How to File a DBA in Wisconsin

Registering a Wisconsin DBA (doing business as), also known as a trade name, is a simple process that you complete with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Our How to File a DBA in Wisconsin guide will help you get started on branding your small business.

Important!

A DBA is used for branding purposes. A DBA isn't a type of business structure and won't protect your personal assets.

Forming an LLC is the best choice for most small businesses. Visit our DBA vs LLC guide to learn what types of businesses need limited liability protection.

How To Use This Guide

Use our free guide below to file for a DBA in Wisconsin:

Use A Professional Service

A professional service will handle filing your Wisconsin DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

four point eight out of fiveMyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

four point five out of five Swyft Filings ($99 + state fee)

DBA Wisconsin - Learn How to File a DBA in Wisconsin In Two Easy Steps

Step 1: Start With a Wisconsin DBA Name Search

If you haven't already, head over to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s Online UCC System website to make sure your trade name isn't taken by another registered Wisconsin business. Your name can be similar to other business names, but it’s still a good practice to create a unique name.

TIP: Our business name generator tool is a great resource for entrepreneurs who are still working to create the perfect business name or website address.

In Wisconsin, your tradename should not include:

  • Any business entity suffix, such as LLC, Incorporated, Corp., etc unless the business is actually an LLC, corporation, or etc.
  • Any terms given to financial institutions, including: "bank," "banc," "banco," "banque," "banker," "trust company," "savings and loan association," "savings bank," "credit union" or other similar words.

Next, a quick search on the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System will tell you whether someone else has already trademarked your name.

Now would be the perfect time to make sure there’s a web domain available for your DBA as well.

Find a Domain Now

Service provided by GoDaddy.com

After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 2: Register Your Wisconsin DBA with the State

In Wisconsin, you register your DBA with the Department of Financial Institutions. You can file online at Wisconsin's online filing system website, or you can complete the registration of tradename form, which must be notarized.

The application will ask for your new DBA name and information about your business, such as:

  • Your business address
  • Date of the name’s first use
  • Whether it is a new registration or a renewal


Submit Your Registration of Trade Name Form

Walk-In

4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison WI 53705

Mail

Tradename/Trademark Section
Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7847
Madison WI 53707-7847

Fees

  • $15 Filing Fee


Manage Your Wisconsin DBA

DBA Questions

Call the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions: 608-266-8915

Renew Your DBA with the State

Your Wisconsin trade name needs to be renewed every 10 years. You can renew online or by filing the registration form and checking the “renewal” box.

Change Your DBA

You will have to file a new registration to change your trade name. To make changes to your address or other contact information, fill out this change form. Return the completed form to:

In Person: 4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower, Madison WI 53705

By Mail: Tradename/Trademark Section, Department of Financial Institutions, PO Box 7847, Madison WI 53707-7847

Withdraw Your DBA

To cancel your tradename, fill out this cancellation form. Return the completed form to:

In Person: 4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower, Madison WI 53705

By Mail: Trade Name/Trademark Section, Department of Financial Institutions, PO Box 7847, Madison WI, 53707-7847

Need Help Filing Your DBA in Wisconsin?

Have A Professional Service File Your Tradename Registration For You

A professional service will handle filing your DBA on your behalf, allowing you to focus on the other needs of your new business.

We recommend using MyCompanyWorks ($99 + state fee) for a personalized DBA service.

FAQ DBA Wisconsin

Can I file a DBA online in Wisconsin?

You can file your DBA online at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s online filing system website.

How do I change my DBA in Wisconsin?

You will have to file a new registration to change your trade name. To make changes to your address or other contact information, complete the process online or fill out this change form.

How can I withdraw my DBA?

To cancel your tradename, complete the process online or fill out this cancellation form.

How often should I renew my Wisconsin DBA?

Your Wisconsin trade name needs to be renewed every 10 years. You can renew online or by filing the registration form and checking the “renewal” box.

When is a DBA required in Wisconsin?

Tradename registration is optional in Wisconsin.

How do I transfer my DBA in Wisconsin?

You can transfer ownership of your trade name by filing this trade name assignment form.

Is my Wisconsin DBA protected from being used in other places?

There are some state-level laws that prevent DBAs that are too similar to existing ones from being used, but your name is not protected in Wisconsin. It is possible to create a federal trademark for a DBA, which would offer stronger protection across state lines.

How many DBAs can I have?

You can have as many DBAs as you can afford to create and are able to keep track of. However, more isn’t necessarily better. Each one will come with additional incremental expenses and paperwork, so you will want to make sure you have a good reason for each one you have.

Can a DBA get an EIN or Tax ID?

DBAs aren’t required to have a separate EIN because DBAs aren’t a business entity. The business entity that the DBA is under would have an EIN if an EIN is required.

To learn more about EINs and when you would need one for your business, read What is an EIN from our friends at TRUiC.

Can a DBA become an LLC?

Your DBA is just a name. A DBA is often confused with a sole proprietorship. If you mean “can my sole proprietorship become an LLC?” then the answer is “Yes. Absolutely.”

To learn how to form an LLC, visit our Form an LLC state guides.

Can a DBA have "Inc." in the name?

A DBA can only have "Inc." in the name if the business entity the DBA is attached to is a corporation.

How do I set up a DBA for a rental property?

It’s always best to consult an attorney. Usually, the best option is to form an LLC to protect your personal assets in the event of an issue with the rental property. Holding the rental property in your name and with a DBA will not afford you any protection.

Useful Links for Your Wisconsin DBA