How to Look up an LLC in Wisconsin? (A Complete Guide)

Delina Chantel Yasmeh
Published by Delina Chantel Yasmeh | Author
Last updated: February 14, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Lou Viveros, Growth & Transition Advisor
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Conducting a Wisconsin business name search is recommended if you are forming a Wisconsin LLC and need to find an available name or seek information about a specific service or business entity.

With over a decade of experience as a business consultant specializing in limited liability companies, I developed a deep expertise in researching and accessing information on Wisconsin LLCs.

I have worked closely with a team of legal advisors to provide a comprehensive guide on looking up a business entity in the state.

This article will aslo share all the information you require for your Wisconsin limited liability company search.

Quick Summary

  • To look up an LLC in Wisconsin, use the Wisconsin Business Name Search on the Department of Financial Institutions website.
  • There are various methods for LLC lookup, including name and entity number searches and contacting the state directly.
  • In 2020, Wisconsin saw over 60,000 LLC registrations, showcasing the LLC structure's appeal, according to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
  • Personally, I find the availability of such detailed and accessible online resources for LLC searches in Wisconsin impressive.


How to Search an LLC Name in Wisconsin?

A person showing a thumbs up while holding a laptop and looking up an llc in wisconsin

To search for an LLC in Wisconsin, search for their business entity name or name availability on the Wisconsin Business Name Search. The platform contains all registered companies in the state.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, in 2020, there were over 60,000 LLCs registered in the state, demonstrating the popularity of the LLC structure among Wisconsin businesses.

Wisconsin LLC lookup would provide you with the following data regarding the company:

You can use many options to search for an LLC in Wisconsin. These options include:

The Wisconsin Secretary of State has a useful platform where users can conduct a business name search, offering various methods to cater to different search needs.

a. Name Search

Go to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website and enter the name in the designated field and click ‘search records’.

You can also determine if your preferred LLC name is available using the 'Name Availability' option.

For more specific results, utilize the advanced search option and include additional information. Lastly, click on the desired business name to access all relevant information about the entity.

b. Entity Number Search

The DFI website also allows searching corporate records, including LLCs, by the DFI Entity ID#. This ID is unique to each entity and can be used for a more direct and specific search.

However, it's important to note that this ID differs from the Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) [1]. According to the IRS, over 10 million EINs are requested each year, highlighting the critical role these numbers play in business operations and tax administration.

Follow these steps:

  • Visit the Wisconsin DFI website.
  • Locate and click on 'Corporate Records' or 'Business Entity Search'.
  • Choose 'Search by Entity Number' or 'DFI Entity ID#.'
  • Enter the specific Entity Number.
  • Click 'Search'.
  • Review the displayed LLC information.
  • Click on the LLC name for more details, if needed.
  • Optionally, download or request additional documents.
  • Contact Wisconsin DFI for further assistance if required.

2. Call the State

Calling the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is an excellent option for direct and personalized assistance. You can reach them directly by dialing +1 608-261-9555.

This approach is particularly beneficial for those who prefer real-time conversations or have complex questions that might be more effectively addressed in a discussion.

3. Send an Email

Emailing the Wisconsin DFI is a convenient alternative, especially if you need assistance outside regular business hours or prefer written communication for record-keeping.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Prepare Your Documents
  • Convert Documents to PDF Format
  • Attachments must be named appropriately. Use the Form Number and the Name of the Entity as the file name.
  • If your submission requires a payment, ensure that you have completed the payment through the Online Order System.
  • Send your email with the attachments to DFICorporations@dfi.wisconsin.gov.

4. Other Wisconsin Business Search Options

Searching Wisconsin business

You can utilize other unofficial Wisconsin business search options to search for available names and existing business entities.

These alternatives include:

a. Credit Bureaus

Credit Bureaus also keep records of businesses registered with the Wisconsin Secretary of State.

These records can be accessed through the credit bureau website with any available information, including LLC name, SSN or EIN, or location.

Credit Bureaus typically charge for this service.

b. Search Engine

A search engine will enable you to locate business entities on a larger scope. You can use your preferred platform to search for a specific business entity by entering the company's name.

c. Social Media

The business name and other crucial information about a corporation or LLC can be found on their social media.

It can be a very effective way to look up business websites and other information about existing businesses. Best of all, it’s free.

Note that not all companies have an online presence.

d. Business Association

Trade associations and community groups can help you look up an LLC and all the information you need about a business. You can look at other LLCs or companies that do business in a similar field.

e. Department of Financial Institutions

If you’re ever unsure where to search for your business name, you can contact the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions to confirm that your Wisconsin LLC name is available.

The representatives help you use the business name search to perform an availability search.

How to Check If A Business Name Is Trademarked in Wisconsin?

Pointing at information on a tablet device

Before finalizing your LLC name, it's crucial to check if it's trademarked.

This can be done through:

1. Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

While the primary role of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is to oversee business name registrations and availability within the state, they can also guide trademark concerns.

  • State-Level Search: Begin by conducting a search through their database to see if your desired business name or a similar name is already in use within Wisconsin. This step is crucial to avoid conflicts with other state-registered business entities.
  • Trademark Inquiry: While they may not provide a comprehensive trademark search, the staff can offer guidance on how to proceed with a trademark inquiry and what steps are necessary if you suspect a potential trademark issue.

2. United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

The USPTO's TESS (Trademark Electronic Search System) is an invaluable resource for a more comprehensive search, particularly at the federal level.

  • Access TESS: Visit the USPTO's official website and navigate to the TESS database. This system provides access to current and pending federal trademarks.
  • Perform Detailed Searches: You can conduct searches using various criteria, including the name, owner, or trademark serial number. It's advisable to try different variations of your proposed business name to ensure a thorough search.
A business man searching for LLC name availability outdoors using a laptop

Here are compelling reasons why conducting a business search is essential:

  1. Legal Compliance: Before registering your LLC, ensure the name doesn't infringe on existing trademarks or business entities.
  2. Due Diligence Before Business Transactions: Verify the legitimacy and status of a business before engaging in partnerships or deals.
  3. Market Research: Understand the competitive landscape by identifying existing businesses in your sector.
  4. Investment Decisions: Investors can use this search to verify the existence and status of a business before investing.
  5. Mergers and Acquisitions: Companies considering mergers or acquisitions can assess the status of potential partners.
  6. Brand Protection and Development: Ensuring your brand is unique and not too similar to existing businesses.
  7. Litigation or Legal Research: Lawyers may conduct searches to find information about a business entity for legal cases.
  8. Consumer Awareness: Consumers might check the legitimacy of a business before purchasing expensive products or services.
  9. Supplier or Vendor Verification: Businesses may search to confirm the existence and credibility of potential suppliers or vendors.
  10. Credit and Financial Assessments: Financial institutions or credit agencies might perform searches as part of their risk assessment.
  11. Domain Name and Online Presence: Ensuring the business name is available for website and social media, aiding in digital marketing efforts.

"Submitting your Wisconsin LLC documents under a name already taken by another business entity in Wisconsin, or one that fails to comply with the state's naming regulations, could result in the rejection of your application."

- Jon Morgan, CEO, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Venture Smarter

Related Articles:

FAQs

Do I Need A Name Reservation For Wisconsin?

You do not need a name reservation for Wisconsin. You can simply file your Articles of Organization with your desired business name.

Does My LLC Need A DBA In Wisconsin?

Your LLC doesn’t need a DBA or Doing Business As in Wisconsin. A DBA allows your LLC to do business under a name separate from its legal name as listed in the Articles of Organization.

What Does Distinguishable Mean For A Wisconsin Business Name?

Distinguishable means that no two Wisconsin businesses can operate with the exact same name.

References:

  1. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers

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