Everything you need to know about Wisconsin state sales and use tax
What is the sales tax rate in Wisconsin?
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The Wisconsin sales tax rate is currently 5%. In Wisconsin, each county can add sales taxes on top of the state rate.
Taxes in Wisconsin are destination-based, meaning the sales tax rate is based, or determined from, the destination location an item is shipped to. This complicates business for retailers who need to have the exact and up-to-date sales tax rate for every shipment they make.
To see a full breakout of sales tax rates in WI by state, county, city and special district, use our easy Wisconsin sales tax calculator. After putting in any ZIP code, you can enter a retail price to calculate sales tax totals.
What is the use tax in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin state use tax rate is the same as the state rate, but there is no use tax collected for county, city or special districts.
If you reside in WI, use tax is due to the state on any and all transactions where sales tax has not been paid, even out-of-state internet sales.
Who has to pay sales or use tax to Wisconsin?
In general, a business must collect and remit all applicable sales taxes if that business has nexus, a physical presence such as a brick-and-mortar location, within a given state. The presence of an employee or salesperson, delivery by the seller's vehicle, and storage of materials usually establishes nexus as well.
Wisconsin says that an out-of-state seller is required to collect tax if they can be defined as a "retailer engaging in business". Wisconsin does not currently have additional laws establishing nexus for other reasons such as out-of-state businesses using in-state affiliates, advertisers or vendors, or businesses that make internet sales or mail catalogs.
If you are not sure if you have established nexus in Wisconsin, you can usually get free help by contacting the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Click here for an updated listing of direct phone numbers. You could also contact a qualified certified public accountant or lawyer who specializes in tax law in Wisconsin. Click here for listing of recommended resources.
Special rules applying to
sales and use taxes in Wisconsin
- Shipping is taxable.
- Finance charges are exempt from sales tax, when stated separately.
- Clothing is taxed at the same rate as the general sales tax.
- Sales tax holidays are not planned for this state.
Since Wisconsin legislators can vote to change sales and use tax rates at any time, it is very difficult for individuals to keep track of the changes. The population of WI state is also rapidly changing, which can cause frequent updates to the ZIP codes and local municipality names and complicates the job of keeping track of sales tax jurisdictions.