Wisconsin Business Entity Search

Wisconsin Business Entity Search is maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The database is available online and can be used by the public for their needs.

Often, the reason to use the entity search is to check for Wisconsin LLC name availability (or for other business entities).

The state requires a business entity to have a name that is both unique and distinguishable from other entities registered with the state. This means that a business name cannot be the same or “confusingly similar” to the names of other business entities. Using the entity search should give you a good start in choosing the right name for your business.

Another aspect for entity search is to get relevant information about a business or file forms. This remains relevant to the general public as well as to business owners. Quick access to several forms and features makes this quite a useful option.

Accessing And Using Wisconsin Business Entity Search

For most states, it’s the office of the Secretary of State that handles the business entity search. As such, in general nomenclature (though incorrect), it’s often called Wisconsin secretary of state business search. As noted, the database is maintained by WDFI and is available on its website.

The options available are:

  • Search by business name
  • Search by business ID
  • Check name availability

The page mentions that you can use it to search corporate records. As with other states, the Wisconsin corporate search includes a search of all business entities, not just corporations.

Using Search By Name

This is a pretty straightforward and self-descriptive option. You enter the name of the entity you want to search and click on search records. If you enter the full name of an entity, it works as an exact search and delivers the entity matching the records.

However, if you enter the partial name of an entity, the search automatically makes use of wildcards to present the most relevant results. This way, the search is easy and quick to present results. It’s also great for checking name availability and to look for potentially similar names.

Using Search By ID

Search by ID is a simple and straightforward mechanism to deliver an exact result. This method uses the business ID of a specific entity and thus delivers only the relevant result. 

Checking Wisconsin LLC Name Availability (Also Relevant For Other Entities)

Wisconsin business entity search includes a section to check for name availability. To use this, you can enter the name you wish to pick into the search box. The search tool compares it with existing names and lets you know if the name is available for use. 

Is There A Wisconsin Secretary Of State Business Search?

The role of maintaining the business database in Wisconsin belongs to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. As such, the Wisconsin SOS doesn’t maintain a separate database for business search. 

Understanding The Results Of Wisconsin Business Search

Once you start the search, you’ll see the results page showing relevant entities. This page shows entity business ID, name and type, registered date, and status.

Clicking on the business name opens a page with more detailed information on the chosen business entity. This includes general information like entity name, type, status, and annual form requirements. Information is also available on filing history, name history, etc. Additionally, you get the address of the registered agent and principal office of the entity from this page.

Business owners can visit the information page of their business to perform certain administrative tasks. These include:

How To Reserve A Business Name In Wisconsin

Securing a business name can make things very convenient for your business plans. Given the naming requirements for businesses, it can be tough to reach a name that’s both unique and attractive. If you find a name like that, there’s a chance someone else might grab it while you’re preparing to file for registration or to start your business.

Name reservation allows you the opportunity to keep a business name for some time, without actually having to form a Wisconsin LLC or another business entity.

Is It Mandatory To Reserve A Name In Wisconsin?

No, you don’t have to reserve a name for your business in Wisconsin. This is entirely optional and depends on your preferences. It should be noted, if you aren’t concerned about name availability, it might be better not to spend time and resources or name reservation. 

How Long Does Name Reservation Last And What Does It Cost?

Once the state accepts a name reservation request, the name is held for 120 days. The filing fee for this form is $15. If you need to, it’s possible to file a name renewal for another 120 days. This too requires a filing fee of $15. 

It’s best to be strategic with name reservations so that you can make the best from the available options.

Reserving A Business Name In Wisconsin

To go ahead with reservation, you’ll have to file a Name Reservations Application with the Department of Financial Institutions. Payment for the required filing fee can be made by check or money order made payable to “Department of Financial Institutions”. 

Once you’ve completed the form and prepared the payment, mail the documents to:

Department of Financial Institutions
P O Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707-7846

Conventional filing can take 4-5 business days to process. If you’d like your name reservation to be completed sooner, you can file for expedited service. This costs an additional $25 and should be included with the original payment. Expedited service lowers the processing time to 24 hours.