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Regulatory Requirements

Regulations for Starting a Business

There are a variety of local, state and federal regulations that can apply to starting a business including everything from local zoning to obtaining a federal tax identification number. The most common areas of concern for new businesses are:

  • tax registration
  • payroll/income taxes
  • incorporation filing requirement
  • business licenses
  • building permits
  • health regulations
  • environmental regulations

State and local licenses may also be required.


State of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Business Helpline: 1-800-435-7287
  • Business Wizard The Business Wizard will guide you through a series of questions to determine which resources and regulatory entities are needed.
  • Business Registration To do business in Wisconsin as C Corporation, S corporation, Limited Liability Corporation or limited partnership, the business must be registered with the Department of Financial Institutions
  • DNR Permit Primer Step-by-step, question-and-answer tour of the DNR regulatory programs.
Federal Government
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
    • All new business with the exception of sole proprietorships is required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.
Local Governments
  • Local municipalities—cities, villages, townships, and counties may have licensing and zoning oversight for existing and new businesses. The business location needs to be zoned for business uses or a conditional use permit may be required. Frequently home based businesses need a permit.
  • Check with your local, municipality, or county economic development organization for specific requirements.

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