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How to Find Business Records in Wisconsin

Searching for Business Records in Wisconsin

In the State of Wisconsin, the responsibility for maintaining certain public records, including business entity records, has been given to the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Below are some tips on accessing this information over the internet.

What Records Are Maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions?

When corporations and similar business entities are formed, they are required to file documentation of their formation, as well as periodic status updates and documentation of certain changes. These records are maintained for public viewing and much of the information is available to access online.

Additionally, the Department of Financial Institutions maintains UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) records. These documents record security interests given in exchange for loans. Some of the information from these documents can be accessed via the internet.

How Can I Search for Records Maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions?

To begin searching for information on business entities in Wisconsin, start at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website. This can be found at http://www.wdfi.org/ .

To search for a Wisconsin business entity, select the option “Search Business Records” at the left side of the screen. This will take you to a screen bearing the heading “Search Corporate Records.” Enter your search terms in the search window, and then use the radio buttons below the search window to select the type of search to be performed. You may choose “Alphasort,” which will look for important words in the business names from your search terms, “Exact Name” which will look for a business name exactly matching your search terms, or “Old Names,” which will search for the full business name of an old business entity. After entering your search criteria, click on “Search Records.”

The search results will be returned in a list, including the entity name, type, registered effective date, status and status date. Clicking on the business entity name will take you to a page dedicated to that entity and providing additional information, including the entity ID, period of existence, annual report requirements, the registered agent and address, the filing of annual reports, old names of the business entity, and a chronological listing of filed events in the life of the business entity. There is also a link to request a certificate of status for the business entity for a fee.

To search for a Uniform Commercial Code record, from the main Department of Financial Institutions page, select the option “Search UCC Documents” at the left of the screen. This will take you to a screen entitled “UCC Filing Search.” By default you will be taken to the search page allowing you to search by debtor name. However, if you happen to know the file number of the particular record you wish to access, a link at the top of the page will direct you to a screen where you may input this information instead.

A link within the “Search for Debtor Person Name” includes a link to the keying guidelines notice, which provides information about the way that debtor names could be indexed and how this may influence search results. It is necessary to check a box to indicate that you have reviewed this notice before the search can be performed. Additionally, the last name of the debtor is required. You may include a first name, middle name, suffix and city, but these are not required for the search to be performed. Below the search box is another box entitled “Options.” In this box you may select whether you wish to see results pertaining to all records or only active records.

After entering your search information, reviewing the keying guidelines notice and checking the corresponding box, click “Search.” The results list will include the filing office, filing number, debtor name, city, state and effective date corresponding to your search criteria. You may select a box next to the items you wish to view and then click “View Selected” to examine greater details about these items. Alternatively, you may click on the filing number of the desired item to view additional information about that record, including the filing office, filing number, filing type, status, effective date, expiration date, the debtors and secured parties, and a listing of the filing history. A link will also permit you to view the record online for a fee.

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