What should I do if I disagree with the changes to my return made by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue?
If you disagree, you may do one of the following:
- Pay the full amount due without filing any appeal and then consider whether to appeal later by filing a claim for refund of the amount you paid.
Note: For all tax types except sales and use tax, the claim must be filed within four years of the audit notice date. See "How to File a Claim for Refund of a Paid Assessment" below. For information on sales and use tax claims for refund, see
Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax.
- File an appeal with the Department of Revenue within 60 days of receiving the notice. This is explained in "Appeal to the Department of Revenue" below.
Note: To stop the accumulation of interest on amounts owed, you may either:
- Deposit the entire amount of the additional assessment, including interest and penalty, if any, with the Department of Revenue when filing the appeal or at any time while the appeal is pending.
You will be paid interest at 3% per year on any portion of the deposit which is later refunded to you.
- Pay any portion of an assessment with which you agree. Such payment shall be considered an admission of the validity of that portion of the assessment and may not be recovered in an appeal or any other action or proceeding.
The Appeal Process
You have six levels of appeal available to you, to be taken in this order:
- Wisconsin Department of Revenue - Resolution Unit
- Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission
- Circuit Court
- Court of Appeals
- Wisconsin Supreme Court
- U.S. Supreme Court
Note: With regard to taxpayers who file joint individual income tax returns which the department adjusts, an appeal by one spouse is considered an appeal by both spouses. Either spouse may appeal an action relating to a joint return. However, a spouse may not appeal an assessment or a denial of a claim for refund issued with respect to a separate return filed by the other spouse.
The Department of Revenue will notify spouses jointly that they may deposit with the department the amount of an additional assessment being appealed to stop the further accrual of interest. If the spouses have different addresses and if either spouse notifies the department in writing of those addresses, the Department of Revenue will send a duplicate notice regarding the deposit procedure.
Appeal to the Department of Revenue
Any taxpayer (or the taxpayer's representative) may appeal to the Department of Revenue if the taxpayer disagrees with a notice of assessment or refund. Follow the instructions in your notice.
- In writing, stating the specific reasons for objecting to the adjustments and including supporting documents
- Filed online, faxed, or mailed to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue
- Actually received by the department within the 60 days, or mailed in a properly addressed envelope with postage prepaid, which is postmarked before midnight of the 60th day and received by the department within 5 days of the 60th day
If an appeal is not filed with the department within the required 60-day period, the department's action is final. If an assessment was received, it must be paid. The only recourse then is to file a claim for refund. This is explained in
"How to File a Claim for Refund of a Paid Assessment".
Appeals may be handled through the mail or by a conference in Madison, Milwaukee, Eau Claire, or Appleton. Taxpayers may represent themselves or may be represented by another person, such as an attorney or an accountant.
The Department of Revenue will notify the taxpayer in writing of its decision on the appeal.
Publication 506, Taxpayers' Appeal Rights of Audit Adjustments for more detailed information.
Appeal to the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission
The Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission is entirely separate from the Department of Revenue.
If a taxpayer disagrees with a decision from the Department of Revenue and wishes to contest it, an appeal must be filed with the Commission. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the taxpayer's receipt of the department's decision.
Note: If the taxpayer chose not to deposit the taxes with the department prior to the time of filing an appeal with the Commission, the taxpayer may, at any time while the appeal is pending before the Commission or a court, elect to either deposit the total taxes and interest with the Department of Revenue Resolution Unit or pay the portion of the assessment not being appealed.
Appeal to the Courts: Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court
A taxpayer or the Department of Revenue may appeal a Tax Appeals Commission decision to the Circuit Court within 30 days after the date of mailing of the Commission's decision. The taxpayer or the department may then appeal the Circuit Court decision to the Court of Appeals, and the Court of Appeals decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
How to File a Claim for Refund of a Paid Assessment
For tax types other than sales and use, a claim for refund must:
- Be filed on an amended return
- Be filed within four years from the notice date
- Include your name and address
- Include your social security number, federal employer identification number, or account number
- Include your reasons for requesting a refund
Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax, for information on sales and use tax claims for refund.
- For all tax types except Excise, send the appropriate amended return to:
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8906
Madison, WI 53708-8906
- Send your claim for refund of paid excise tax assessments to:
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8900
Madison, WI 53708-8900
If you are entitled to a refund, we will figure interest and include it in your refund check.
What You Can Do if Your Refund Claim Is Denied
File an appeal with the Resolution Unit within 60 days of receiving the denial notice as explained in "Appeal to the Department of Revenue" above.