Nonprofit Law Resource Library
State-By-State Initial Compliance - Wisconsin
Initial Filings for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations
For a general discussion on starting a nonprofit organization, please refer to our article, Starting a Nonprofit Organization.
To Incorporate in Wisconsin
Submit Articles of Incorporation to:Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707-7846 Information: (608) 261-7577
Fax: (608) 267-6813
Web Site: www.wdfi.org/corporations
Filing Fee: $35
To Obtain 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status
Submit Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption to:Note new address:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192 Information: (800) 829-1040
Forms: (800) 829-3676
Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $850 ($400 if revenues less than $10,000/year)
For more information on filing fees, see the IRS website.
To Obtain Wisconsin Franchise & Income Tax Exemptions
Federally exempt 501(c)(3) organizations are automatically exempt from Wisconsin corporate franchise and income taxes and need not apply for exemption.Wisconsin Department of Revenue
2135 Rimrock Road
Madison, WI 53713 Information: (608) 266-2776
Fax: (608) 267-0834
Web Site: www.dor.state.wi.us
To Obtain Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption
Generally, federally exempt 501(c)(3) organizations will qualify for sales tax exemption in Wisconsin. To obtain a Certificate of Exempt Status (CES) number, the organization must submit Form S-103 (CES) along with a copy of the IRS determination letter, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a statement of income and expenses for the organization's most recent accounting period to:Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8902
Madison, WI 53708-8902 Information: (608) 266-2776
Fax: (608) 267-1030
Web Site: www.dor.state.wi.us
To Solicit or Receive Contributions
In order to solicit contributions or have contributions solicited on its behalf in excess of $5,000 in Wisconsin, a 501(c)(3) organization must register with the Department of Regulation and Licensing by submitting the Charitable Organization Registration Statement along with Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, and a statement explaining how the organization will use the contributions received to:Department of Regulation & Licensing
PO Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935 Phone: (608) 266-2112
Fax: (608) 261-7083
Web Site: drl.wi.gov/index.htm
Filing Fee: $15
Notes: If contributions* received > $5,000: Submit Form #308 with filing.
If contributions received are between $200,000-399,999: Submit review audit, Form #1952, and Form #308 with filing.
If contributions received > $400,000: Submit audited financial statement, Form #1952, and Form #308 with filing.
If contributions received < $5,000: Submit Form #1943 with filing.
If contributions received < $50,000 and the organization only solicited in one community: Submit Form #1943 with filing.
If the organization uses a professional fund-raiser or fund-raising counsel to solicit in Wisconsin, the name and address of said fund-raiser must be provided with filing.
* “Contributions” refers to those either solicited or unsolicited. Also, IRS Form 990 may be filed in lieu of Form #308 (Charitable Organization Annual Financial Report), but must be accompanied with Form #1952.