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Wisconsin Nonprofit Document Requirements

How to Start a Nonprofit in Wisconsin

Are you looking for help understanding and working through various nonprofit compliance requirements in Wisconsin? We can help you register and consistently renew your nonprofit with the state, and/or help with any exemptions if your nonprofit qualifies. Note that in all states, you still have to apply for tax exempt status with the IRS to obtain your 501(c)(3) status in Wisconsin. If you’re not sure how to start a nonprofit in Wisconsin, we’ve provided the following requirements documentation and resources below for your reference. For help getting started, please reach out to us via our live chat customer support or by phone. We are here to help!

Wisconsin State Registration Documents



Articles of Incorporation

Business Entity Search



Average Processing Time

5-7 Business Days

Electronic Filing?


Charity Registration

State Requirement?


Charity Registration Search



Renewal Requirement?


990 EZ Requirement?


Annual Report

State Requirement?



Annually, by the last day of the quarter in which the organization was originally incorporated, beginning the year following incorporation.



Other Exemptions

State Income Tax


Sales Tax Exemption

Not exempt

Tax Returns

All organizations (except those classified as churches) are required to file an annual 990 form (990N, 990EZ, 990 or 990PF) to be exempt from Income Tax.

The 990 return is due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the organization’s fiscal year.

Failure to file for 3 consecutive years could cause your organization lose tax-exempt status.

A Guide for Wisconsin Nonprofit Organization 

To get started as a nonprofit in Wisconsin, you will need your articles of incorporation and $50 in initial fees. To file your articles of incorporation, be sure to have the following ready: 

  • Three directors for your board, at minimum.
  • An individual or corporation that acts as your registered agent and agrees to accept legal documents in the event your nonprofit corporation is sued. They must have a non-P.O. box address in Wisconsin.
  • Your corporation’s name and address for its registered office in Wisconsin, as well as for its registered agent.
  • Your incorporator’s name and address.
  • State-compliant bylaws that have been approved at an organizational meeting with your board of directors
  • A federal employer identification number (EIN).

Wisconsin Nonprofit 501(c)(3) Filing Requirements

To obtain tax exempt status for your Wisconsin nonprofit, you must complete and file IRS Form 1023, and include the following information on your articles of incorporation:

  • A statement reading, “This Corporation shall be a nonprofit corporation.”
  • A second statement that the corporation will not have any capital stock.
  • A statement of purpose that meets IRS requirements.
  • Additional statements that show your corporation will not engage in activities unrelated to its exempt purposes or in prohibited political or legislative activity.
  • A dissolution provision that shows proper asset distribution to another 501(c)(3) organization or the government upon dissolution.

All Wisconsin nonprofits are required to file an annual report with the State due on the last day of the quarter in which the organization was originally incorporated, and pay a $10 fee. If you could use a guide for Wisconsin nonprofit organizations or aren’t sure how to start your nonprofit in Wisconsin, contact us today

Let BryteBridge Nonprofit Solutions Do Your Heavy Lifting

Partnering with BryteBridge Nonprofit Solutions allows you to focus on the heart of your philanthropic causes and initiatives, letting us do the heavy lifting for you to help you start, grow, and maintain your nonprofit. Learn more about our nonprofit startup solutions today and get in touch with us to get started.