Where is my refund of Wisconsin tax?
If you have any questions regarding your corporation franchise or income tax refund, you may call (866) 947-7363 or check online at
What kind of corporate tax does Wisconsin have, and what are the tax rates?
Wisconsin has both a franchise tax and an income tax. However, only one tax is imposed against a corporation in a taxable year for the privilege of exercising its Wisconsin franchise or for doing business in Wisconsin. The Provisions of the franchise and income taxes are nearly identical. The primary difference is that federal obligations are subject to franchise tax but not income tax.
Franchise tax applies to:
- All domestic corporations (those organized under Wisconsin law) with nonexempt income and
- Foreign corporations (those not organized under Wisconsin law) doing business in Wisconsin, except where taxation is exempted by statute or barred by federal law.
The tax rate is 7.9%.
Income tax applies only to foreign corporations not subject to the franchise tax and own property in Wisconsin or whose business in Wisconsin is exclusively in foreign or interstate commerce. The tax rate is 7.9%. Income from obligations of the United States government and its instrumentalities isn't included in income under the income tax law.
Estimated Tax for Corporations: Corporations must make estimated franchise or income tax payments if their current-year tax liability will be $500 or more, unless they owed no tax for the previous 12-month taxable year
and their Wisconsin net income is less than $250,000 for the current taxable year.
Who is required to file a Wisconsin corporation franchise or income tax return?
Every corporation organized under the laws of Wisconsin or licensed to do business in Wisconsin (except certain organizations exempt under secs. 71.26(1) or 71.45(1), Wis. Stats.) is required to file a Wisconsin corporate franchise or income tax return, regardless of whether or not business was transacted. Unlicensed corporations are also required to file returns for each year they do business or have certain business activities in Wisconsin.
Who Must File
- Corporations organized under Wisconsin law and whose income is not exempt.
- Foreign corporations licensed to do business in Wisconsin and whose income is not exempt.
- Unlicensed corporations doing business in Wisconsin.
- Foreign corporations having an interest in a partnership that does business in Wisconsin.
- Publicly traded partnerships treated as corporations in section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
- Limited liability companies (LLCs) treated as corporations for federal income tax purposes.
- Corporations that derive income from the sale of or purchase and subsequent sale or redemption of lottery prizes if the winning tickets were originally bought in Wisconsin.
- Corporations and associations with exempt income under secs. 71.24, 71.26(1), 71.45(1) having gross income of $1,000 or more from a regularly conducted unrelated trade or business (UBTI).
- Corporations that are completely inactive in and outside Wisconsin not filing Form 4H.
Who is not required to file a Wisconsin corporation franchise or income tax return?
- Corporations and associations whose income is exempt under secs. 71.24, 71.26(1) or 71.45(1), Wis. Stats., except those with (a) $1,000 or more of UBT as defined in sec. 512, IRC or (b) income derived from a health maintenance organization or a limited service health organization. This includes insurers exempt from federal income taxation under sec. 501(c)(15), IRC, town mutual insurers organized under Chapter 612, Wis. Stats., foreign insurers, domestic insurers engaged exclusively in life insurance business, domestic mortgage insurers, some cooperatives, and religious, scientific, educational, benevolent, or other corporations or associations of individuals not organized or conducted for profit.
- Unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) is income derived from any trade or business regularly carried-on and is not substantially related to the organization's exempt purpose or function (aside from the need of the organization for income or funds or the use it makes of the profits).
- Corporations that are completely inactive in and outside Wisconsin and have filed Form 4H.
- Credit unions that don't act as a public depository for state or local government funds and have filed Form CU.
- Foreign businesses whose only Wisconsin income comes from work performed during a declared state of emergency.
Registration and Filing Requirements for Organizations with exempt income.
- Organizations with exempt income that do not have UBTI are not required to file Wisconsin franchise or income tax returns. However, these organizations may be required to:
- File an Application for Business Tax Registration,
Form BTR-101, with the Department of Revenue.
- Comply with sec. 71.64, relative to withholding and remitting income tax from the wages of employees.
- Register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
- Charitable organizations,
- May apply for a Certificate of Exempt Status (CES) number when applicable.
- Must register with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. In addition, these organizations must file a
Charitable Organization Annual Report,
Form 308, or an
Affidavit in Lieu of Annual Financial Report,
Form 1943, with the Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Corporate and Consumer Services.
- For additional information, you may refer to Charitable organization registration and reporting.
What are the filing requirements for a Wisconsin Homeowners Association?
Federal Form 1120H allows a homeowner's association not qualifying as a nonprofit organization to exclude exempt function income from federal gross income in accordance with an election available under sec. 528, IRC. Section 71.26(3)(p), Wis. Stats., excludes sec. 528, IRC, and provides that for Wisconsin purposes, a homeowner's association is either exempt from taxation under sec. 71.26(1)(a), Wis. Stats., or taxed as a regular corporation.
- A homeowner's association exempt from taxation under sec. 71.26(1)(a), Wis Stats.:
- Is not organized or conducted for pecuniary profit except for the unrelated business income as defined in sec. 512, IRC.
- Does not have a filing requirement if UBTI is less than $1,000.
- Files Form 4T if UBTI is $1,000 or greater.
- A homeowner's association taxed as a regular corporation:
- Is organized or operated for pecuniary profit except for UBTI as defined in sec. 512, IRC.
- Is required to file a Wisconsin Form 4.
Where do I file my Wisconsin returns?
Corporate returns are required to be filed electronically unless an approved electronic waiver is received from the department. Paper filed returns that do not have an electronic filing waiver attached will be returned. Also see
sec. Tax 2.03(3)(b)(1), Wisconsin Administrative Code, for details.
File electronically through the Federal/State E-Filing Program.
What is the deadline for filing my Wisconsin return?
Wisconsin returns are due at the same time as the federal returns.
- Generally, a corporation must file its franchise or income tax return by the 15th day of the 4th month following the close of its taxable year.
- Form 4T, is due at the same time as federal Form 990-T, the 15th day of the 5th month after a nonprofit corporation's taxable year ends.
- Returns for short taxable years (periods of less than 12 months) are due on or before the federal due date.
- A corporation that becomes, or ceases to be, a member of an affiliated group and as a result must file two short period returns for federal purposes must also file two short period returns for Wisconsin. Each short period is considered a taxable year, the same as for federal purposes.
If a return is filed late, without an extension, the corporation may be subject to penalties and interest.
A return is considered filed by the due date if:
- The return is mailed in a properly addressed envelope with the postage duly prepaid,
- The envelope containing the return is postmarked on or before the due date, and
- The return is received by the department within 5 days of the due date.
- The electronically transmitted return is received and accepted.
Note: You can also use certain private delivery services approved by the Internal Revenue Service.
Are extensions available if I can't file my Wisconsin return by the due date?
Any extension allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for filing the federal return automatically extends the Wisconsin due date to 30 days after the federal extended due date.
You don't need to submit either a copy of the federal extension or an application for a Wisconsin extension to the department by the original due date of your return. However, you must include a copy of the federal extension to the Wisconsin return that you file.
If you aren't requesting a federal extension, Wisconsin law provides an automatic extension of 7 months or until the original due date of the corporation's corresponding federal return, whichever is later.
Am I subject to the economic development surcharge?
The economic development surcharge applies to corporations with gross receipts from all activities of $4 million or more. Corporations that must file Wisconsin franchise or income tax returns must pay the economic development surcharge, with certain exceptions. The surcharge doesn't apply to:
- Domestic corporations that don't have any business activities in Wisconsin.
- Foreign corporations that don't have nexus with Wisconsin, unless they are part of a combined group that has nexus in Wisconsin.
- Corporations that have less than $4 million of gross receipts from all activities. "Gross receipts from all activities" means gross receipts, gross sales, gross royalties, the gross sales price from the disposition of capital assets and business assets, gross receipts passed through from other entities, and all other receipts that are included in gross income for Wisconsin franchise or income tax purposes.
- Nuclear decommissioning trust funds.
For more information, refer to
Wisconsin's Economic Development Surcharge.
How do I amend my Wisconsin franchise or income tax return?
To file an amended Wisconsin return, use Form 4, 4T, 5S, or 6 as appropriate, and check the "amended return" box on the front of the return. Include
Schedule AR to explain the changes made. Show computations in detail. If the change involves an item of income, deduction, or credit that you were required to support with a form or schedule on your original return, include the corrected form or schedule.
- If you file an amended federal return and the changes affect the Wisconsin net tax payable, the amount of a Wisconsin credit, a Wisconsin net business loss carryforward, or a Wisconsin capital loss carryforward, you must file an amended Wisconsin return with the Department of Revenue within 180 days after filing the amended federal return.
- You may file an amended return only after the corporation has filed a complete original return. A claim for refund must be filed within 4 years of the unextended due date of the return. However, a claim for refund to recover all or part of any tax or credit paid as a result of an audit must be filed within 4 years after such an assessment. That assessment must have been paid and must not have been protested by filing a petition for redetermination.
What type of permits do I need if I am starting a new business in Wisconsin, and should I be aware of special Wisconsin taxes for corporations?
- Corporations doing business in Wisconsin are required to be registered with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). For more information, you may visit the
DFI website or call them at (608) 261-7577.
- Sales, use, and withholding taxes are common taxes for businesses which require a permit from the Department of Revenue. To obtain more information about these business taxes, you may contact any
Department of Revenue office or call (608) 266-2776.
- If a corporation's franchise or income tax due (including the economic development surcharge) is $500 or more, it generally must make quarterly estimated tax payments using Wisconsin
Corp-ES. Failure to make required estimated tax payments may result in an interest charge. For more information regarding underpayment interest, see Wisconsin
Form U, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Corporations.
- If you have questions about what other permits may be needed for your business, or need assistance in obtaining a permit, visit
If I close my business, should I notify the Wisconsin Department of Revenue?
If a corporation has dissolved or completely liquidated during the taxable year, check the box on the front of the return marked "Final return - corporation dissolved." Include a copy of the corporation's plan of liquidation along with a copy of federal Form 966 with the Wisconsin return.
Generally, the final return is due on or before the federal due date. In most cases, this is the 15th day of the 4th month after the date the corporation dissolved. The tax is payable by the 15th day of the 4th month after the date of dissolution, regardless of the due date of the final return.
How can I make a payment if I do not have the proper Wisconsin forms?
There are several ways a payment can be made.
What records should I keep for Wisconsin tax purposes, and how long should I keep them?
You must keep accurate records to verify items of income, deductions, and credits claimed on your franchise or income tax return. Maintain records in a manner that will allow the department to determine your correct tax liability if requested during an audit.
You should keep copies of your tax returns as part of your tax records. Following is a listing of some of the tax records you should maintain:
Income: Keep sales journals, sales invoices, cash register tapes, financial statements, bank statements, contracts, and other documents to verify income reported on your returns.
Deductions: Keep purchase journals, purchase invoices, check registers, cancelled checks, bank statements, and other documents to verify expenses claimed on your returns.
Apportionment Percentages and Credits: Keep all supporting work papers and other documents used in computing the apportionment percentages and credits claimed on your returns.
Generally, you must keep your tax records at least until the statute of limitations expires for the tax return on which any of those items of income, deductions, apportionment percentages or credits appear. Usually this is 4 to 7 years from the due date of the return, or the date filed, whichever is later.
If you under-report your income on your return by 25% or more, the statute of limitations is 6 years from the due date of the return or the date filed, whichever is later. If the return is false or fraudulent, or if no return is filed, there is no statute of limitations and departmental action can generally be brought at any time.
There are times you should keep records longer:
- You should keep records relating to property you own as long as they are needed to figure the basis of the original or replacement property and for 4 years after a return is filed on which you report any sales or other disposition of the property.
- Net business losses may be carried forward up to 20 years. Taxable years which are otherwise closed to adjustment may be audited for purposes of determining the correctness of a net business loss which is claimed as an offset against income in an open year. If you are claiming a net business loss, you should keep your records for the year of the loss and all subsequent years in which you are claiming a net business loss carryforward. These records should be kept until 4 years after the extended due date or the date filed, whichever is later, of the return on which the last of the net business loss carryforward was claimed.
You should retain a copy of your tax returns indefinitely.