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General Business Information


When considering whether or not to start a small business, there are several factors to keep in mind while determining where you would start your business. Fit Small Business compiled a 2018 ranking of all 50 states to determine the best states to start a small business, using the following categories:

  • Taxes – This includes corporate, sales, property tax, individual income, and unemployment insurance tax rates. The ranking demonstrates how much you can expect that your business would have to pay in taxes in the state ranked.
  • Labor Market – This category was assessed by including unemployment rates well as education levels (% of adults ages 25 to 34 who have attained at least a bachelor’s degree). This is meant to measure availability of desirable employees and the overall strength of this market in the state ranked.
  • Cost of Living – This includes costs of utilities, grocery, healthcare, housing, and transportation.
  • Quality of Life – This category is based on access to education, physical safety, and healthcare.
  • Cost to Start a Business – Using per capita income in the state ranked, this is meant to evaluate costs to staff your business as well as the per sq. ft/year cost to rent a commercial building.
  • Startup Activity – Meant to illustrate how likely new businesses are to succeed or fail in the state ranked, this represents the # and survivability of new businesses in that state.
  • Access to Capital – This assesses the likelihood of your business attaining startup capital by evaluating the size and # of small business loans granted and by measuring access to capital based on the availability and amount of venture capital funds.

Taking into account these factors, the survey ranked Wisconsin 15th out of the 50 states, with each of the categories above ranked accordingly:

  • Taxes: 38 out of 50
  • Labor Market: 10 out of 50
  • Cost of Living: 22 out of 50
  • Quality of Life: 15 out of 50
  • Cost to Start a business: 6 out of 50
  • Startup Activity: 12 out of 50
  • Access to Capital: 50 out of 50

Madison, Wisconsin, is considered by many to to be in the top 5 places in the US to start a business. Similar to a young Austin, TX, Madison has: talent (college town with the University of Wisconsin being a top 10 Research Institution), access to capital and connectivity (connectors include StartingBlock, gener8tor, and University Research Park), and livability (Madison is focusing on being the fittest city in America and has been in the top 5 cities for a few years). While Madison may be sitting in the front of the class and very popular with millenials, the Badger State overall has a very high percentage of small businesses and one of the highest levels of business survivorship in the nation. Wisconsin is the birthplace of many greats - Frank Lloyd Wright, the Green Bay Packers, Roz Doyle, Georgia O'Keefe, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Orson Welles, to name a few - and it could be the birthplace of your new business.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue
2135 Rimrock Road
Madison, WI 53708
P  414-227-4907

Portal Link

Wisconsin Secretary of State
P.O. Box 7848
Madison, WI 53707-7848
P  608-266-8888

Website Link

Small Business Advocacy
Wisconsin District Office

310 West Wisconsin Ave. Suite 580W
Milwaukee, WI 53203
P  414-297-3941

Website Link

Business Filing Fees

LLC Filing Fee
Incorporation Filing Fee

Tax Information

Tax Type
Rate / Fee
Due Date
Corporate Income Tax
Sales Tax
Due Date:
Last day of the month following the reporting period
Property Tax
Due Date:
March 1
Unemployment Tax
3.05 - 3.25%
Due Date:
The end of the month following the end of each calendar quarter
Annual Report Required?*
*(C-Corp & LLC only)
Corporations - $25 online or $40 by mail. // LLC's - $25
Annually by the end of the registration anniversary quarter. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on February 15, then your annual report is due every year by the end of the first quarter on March 31. The due dates are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.
File Report

Additional Information

New Hire Reporting Required?
E-Verify Required?
Comprehensive State Guide
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