How to Check Corporation Name Availability in Wisconsin

Woman doing a Wisconsin corporation name search on her computer.

Before you form a corporation, you’ll need to complete a business name search with the Wisconsin Corporate Records Search tool to check if your corporation name is available.

We'll show you how to check corporation name availability in Wisconsin in this guide.

Or, use a professional service:

4.7 out of 5 stars ZenBusiness ($49 + state fee)

Wisconsin Corporation Name Search

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions requires all business names to be distinguishable from other business entities in the state. So, you’ll want to search and make sure no other businesses in the state are already using your name.

It is also useful to see if your corporation name is available as a web domain (URL).

SKIP AHEAD:

  1. How to Register a Corporation Name in Wisconsin
  2. Wisconsin Corporation Name Requirements
  3. Wisconsin Corporation Name Search FAQ

How to Search Available Wisconsin Corporation Names

Once you know your corporation name meets Wisconsin business name guidelines, make sure it’s available by using the Wisconsin Corporate Records Search tool.

Want to learn more about corporations? Check out our What Is a Corporation guide to get started.

How to Check Available Domain Names

When deciding on a name for your corporation, you should make sure that a similar or exact domain name is available. A matching URL will help potential customers find your corporation faster.

Find a Domain Now

How to Register a Corporation Name in Wisconsin

Register Your Name

A corporation name is officially registered when you file your Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation. You can hire a professional service to form a corporation for you or start a corporation yourself.

Ready to register your corporation name? Use our Form a Corporation guide to get started.

If you want to register a DBA in Wisconsin, known as a trade name, that’s a separate process that requires filing a separate form with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Reserve Your Name

While not required, you have the option to reserve your corporation name in Wisconsin for up to 120 days before you register it. This prevents other businesses from registering your name until you are ready to register it yourself. 

Name reservations can be filed by mail with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee is $25.

Need Help Forming Your Corporation? ZenBusiness will get you started.

Wisconsin Corporation Name Requirements

Key Guidelines

Wisconsin has official requirements for its corporation names.

The name must contain the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited” or an abbreviation of one of these terms.

There are also restricted words, such as “FBI” or “Treasury,” that you cannot use in order to keep your LLC from sounding like an official institution.

Wisconsin also has the following restrictions for corporation names:

  • The name cannot imply that the corporation was organized for any unlawful purpose or one not outlined in its Articles of Incorporation.
  • The word "insurance" is prohibited in a corporate name unless the name makes clear that the corporation is not an insurance company. 
  • Corporations must meet certain requirements to use words that give the impression it is engaged in the business of architecture, professional engineering, or designing.
  • The word "cooperative" may be used only in the name of an approved cooperative association.

For more information, check out the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website.

Distinguishability

Your name must be distinguishable from all other Wisconsin business names. In Wisconsin, a distinguishable name is one that is substantively different from all other existing or reserved business names in the state.

The following differences do NOT make a name distinguishable in Wisconsin:

  • Possessives and plurals
  • Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions
  • Numbers and letters
  • Business entity type identifiers

If your corporation name isn’t distinguishable, your Articles of Incorporation filing will likely be rejected.

What if my corporation name is already taken? Our AI-powered corporation name generator will give you thousands of new ideas. 

For a list of brainstorming tips, check out our guide to naming your business.

Wisconsin Corporation Name Search FAQ

How do I check if a corporation name is taken in Wisconsin?

You can use the Wisconsin Corporate Records Search tool to see if your business name is available.

Learn more about business entity name availability in the Wisconsin Corporation Name Search section.

Should I name my corporation after myself?

While there’s no rule against naming a corporation after yourself, most experts advise against doing this. 

One of the benefits of starting a corporation is the ability to choose a different name for your business, which can make it sound more professional.

To explore other naming options, use our free AI-powered business name generator.

What words can’t be used in a Wisconsin corporation name?

Business names generally can’t include words that imply the company is a banking or financial institution or that it’s affiliated with a local, state, or federal government agency.

Additionally, Wisconsin corporation names have the following restrictions:

  • The name cannot imply that the corporation was organized for any unlawful purpose or one not outlined in its Articles of Incorporation.
  • The word "insurance" is prohibited in a corporate name unless the name makes clear that the corporation is not an insurance company. 
  • Corporations must meet certain requirements to use words that give the impression it is engaged in the business of architecture, professional engineering, or designing.
  • The word "cooperative" may be used only in the name of an approved cooperative association.

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Wisconsin Corporation Name Requirements section.

Should I use a business name generator?

If you’re having trouble choosing a name for your corporation, a corporation name generator can help you come up with some ideas.

Do I have to include ‘corporation’ in my name?

Wisconsin corporation names must contain the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or an abbreviation of one of these terms

Learn more about corporation naming requirements in the Wisconsin Corporation Name Requirements section.

Do I need to renew my business name in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin doesn't require corporations to renew their legal name, but trade names must be renewed every 10 years with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Can my business name be different from my corporation name in Wisconsin?

Some companies choose to operate under a name that’s different from their legal name. This can either be called a “doing business as” (DBA) name or a trade name in Wisconsin. 

In Wisconsin, trade names for corporations are filed with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Learn more about trade names with our Wisconsin DBA guide.

Does my corporation need a DBA name?

Your corporation doesn’t need a DBA name unless it plans to do business under a name other than its legal name. Learn more with our Wisconsin DBA guide.