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Wisconsin

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

Wisconsin Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for Wisconsin nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in Wisconsin, annual filing requirements for existing organizations, and employment filings for nonprofits with employees. This page also contains a link to the relevant nonprofit statute for the State of Wisconsin. To navigate to one of these sections, click on the appropriate link on the left of this page.

Our firm is also pleased to provide a complimentary compliance reminder service to remind you when your state and federal filings are coming due. To sign up for this service, click the “compliance reminder service” button to the left and complete our registration form.

Please feel free to call or email us if you have any registration, compliance or other legal needs or questions regarding your nonprofit organization. If you are forming a new organization, you may also be interested in the following additional resources:

Initial Filings for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations

1. 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

2. To Obtain 501(c) Tax-Exempt Status

a. Submit Form 1023 (501(c)(3) organizations) or 1024 (other 501(c) organizations), 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
Form 1023 Filing Fee: $850 ($275 for IRS Form 1023-EZ)
Form 1024 Filing Fee: $850 ($400 if annual receipts will average not more than $10,000 in the first 4 years)

Note: Certain 501(c)(3) organizations, including those with gross revenues at or below $50,000 annually, may qualify to file the online Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption. For more information and to determine if you are eligible for this form, refer to our Form 1023-EZ FAQ.

b. 501(c)(4) organizations formed after July 8, 2016 must file Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4), electronically within 60 days of formation:

Web Site: services.irs.gov/datamart/login.do
Filing Fee: $50 (This fee must be paid through the pay.gov website)

Notes: This filing must be completed by all 501(c)(4) organizations - including "self-declaring" organizations that do not file IRS Form 1024.
For more information about this filing, refer to the IRS website.

3. To Obtain Wisconsin Franchise and 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.revenue.wi.gov

4. 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.revenue.wi.gov

5. 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 Financial Institutions 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 Financial Institutions
PO Box 7876
Madison, WI 53707-7876

Information: (608) 267-1711
Fax: (608) 267-6889
Web Site: www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations/default.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.


Annual Filings for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations

1. Internal Revenue Service

Form: Annual Return Form 990
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0027

Information: (800) 829-1040
Forms: (800) 829-3676
Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $0

Public Charities: Refer to the IRS website to determine which form to file (Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-N).

Private Foundations: Submit Form 990PF, regardless of revenues.

2. Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

a. Form: Charitable Organization Registration Renewal (Online)
Due Date: July 31st (renewal notices should be sent to the organization by the Department of Financial Institutions on or around June 1)

Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7876
Madison, WI 53707-7876

Phone: (608) 267-1711
Fax: (608) 267-6889
Web Site: www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations/default.htm
Filing Fee: $54

Notes: This filing must be completed online.

Filings completed after August 1 and before October 1 are subject to a $25 late fee.

Organizations that fail to file by September 30th will lose their charitable solicitation credential and will need to apply as a new applicant.

b. Form: Annual Financial Report (One of: Form 1943, Form 308, or Form 1952)
Due Date: Within 9 months of organization's fiscal year end

Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7876
Madison, WI 53707-7876Phone: (608) 267-1711
Fax: (608) 267-6889
Web Site: www.wdfi.org/CharitableOrganizations/default.htm
Filing Fee: None

Form 1943 (Affidavit in Lieu of Annual Financial Report)

Submit Form 1943 if organization receives less than $5,000 in contributions annually or solicits only in the county in which the organization is located and receives less than $50,000 annually.

Form 308 (Charitable Organization Annual Report)

May be submitted without a copy of IRS Form 990. Form 1952 (Wisconsin Supplement to Financial Report) This is the most commonly used form. The IRS Form 990 is required to support this form. If contributions received > $400,000: Submit complete audit with financial report. If contributions received between $200,000-$399,999: Submit review audit with financial report. "Contributions received" refers to those either solicited or unsolicited.

Refer to the Charitable Organization Annual Report FAQs for more details on the Annual Report filing.

3. Wisconsin Secretary of State

Form: Annual Report
Due Date: During the calendar year quarter in which the anniversary date of incorporation occurs.

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


Wisconsin Employment Filings

1. To Register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue

Apply for a Wisconsin withholding tax number by completing the Application for Business Tax Registration.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8902
Madison, WI 53708-8902

Information: (608) 266-2776
Web Site: www.revenue.wi.gov
Filing Fee: $20

Notes: For more information, refer to the General Wihholding Tax Questions.

The Application for Business Tax Registration (Form BTR-101) may also be filled out manually and submitted to the address above.

2. To Register with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Apply for an unemployment insurance account number online.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Information: (608) 261-6700
Web Site: dwd.wisconsin.gov

Note: For more information, refer to the Department of Workforce Development's Employer Unemployment Resources.

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