Sales and Use Tax

  1. Am I required to file a Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Return?
  2. How do I report my sales or use tax?
  3. What is the deadline for filing my Wisconsin return?
  4. Are extensions available if I can't file my Wisconsin return by the due date?
  5. How do I amend my sales and use tax return?
  6. How do I file a buyer's claim for refund for sales tax paid in error?
  7. What records should I keep for Wisconsin tax purposes, and how long should I keep them?
  8. Should I notify the Wisconsin Department of Revenue if I close my business?
  9. When is selling a Business or Business Assets subject to sales tax?

  1. Am I required to file a Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Return?
    • Every individual, partnership, corporation, or other organization making taxable retail sales, licenses, leases, or rentals of tangible personal property or providing taxable services in Wisconsin is required to have a Seller's Permit.
    • An out-of-state retailer who is engaged in business in Wisconsin must apply to the Department of Revenue for a Use Tax Certificate and must report Wisconsin use tax on sales to Wisconsin customers. Such out-of-state retailers, if they voluntarily register for use tax, must then collect use tax from purchasers and pay the tax in the same manner as other retailers engaged in business in Wisconsin.
    • Every person who regularly has use tax obligations because purchases are made without sales or use tax being charged by the seller should apply for a Consumer's Use Tax Certificate.

    If you hold a Seller's Permit, Use Tax Certificate, or Consumers Use Tax Certificate, you must file for each "reporting period", even if no tax is due for that period. Your reporting period will be either monthly, quarterly, or annually, as determined by the Department of Revenue. For example, if your reporting period is monthly, you must file a return for each month of the year, regardless if any tax is due for the month.

  2. How do I report my sales or use tax?

    Electronic filing has been mandated for sales tax filers. Options for filing and paying include:

    • My Tax Account. The department's online filing and payment system.
    • Telefile. The department's telephone filing and payment system.
      • Call (608) 261-5340 or (414) 227-3895
  3. What is the deadline for filing my Wisconsin return?

    Returns filed via My Tax Account or Telefile, and payments made by ACH Debit, must be received by 4:00 p.m. (CST) on the due date.

    Returns must be filed by the last day of the month following the end of the reporting period, with one exception. Early monthly sales tax filers are required to file by the 20th of the month following the end of the reporting period. A return must be filed for each period, even if no tax is due for that period.

    Example: An early monthly filer's February sales tax return is due March 20, rather than March 31.

    Note: When the regular due date falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the tax due date is extended to the next business day immediately following the weekend or holiday.

  4. Are extensions available if I can't file my Wisconsin return by the due date?

    You may request an extension of time to file through My Tax Account, by writing the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Registration Unit, Mail Stop 3-80, PO Box 8902, Madison WI 53708-8902, or by faxing your request to the Registration Unit at (608) 264-6884 by the due date.

    The department may grant you an additional month from the original due date of the return to file the return. The department will notify you if the extension is granted. However, if the tax is not paid by the original due date, the tax will be subject to 1% interest per month during the extension period and 1.5% interest per month thereafter. You will not lose the retailer's discount if you pay the total tax due within the extension period.

  5. How do I amend my sales and use tax return?

    Amend your return online using My Tax Account, the department's online filing system. The department will immediately acknowledge receipt of your amended returns filed electronically.

    Additional information regarding filing amended returns can be found in the Form ST-12 Instructions and Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax.

  6. How do I file a buyer's claim for refund for sales tax paid in error?

    A buyer may submit a claim for refund to the Department if (1) the claim for refund totals $50 or more of tax, (2) the seller has ceased operating business, (3) the buyer is under a field audit, or (4) periods covered in the claim for refund are within the statute of limitation for the buyer, but are closed to the seller.

    • Buyer's Claim for Refund -- for refund of tax paid to a seller
    • Buyer's Claim for Refund - for refund of tax paid to another state agency (ex. tax paid with vehicle registration).
    • Seller's Claim for Refund - for refund of tax reported on your Sales and Use Tax Return
      • Amend form ST-12 electronically using My Tax Account
      • If you've received a waiver from electronic filing – use Form ST-12 (check amended form box). Provide an explanation of changes and supporting documents OR
      • A letter requesting a refund will be accepted. Provide an explanation of changes and supporting documents.
    • The department will immediately acknowledge receipt of a refund claim filed electronically.
    • The department will acknowledge receipt of a paper filed refund request normally within 6 weeks.
  7. What records should I keep for Wisconsin tax purposes, and how long should I keep them?

    You must keep adequate records of business transactions to enable you and the Department of Revenue to determine the correct tax due. This includes records of beginning and ending inventories, purchases, sales, canceled checks, receipts, invoices, bills of lading, and all other documents and books of account pertaining to your business.

    If you make retail sales and at the same time are engaged in some other nontaxable business, occupation, or profession, you must keep records to show separately the transactions used in determining the sales and use tax due. If separate records are not kept, the tax may be imposed upon the total receipts from all of your business operations. Additional information regarding record keeping requirements is contained in sec. Tax 11.92, Wis. Adm. Code and Part IX of Publication 201, Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Information.

    If you claim that part or all of your retail sales of tangible personal property or taxable services are exempt from sales and use tax, you are required to keep a record of the:

    • name and address of the person to whom the exempt sale was made
    • the date of sale
    • the article sold
    • the amount of exemption, and
    • the reason that the sale was exempt from tax

    Sales and use tax law provides that all sales are taxable until the contrary is established. The seller has the burden of proving that a sale of tangible personal property or a taxable service is exempt, unless the seller takes a certificate in an approved form from the purchaser which indicates that the property or service being purchased is for resale or otherwise exempt. Additional information regarding exemption certificates is contained in sec. Tax 11.14, Wis. Adm. Code.

    Records shall be preserved and retained for the 4-year period open to audit under sec. 77.59(3), Wis. Stats. If any agreement is entered into to extend the 4-year audit period, the records shall be preserved for that extended period. If a notice of tax determination has been issued to the taxpayer by the department and if the taxpayer files a petition for re-determination, the records for the periods covered by the notice of the tax determination shall be preserved and retained until the tax re-determination has been finally resolved.

  8. Should I notify the Wisconsin Department of Revenue if I close my business?

    Yes. When you (1) close your business, (2) no longer have a sales tax liability, or (3) need a new Wisconsin sales tax number as the result of a change in business entity, you must notify the department using one of the following methods:

    Be sure to provide the last date of sales, your account number, location(s) of your business, and federal employer identification number. Your account will be closed based on the information you provide.

    Note: You must file a final sales tax return within 30 days of the account cease date.

  9. When is selling a Business or Business Assets subject to sales tax?

    The sale of business assets consisting of tangible personal property is subject to sales tax if you hold or are required to hold a seller's permit at the time of sale, except that the sale is exempt if both of the following conditions are met:

    • The sale is of personal property (other than inventory held for sale) previously used by the seller to conduct its trade or business at a location, and
    • The sale occurs after the seller ceased operating the business at that location.

    A sale meeting the above two conditions is exempt from sales and use taxes even though the seller holds a seller's permit for one or more other locations.

    The sale of business or business assets which are subject to tax include:

    • Selling surplus assets of a continuing business.
    • Sales of motor vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, mobile homes not exceeding 45 feet in length, trailers, semi-trailers, all-terrain vehicles, or aircraft.

    For additional information see sec. Tax 11.34, Wis. Adm. Code

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Customer Service Bureau
PO Box 8949
Madison, WI 53708-8949
Phone: (608) 266-2776
Fax: (608) 267-1030
Email: DORSalesandUse@revenue.wi.gov

Page last updated January 21, 2014