FIC Research Guides/Bibliographies: How to Form and Operate a Nonprofit Corporation in WI

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How to Form and Operate a Nonprofit Corporation in Wisconsin



Contacts & Forms


Articles of
If necessary, reserve the name of your organization.

The WI Dept. of Financial Institutions:

Phone: (608) 261-7577

Reserves your name, for sixty days, for rights of incorporation.

The state recognizes your organization as an Incorporated Nonprofit Organization.

Employer Identification Number

File with the IRS as a nonprofit, even if you do not have any employees.

IRS Form SS-4

IRS Phone Numbers:

Information: Call: 1-800-829-1040
Forms: 1-800-829-3676

Your organization is assigned an identification number for the IRS to track your reports & 1023 tax exempt application.

Federal Tax Exemption

Determine which section of the IRS code you are applying under.

File with the IRS as a tax exempt organization (preferably within 27 months of incorporation).

IRS Publication 557 & IRS Form 1023 or 1024.

If requesting an advance ruling, obtain & prepare 2 IRS advance ruling forms:
Form 872-C

Recognized by the IRS as exempt from paying income tax on most revenues related to your charitable functions.

Donations made to your organization are tax deductible only if you are a 501 (c)(3) organization.

Wisconsin Tax

Apply for Wisconsin sales tax exemption for purchases & sales (some restrictions apply).

WI Sales and Use Tax Certificate of Exempt Status (CES)

The Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue:

Milwaukee: (414) 227-4444
Madison (608) 266-2776

Makes any purchases for your organization tax exempt. Also allows tax exemption for some organizational sales & events.

Registration & Reporting

Register your organization with the state.

Annually report your organization’s fiscal information.

WI Department of Financial Institutions:


Your organization is officially registered as a charity to solicit funds, do business or to own property in Wisconsin.

Reporting to the IRS

Annually report your organization’s fiscal information.

IRS Form 990

Provide the IRS with a report of income receipts & disbursements.