department of Financial Institutions for their records in case they have questions or need to contact you. Note, however, that official communications will be sent to the registered WAMS email account while you are submitting your information through the One Stop Business Portal that is associated with the filing.

Payment: Payment can be made with a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) or Electronic Check (an ACH account transfer).

Fees: The online filing fee for this entity type is $130.00 plus a $1.00 portal fee. Fees are not refundable.

OPTIONAL Expedited Service: You may expedite the processing of your filing for an additional $25 expedited service fee. Expedited service request are acted upon by the close of business on the first business day following the date of receipt. Fees are not refundable.

For Business Corporation

What You Need

Name: The proposed name of the new corporation.

Registered Agent: The name of the registered agent and the registered office address.

Number of shares of stock authorized: The number of shares of stock the corporation shall be authorized to issue. Some quantity of shares must be authorized.

Incorporators: The name and complete address of each incorporator.

Drafter: The name of the drafter of this document. The drafter is the person who is completing this document.

Signature: The articles of incorporation must be signed by one or more incorporators.

Contact: The name, address, email address, and phone number entered here will be forwarded to the Department of Financial Institutions for their records in case they have questions or need to contact you. Note, however, that official communications will be sent to the registered WAMS email account while you are submitting your information through the One Stop Business Portal that is associated with the filing.

Payment: Payment can be made with a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) or Electronic Check (an ACH account transfer).

Fees: The online filing fee for this entity type is $100.00 plus a $1.00 portal fee. Fees are not refundable.

OPTIONAL Expedited Service: You may expedite the processing of your filing for an additional $25 expedited service fee. Expedited service request are acted upon by the close of business on the first business day following the date of receipt. Fees are not refundable.

For Statutory Close Corp:

What You Need

Name: The proposed name of the new statutory close corporation.

Registered Agent: The name of the registered agent and the registered office address.

Number of shares of stock authorized: The number of shares of stock the corporation shall be authorized to issue. Some quantity of shares must be authorized.

Incorporators: The name and complete address of each incorporator.

Drafter: The name of the drafter of this document. The drafter is the person who is completing this document.

Signature: The articles of incorporation must be signed by one or more incorporators.

Contact: The name, address, email address, and phone number entered here will be forwarded to the Department of Financial Institutions for their records in case they have questions or need to contact you. Note, however, that official communications will be sent to the registered WAMS email account while you are submitting your information through the One Stop Business Portal that is associated with the filing.

Payment: Payment can be made with a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express) or Electronic Check (an ACH account transfer).

Fees: The online filing fee for this entity type is $100.00 plus a $1.00 portal fee. Fees are not refundable.

OPTIONAL Expedited Service: You may expedite the processing of your filing for an additional $25 expedited service fee. Expedited service request are acted upon by the close of business on the first business day following the date of receipt. Fees are not refundable.

Step 2: Business Tax Registration

Once you have successfully completed Step One, filing of your entity with the Department of Financial Institutions, you may be required to obtain a Business Tax Registration. If you have not yet registered your business with the Department of Revenue, you may apply for your Business Tax Registration as well as the following:

  • Seller’s Permit
  • Consumer’s Use Tax Certificate
  • Use Tax Certificate
  • Withholding Tax Number

To begin the application process, you are required to provide your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), depending on your ownership type. Please note, you cannot apply for your FEIN or ITIN on the One Stop Business Portal. Please visit www.irs.gov to apply for your FEIN or ITIN.

Once you enter the required information and pay your fees via ACH, which requires a bank routing and account number, your application is submitted to the Department of Revenue. Your application is reviewed the next business day. In most cases, you will receive an email containing your account number(s) that next business day. You will receive a registration packet, including the permit/certificate, within five to seven business days.

If you have an existing business tax account with the Department of Revenue, contact the Department of Revenue directly to make any changes.

Permit/Certificate Descriptions:

Seller’s Permit: A seller's permit is required for every individual, partnership, corporation, or other organization making retail sales, leases, or rentals of taxable products or providing taxable services in Wisconsin, unless all sales are exempt from sales or use tax.

NOTE: A seller's permit will not be issued to wholesalers, manufacturers and other businesses if they have no taxable sales.

Before or after the Department of Revenue issues you a seller's permit, you may be required to make a security deposit of up to $15,000. If you do not make a security deposit as requested, the department may refuse to issue you a seller's permit or may revoke your permit.

In determining whether or not a security deposit is required and the amount of security deposit, the department may consider the applicant's payment of all taxes administered by the department and any other relevant facts. Security deposit is most commonly requested when there has been a history of delinquent taxes associated with the applicant.

If a security deposit is required, the department will send a notice of the requirement and additional information about the calculation of the security deposit amount. Included will be information about the types of security that can be deposited.

Any security deposit will be returned to you if for 24 consecutive months you complied with the sales and use tax law. Refer to sec. Tax 11.925, Wis. Adm. Code, "Sales and Use tax security deposits" for more information.

Consumer’s Use Tax Certificate: A consumer's use tax certificate is required for regular purchases or leases of taxable products for storage, use, or consumption in Wisconsin upon which sales or use tax was not paid. This certificate is not required if a business already holds a seller's permit or use tax certificate. For information, see Fact Sheet 2014, Wisconsin Use Tax.

Use Tax Certificate: A use tax certificate is required for every out-of-state retailer who is not required to hold a seller's permit, but is engaged in business in Wisconsin and making retail sales, leases, or rentals of taxable products or providing taxable services in Wisconsin.

If out-of-state retailers have physical presence (nexus) in Wisconsin, they may be required to register and collect sales and use tax. See Publication 201, Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax for more information.

Withholding Tax Number Every employer who is required to withhold Wisconsin income taxes must register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and obtain a Wisconsin withholding tax number.

You do not need a Wisconsin withholding account number if you:

  • Pay wages that are exempt from Wisconsin withholding (i.e., agricultural, domestic) and
  • Have no Wisconsin withholding to report (required or voluntary) from wages or other payments made.

Each permit/certificate has unique registration requirements. Please review the information below to ensure you have the required information available prior to starting the registration process.

What You Need

Contact: The account contact name, phone number and email address.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code: Use the NAICS code that applies to your primary business. If you are unsure of what this is, please contact the US Census Bureau.

Trade Name: A business name other than your legal name that was registered in Step One with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Location Specific Information: You are required to provide information regarding each of your sales locations and indicate for each location if you perform any of the following:

  • Sell food, beverages, automobile rentals or lodging in Milwaukee county
  • Make short term rentals of vehicles without drivers
  • Provide limousine service
  • Perform dry cleaning services
  • Sell dry cleaning solvents
  • Sell voice communications
  • Sell items subject to the premier resort area tax

Sales and Purchases Information (seller's permit and use tax certificates only): You are required to provide the date of your first taxable sale and your estimated monthly taxable sales

Income Tax Withheld (withholding account number only): The estimated amount of income tax to be withheld each month from employees, as well as the date wages will be first paid to employees.

Payroll Service Provider (withholding account number only): If you will use a payroll service, the name of the provider.

Ownership Information: You will need to provide your ownership type, as well the mailing address. You may also be required to provide the FEIN or SSN, depending on ownership type.

Step 3: Unemployment Insurance Assessment

You may be required to register for Unemployment Insurance with the Department of Workforce Development. By answering a few simple questions, the One Stop Business Portal provides an initial assessment to help you determine if you may be required to register for unemployment insurance at this time. You are required to pay UI contributions on your payroll after you've met the statutory coverage liability. Not all employers are "covered" employers. Those that do not meet the coverage requirements or maintain only excluded employment are not subject to the UI law.

To register, you must visit the Employer Unemployment Resources page with the Department of Workforce Development.

Determining Coverage Liability

As an employer, you become "covered" and incur tax liability if you meet any one of the following conditions:

Do not register the QSF as an employer under New Employer Registration.

Conditions Exclusive to Commercial Employers:

You paid wages of $1,500 or more in a quarter in any calendar year or; You employed one or more individuals in employment for some part of a day in 20 or more weeks in any calendar year. The weeks need not be consecutive and part-time employees must be included in the employee count.

Conditions Exclusive to Agricultural Employers:

You paid cash wages for agricultural labor of $20,000 or more in a quarter in any calendar year or; You employed ten or more individuals in agricultural labor for some part of a day in 20 or more weeks of any calendar year.

Conditions Exclusive to Domestic Employers:

You paid cash wages of $1,000 or more in a quarter for domestic service in any calendar year.

Conditions Exclusive to Nonprofit Employers:

You are a nonprofit organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and you employed four or more individuals on a day in 20 or more weeks in any calendar year.

Other nonprofit organizations (i.e., non 501(c)(3)) fall under the commercial employer's conditions for liability (see Conditions Exclusive to Commercial Employers above).

Conditions Exclusive to Government Employers:

Government employers have mandatory coverage.

General Conditions Under Which ANY Employer Will Be Liable for UI Taxes:

  • You've paid any wages for Wisconsin employment and you have a liability for that year under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) or;
  • You've taken over part or all of the business of an employer already covered under the law (see Part 6: Business Transfers and Taking over a UI Account) or;
  • You have no liability by law, but you voluntarily elected to become a covered employer (with the Department's approval).

Conditions Exclusive to Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF):

Qualified Settlement Funds (QSF) can not be employers. No services are performed by any employees involved in the settlement for the QSF and the settlement fund cannot be considered the employer. Settlement wages must be allocated to and reported by the appropriate employer(s) involved in the settlement.