What should I know about business licenses in Wisconsin?
With millions of consumers in the state, business owners in Wisconsin are hoping for long-term viability. As a result, the surge of business license applications processed by the state's licensing department is ongoing and expected to continue for years to come.
Although Wisconsin legislators actively promote entrepreneurship and the opening of new businesses in their state, it is still difficult in some cases to obtain a business license. According to members of Madison's city council, a business wanting to sell alcohol in Madison can face a mountain of issues related to obtaining a business license due to hypothetical scenarios involving intoxicated individuals.
In addition to registering with the Department of Revenue, individuals seeking to get a business license will also have to determine what kind of business entity they plan to operate (e.g., nonprofit, sole proprietorship, or LLC), register with the Department of Financial Institutions, and file multiple documents with the IRS.
If your business is going to sell alcohol and/or cigarettes, you'll have to apply for a vendor's license. Several different licenses, such as Class A and Class B liquor licenses, exist to cover your legal ability to sell liquor products.
If documents are submitted with wrong or missing information, the processing of your Wisconsin business license can be delayed for months. The type of business license you seek may also result in delays, endless communication, and resubmission of numerous documents.
Common Wisconsin business license questions
Congratulations on wanting to start your own business! Whether a non-profit or limited liability company (LLC), questions come up in understanding the requirements needed to start a new business in Wisconsin.
Although there is no general business license requirement for the state, some cities and counties do require one, along with other licensing or permits.
There’s no one-size-fits-all as several things are factored in, including the type (LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc) and size of the business you’re starting. You can also decide to file online or by mail. The filing fees for a business license cost from as low as $30 up to $170.
As we said, many licenses can be applied for either online or through the mail. However, tracking down the right licenses can be a lot of work. At Avalara, we’d love to lighten the load in navigating through this process. Let us help you get your business registered.
Licensing information for Wisconsin cities
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