How to File a Wisconsin DBA Online in 2024

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    If you’re interested in understanding the importance of DBA registration in Wisconsin and the steps involved, you’ve come to the right place.

    In Wisconsin, a DBA or “doing business as” allows business owners to adopt an alternative business name for various purposes, such as marketing, sales, and legal matters. In some states, this may be referred to as a fictitious name, assumed name, trade name, or similar terminology.

    Unlike a Limited Liability Company (LLC), registering a DBA doesn’t show a formal business structure or offer comparable benefits. Many times, registering an LLC in Wisconsin can be more helpful due to tax benefits and legal protections.

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    What Is a Wisconsin DBA?

    A Wisconsin DBA, also known as a trade name, provides an alternative name that can be used by any type of business operating in Wisconsin. By using a DBA, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) or corporations can either abbreviate their legal business name or expand their range of offerings without the need to establish a separate entity.

    For sole proprietors whose legal business names consist of their full names, a DBA enables them to adopt a professional-sounding or industry-relevant business name that aligns with the products or services they provide. Similar to your legal business name, you can use DBAs for various purposes, including:

    • Advertise 
    • Create websites and social media accounts 
    • Setting up a point-of-sale system
    • Opening a business bank account

    Please note that a DBA is merely a title for your business and doesn’t constitute an actual business entity. When you have a DBA, you’ll still be required to file taxes using your legal business name and existing EIN (or SSN if you’re a sole proprietor).

    If you desire stronger protection for your trade name, it may be wise to contemplate registering a trademark at the federal level. Obtaining a trademark for your business name can enhance your claim of ownership in the event of any trade name disputes.

    Do I Need a DBA in Wisconsin?

    To comply with Wisconsin regulations, any business entity operating as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), or an out-of-state company conducting regular business in Wisconsin using a name other than their legal name must submit a DBA filing to the Wisconsin Secretary of State.

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    Why Hire a Professional Service to File a DBA in Wisconsin? 

    Successfully registering a DBA in Wisconsin requires careful navigation through several essential steps. 

    Each step is crucial in ensuring a smooth and error-free registration process. Any mistakes made during these procedures could lead to the rejection of your application or even more severe consequences.

    In Wisconsin, state authorities can impose fines or shut down your business if you improperly use a name in legal or business contexts. It’s advisable to engage professional services to avoid any uncertainties or concerns associated with the DBA process.

    These professional services have an in-depth understanding of Wisconsin’s specific requirements and can assist you in selecting an optimal name before initiating the necessary paperwork. These companies offer various valuable services, including LLC filing, which can be highly beneficial as your business expands.

    After conducting thorough research, we have identified the top professional services that cater specifically to meeting your DBA needs in Wisconsin:

    How to Get a DBA in Wisconsin

    To initiate registering a DBA, obtain a Wisconsin seller’s permit. If your business has been operating for some time now, you already possess one. Any business engaged in retail sales in Wisconsin is obligated to obtain this permit.

    For those who have already filled out the Application for Wisconsin Business Tax Registration, it may have come to your attention that there’s an option provided to list a trade name. However, this doesn’t equate to officially registering your DBA. To successfully register your DBA in the state of Wisconsin, certain steps need to be followed:

    1. Create an Online Account

    If you haven’t yet opened an account with Wisconsin’s UCC and Trademark filing system, it’s recommended that you do so now. By having an online account, you can search for trademarked names and simplify registering a DBA. 

    Opening an account is a straightforward process that involves providing your contact details and creating a unique username and password.

    2. See if Your DBA Name is Available

    To begin registering your DBA (Doing Business As) in Wisconsin, conduct a thorough search of the state’s business name records. This step ensures that your trade name doesn’t bear excessive similarity to any other registered entity name. 

    While Wisconsin permits multiple businesses to operate under the same or similar DBA names, it strictly prohibits naming your business after an existing LLC or corporation. It’s crucial to search through Wisconsin’s Trademark Portal to confirm that your chosen trade name has yet to be trademarked within the state.

    The DBA you select must adhere to Wisconsin’s guidelines for business naming. The state imposes certain restrictions on trade names and prohibits their inclusion of specific elements.

    • Refrain from using business entity suffixes such as LLC or Inc. unless your business corresponds to these designations.
    • Avoid incorporating “insurance” unless your business operates within the insurance industry.
    • Don’t utilize words suggesting that your business is structured for illicit purposes.
    • Exercise caution when using terms like “architecture,” “engineering,” or “designing” without the requisite governmental authorization.

    3. Complete the Application

    Access your account and choose the “Register a Trademark” feature. You will need to provide the following details:

    • Legal name of your business
    • Business mailing address
    • EIN or SSN
    • Trade name to be registered
    • List the 2-digit classification of goods and services you will file your trade name under
    • Enter the date you first used or plan to use the trade name (this can’t be more than 30 days in the future)

    Note: Online or in-person filings are the only way to register a trade name. In-person filings can be completed at:

    Trademark Records Section

    WI Dept of Financial Institutions

    4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower

    Madison WI 53705

    4. Finalize Registration and Submit Payment

    After filling out the application, you must print it, have it notarized, and then scan and upload the completed form as a PDF file to your online account. Once this process is finished, you can proceed with submitting your payment.

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    How to Renew a Wisconsin DBA

    Renewing your Wisconsin DBA is a simple process that can be done conveniently online through the UCC and Trademark online filing portal. 

    Accessing your account and navigating the “Renew Trade Mark or Trade Name” section will allow you to initiate the renewal. If you prefer an in-person option, you can submit your renewal application by following these steps:

    Trademark Records Section

    WI Dept of Financial Institutions

    4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower

    Madison WI 53705

    Wisconsin’s DBAs have a duration of 10 years, and to extend your DBA, you must submit the necessary paperwork six months before its expiration. The renewal fee for your DBA is $15.

    Can I Cancel My DBA in Wisconsin?

    You can easily visit the UCC and Trademark website to cancel your DBA and select the “Cancellation of Trade Name/Trademark” form. Complete the form and submit it. The cancellation of your DBA name doesn’t require any payment.

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    Best DBA Filing Services to Register Fictitious Name in Wisconsin – WI DBA

    Discover the top-notch options available for registering a fictional name in Wisconsin.

    Business Rocket logo

    BusinessRocket provides an indispensable service for individuals looking to file a Doing Business As (DBA) in Wisconsin. This platform offers entrepreneurs and business owners a seamless and user-friendly experience.

    Simplifying the often complex paperwork involved in DBA registration in Wisconsin, BusinessRocket provides intuitive online tools and step-by-step guidance.

    The main goal of BusinessRocket is to streamline the entire process, helping individuals navigate the legal requirements while ensuring their chosen business name is unique and compliant with Wisconsin regulations.

    With features like document preparation and filing help, BusinessRocket enables a smooth DBA registration process, supporting individuals as they establish their presence in Wisconsin.

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    Northwest Registered Agent logo

    Northwest Registered Agent is a reliable option for businesses needing various legal services, specifically DBA filings in Wisconsin. 

    As a registered agent service, Northwest provides a physical address that meets the state’s requirements for an alternate business name and offers additional compliance services such as annual report submissions and mail forwarding. 

    This holistic approach ensures that businesses can maintain good standing with the state while relieving owners of administrative responsibilities. By entrusting these tasks to Northwest Registered Agent, business owners can focus on fostering growth and development within their enterprises.

    >> Start Using Northwest Registered Agent >>

    ZenBusiness offers a complimentary DBA name search feature for Wisconsin, enabling individuals to narrow down their options effectively. By providing keywords, ZenBusiness presents suggestions that can serve as inspiration or be directly selected. 

    Once a name is chosen, it takes just ten minutes to provide ZenBusiness with the required information to file on behalf of the user.

    The platform maintains transparency regarding startup costs and provides support after the DBA application process. It offers an array of tools aimed at helping businesses maintain compliance and can assist in managing all financial aspects during tax season each year.

    >> Start Using ZenBusiness >>

    Wisconsin DBA Tax Considerations

    • In Wisconsin, registering a DBA solely alters the name of a company
    • Registering a DBA doesn’t impact the tax status of a business entity
    • A separate Employer Identification Number is unnecessary, as a DBA doesn’t constitute a distinct legal entity
    • The IRS doesn’t mandate obtaining a separate tax ID number for a DBA

    How Much Does a DBA Filing Cost in Wisconsin?

    In Wisconsin, the fee for filing a DBA is $15. A fictitious business name in Wisconsin has no expiration date and doesn’t need to be renewed.

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    DBA vs. Wisconsin LLC

    A Wisconsin DBA is a business name that serves as an alternative identity for your company. A Wisconsin LLC is an officially registered business entity in the state that grants owners protection against liabilities in case of legal action or bankruptcy.

    Obtaining a DBA for your business allows you to assign it a name specifically for marketing, managing bank accounts, and making vendor payments. Conversely, establishing an LLC creates a separate legal entity independent from its owners. 

    This separation affords LLCs their widespread appeal due to the legal protection it offers.Wisconsin DBAs provide business owners with a simple and cost-effective means of naming their businesses. 

    However, this only pertains to the naming aspect and doesn’t bestow any distinct entity status or safeguards against lawsuits. If safeguarding your assets and providing your business with an exclusive name are priorities, forming a Wisconsin LLC would be appropriate.

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    File a DBA in Wisconsin – Frequently Asked Questions

    If you require further information regarding filing a DBA in Wisconsin, please continue reading to discover the solutions you’re searching for.

    Conclusion – File a DBA in Wisconsin

    You can easily and efficiently master filing a DBA in Wisconsin by following our thorough four-step guide. For an even smoother experience, we recommend using the expertise of BusinessRocket. 

    As a trusted service committed to simplifying the DBA filing process, they can be your invaluable partner in establishing and solidifying your business identity. By partnering with BusinessRocket, you’ll save valuable time and guarantee accuracy throughout every stage of the registration process. 

    They’ll provide the tools to streamline your journey and ensure that each step is executed flawlessly. Trust BusinessRocket to be your reliable ally in navigating the complexities of registering your DBA effectively and efficiently.

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