Wisconsin Secretary of State Business Search

The state of Wisconsin makes it relatively simple to look up business information typically found via the website of the Secretary of State. Below we’ll walk through the steps for doing this, and show you some additional resources you might not know about.

There are any number of reasons you might need this information. It’s absolutely critical when performing due diligence and for Know Your Client (KYC) purposes. If you’re only performing these kinds of searches occasionally, Wisconsin’s search portal allows you to find the information you’re looking for quickly and easily. If you’re searching records like these in high numbers, there are some tools you’ll want to know about, but we’ll come back to that in just a moment.

You’ll find this state’s corporate records search hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, here

The very basic landing page, with only a search bar and the information they have and don’t have, looks like this:

Wisconsin secretary of state business search

Things get a bit more interesting when you click the tiny ‘Advanced Search’ link next to the search bar. This brings up a lot more options for filtering your search.

Wisconsin secretary of state advanced search

Here, you can refine your search by:

  • Results that begin with, contain, or are an exact match for your search term
  • Names of the entity itself or a Registered Agent
  • Whether the entity is still in existence or not
  • A search term that matches an old name or the current one
  • The entity type, or legal structure
  • Businesses registered between two dates

Performing a search brings you to the results page, which looks like this:

Wisconsin secretary of state results

The results are delivered all at once, on a single page. They’re sorted by company name in alphabetical order. You cannot reverse the default order, or sort the information by another field.

The results page only shows a very basic level of information. For each entry, you can see the ID number assigned by the state, the name and type of the business, the date the business was initially registered, and the current status along with the date that status last changed.

Clicking on a company name will bring you to the details page for that business. Those pages deliver a lot of information in vertical layout, so let’s look at sections of the page one by one. At the top, you’ll find the typical baseline information for the business:

Wisconsin secretary of state details page

Most of the information in this section repeats what you saw on the results page – the status of the business and important dates, the type of business, the date it was registered. The additional piece of information here is names and contact information for the principals and Registered Agent.

Scrolling down further, you’ll see the list of documents on file for the company – the Annual Reports, in this case.

Wisconsin annual reports

Fun fact: records previous to 2000 are stored on microfilm, before they began storing on the database.

Finally, scrolling down further, you can view more history for the business:

Wisconsin document images

Here, you can see names of additional Officers and Directors, and old names for the business (where there are any), and the chronology of changes to the business, along with the related forms. It’s possible to order copies of any of these documents on file, for a fee.

Need More Information, More Quickly?

Wisconsin offers only basic business information at no cost, and the search functionality is limited. If you need to search for hundreds – or even thousands – of these records each month, this would quickly consume a lot of time. Furthermore, Secretary of State data is different from one state to another, so combining and integrating data from multiple states is complex.
Cobalt Intelligence gives you the ability to quickly access Secretary of State business data from Wisconsin and all other states via API. If you’re looking for a solution that your engineering team can implement, try it here and let us show you how we can help. If you’re technically minded, watch this short video to see the more advanced features in action.