Wisconsin Sales Tax Rates

Total Range for 2024

5%–5.6%

Wisconsin department of revenue logo

Why do you need to collect sales tax in Wisconsin?

If you’re selling goods and services in Wisconsin then sales tax might apply! To determine your obligation, you need to understand “nexus,” which ties businesses to states for tax purposes.

Two types of nexus exist:

  1. Physical Nexus: Having a physical presence, like an office, warehouse, or employees in Wisconsin, triggers this type. If you do, you likely need to collect sales tax.
  2. Economic Nexus: This kicks in when your sales within Wisconsin exceed a certain economic threshold. Even without a physical presence, surpassing this threshold requires collecting sales tax.

Is what you’re selling taxable in Wisconsin?

Now that you understand the basics of Wisconsin’s sales tax and nexus thresholds, let’s delve into whether your specific products or services are taxable.

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How to register for sales tax in Wisconsin

There are two ways to register for a sales tax permit in Wisconsin:

  1. Online Registration (Preferred Method):
  • This is the quickest and easiest way to register.
  • Head to the Wisconsin Business Tax Registration website
  • Click on “Apply Online” and then select “Register with Department of Revenue.”
  • Follow the prompts to apply for your Seller’s Permit with the state.
  1. Paper Application:
  • If you can’t register online, you can use the paper application process.
  • Download the Application for Wisconsin Business Tax Registration (BTR-101) from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s website
  • Fill out the form completely and mail it to the address provided on the form.

How to collect for sales tax in Wisconsin

Collecting the Sales Tax:

  1. Add the Sales Tax to the Sales Price: During checkout, add the appropriate sales tax rate (based on the customer’s location) to the sales price of your goods or services.
  2. Clearly Show the Breakdown: On your invoice or receipt, clearly show the breakdown of the sales price, the amount of sales tax collected, and the combined total price.
Example:
  • You sell a hat for $15 to a customer in Huntington, WV with a 6.5% combined rate.
  • Sales tax: $15 (price) x 6.5% = $0.98
  • Final price: $15 + $0.98 = $15.98

FAQs

Do you have a physical nexus in Wisconsin?

A business has a physical nexus in Wisconsin, which triggers sales tax collection obligations, if it has any of the following in the state:

  • Physical Presence:
    • An office or place of business (storefront, warehouse, etc.)
    • Employees who regularly work in Wisconsin (even if they work remotely for part of the time)
    • Inventory stored in a Wisconsin warehouse
    • Ownership of real property (land, buildings) or personal property (vehicles) located in Wisconsin
Do you have an economic nexus in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has a $100,000 economic nexus threshold (as of April 2024). This means if your gross sales of taxable goods or services delivered into Wisconsin exceed $100,000 in either the current or previous calendar year, you have economic nexus and are required to collect and remit sales tax on your Wisconsin sales.

What is use tax in Wisconsin?

You generally owe use tax on taxable items you purchase out-of-state and bring into Wisconsin for use, storage, or consumption. This applies if:

  • You buy an item from an out-of-state retailer who doesn’t charge you Wisconsin sales tax.
  • You buy an item from a private seller (like online marketplaces) and don’t pay sales tax.

Use Tax Rate:

The use tax rate in Wisconsin is the same as the combined state and local sales tax rate applicable to where you’ll use the item.

Do you need a seller/reseller permit?

In Wisconsin, a seller’s permit, also known as a sales tax permit, is required for most businesses that sell taxable goods or services to collect sales tax from customers.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Need a permit:
    • Retail businesses selling taxable goods (stores, online retailers, some event vendors)
    • Businesses providing taxable services (services resulting in creating taxable products)
  • Might not need a permit:
    • Wholesalers selling for resale (use resale certificate)
    • Businesses selling only sales tax exempt items (groceries, medicine)
How to get a sales tax permit/license in Wisconsin?

To get a sales tax permit (seller’s permit) in Wisconsin, you can do it online or by mail:

  • Online (Preferred): Apply through the Wisconsin Business Tax Registration website.
  • Mail: Download and complete the BTR-101 application and mail it to the Department of Revenue.

Information you’ll need:

  • Reason for application (Sales Tax Permit)
  • Business details (name, address, type)
  • Start date for collecting sales tax
  • $20 registration fee

After applying:

  • Online: Receive an access code within 48 hours to manage your permit.
  • Mail: Receive your permit by mail within a few weeks.
When are Wisconsin's Returns Due?

Wisconsin sales tax returns are due on the last day of the month following the reporting period.

Here’s a breakdown for clarity:

  • Reporting Period: This is the timeframe for which you track your sales and sales tax collected. It can be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your sales volume determined by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR).
  • Due Date: The deadline to file your sales tax return and submit your collected tax falls on the last day of the month following the reporting period.
How to file sales tax in Wisconsin

Wisconsin offers two ways to file your sales tax return:

  • Online Filing (Preferred): This is the quickest and easiest method. You can file and pay your sales tax electronically through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s website: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx.
    • The website offers a user-friendly interface to enter your sales data and submit payment.
    • The DOR website allows you to submit your return and pay electronically using various payment methods.
  • Paper Filing: You can download the paper Sales and Use Tax Return (Form ST-12) from the DOR’s website
    • Fill out the form manually and mail it to the DOR address mentioned on the form, along with your payment.
Is anyone exempt from sales tax in Wisconsin?

Here’s a breakdown of these exemptions:

Exempt Goods:

  • Common exempt goods include:
    • Groceries (excluding prepared food)
    • Prescription drugs and medical devices
    • Clothing and footwear (with some exceptions)
    • Printed publications (books, newspapers, magazines)
    • Farm and agricultural supplies

Exempt Customers:

  • Some common examples of exempt customers include:
    • Government Agencies: Federal, state, and local government agencies are generally exempt from paying sales tax on purchases made for governmental purposes.
    • Qualifying Non-profit Organizations: Non-profit organizations registered with the IRS as 501(c)(3) organizations may be exempt from sales tax on purchases used exclusively for their charitable or educational purposes.
      • They typically need to obtain a sales tax exemption certificate from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
    • Certain Businesses:
      • Wholesalers: Wholesalers who purchase goods for resale typically don’t pay sales tax if they provide a valid Wisconsin resale certificate to the seller.
      • Manufacturers: Manufacturers who purchase materials and equipment used directly in the manufacturing process might be exempt from sales tax.

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