Summer Camps - Tax Treatment

This article provides the current sales and use tax treatment of summer camps. For the tax treatment prior to December 1, 2010, see the article titled "Sales and Use Tax Treatment of Summer Camps Revised."

This article explains the proper Wisconsin sales and use tax treatment of certain sales and purchases made by summer camps (camps). It also explains what camps should do if they have not been properly collecting and remitting the appropriate Wisconsin sales and use taxes, including how to participate in Wisconsin's voluntary disclosure program.

For purposes of this article, it is assumed that the camp is organized and operated with the expectation of making a profit, regardless of whether a profit is actually realized. It is also assumed that the camp holds or is required to hold a Wisconsin seller's permit.

  1. Sales by Camps

    1. Taxable sales by camps include:

      • Lodging if for a continuous period of less than one month.

      • Prepared foods, dietary supplements, candy, and soft drinks.

      • Other tangible personal property such as hats, tee shirts, and souvenirs.

      • Any taxable services enumerated in the Wisconsin Statutes including charges for admission to any amusement, athletic, entertainment, or recreational event or place.

      • Craft supplies.

      • Leases or rentals of canoes, boats, games, or any other tangible personal property.

      • Sales of used equipment.

    2. Nontaxable or exempt sales by camps include charges for:

      • Lessons, instruction, and training.

      • Lodging for a continuous period of one month or more.

    3. Single, Combined Charge by Camps for Taxable and Nontaxable Property and Services.

      • A camp's charge for meals, lodging, and program access for one nonitemized price is not subject to tax. It is presumed that the taxable products included in the price are less than 10% of the total price and the exemption from Wisconsin sales and use tax provided in sec. 77.54 (51), Wis. Stats, applies.

      • The camp is the consumer of all of the property, items, goods, and services provided and must pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on its purchase price of such taxable property, items, goods, and services.

    4. Example: Private Camp provides a 5-day (4-night) summer sports camp. The camp runs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day and costs $500 per participant. The $500 charge is one nonitemized price that includes all instruction, meals, lodging, and a tee shirt. The charge by Private Camp is not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax and Private Camp is the consumer of the items it purchases and uses to provide the lodging and meals and the tee shirts.

  2. Purchases by Camps

    1. Summer camps are the consumers of any taxable products and services they purchase and use in operating the camps and are generally required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on their purchases. However, camps may purchase any taxable products and services they resell to the persons attending the camps and charge the appropriate sales tax on, without paying Wisconsin sales or use tax. Camps are not considered to be reselling the products and services they provide to persons attending the camps for one nonitemized price.

    2. Taxable purchases by camps.

      Click here for a listing of common taxable purchases by camps.

    3. Products and services which may be purchased by camps without paying any Wisconsin sales or use tax if they are resold include:

      • Candy (see also Part II.D. for additional information).

      • Soft drinks (see also Part II.D. for additional information).

      • Craft supplies.

      Resold means there is a separate charge for the item (i.e., the item is not provided as part of the single, combined charge for the lodging, meals, and programs).

      Example 1: Camp purchases candy which it sells to persons attending the camp. The candy is not included in the charge to attend the camp, but instead may be purchased separately, at each camper's option. Camp may purchase the candy without tax because it is resold. The sale of the candy by Camp is subject to sales tax.

      Example 2: Camp purchases craft supplies which it sells to persons attending the camp. The craft supplies are not included in the charge to attend the camp, but instead may be purchased separately, at each camper's option. Camp may purchase the craft supplies without tax because they are resold. (Note: In this example, if the craft supplies were included in Camp's single, combined charge to attend the camp and provided to each camper, Camp is required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on its purchases of the craft supplies.)

    4. Camp's purchases of food, food products, and beverages

      A camp's purchases of candy, soft drinks, dietary supplements, and prepared foods that are included in the single, combined charge to attend the camp are subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax. The camp is the consumer of these items and is required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on them, unless an exemption applies.

      Example 1: Camp purchases candy, soft drinks, raw hamburger, and hamburger buns for meals provided to persons attending the camp. There is no separate charge for any of these items to the campers. Instead, the items are included in the single, combined charge to attend the camp. Camp's purchase of the candy and soft drinks are subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax. Camp's purchase of the raw hamburger and hamburger buns are not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax because the exemption for food and food ingredients applies.

  3. What should I do if I have not been properly charging and remitting Wisconsin sales and use tax on these transactions, as described above?

    1. Camps Registered for Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Purposes

      If you are currently registered to collect and remit Wisconsin sales and use tax, but after reading this article find that you have been doing some things incorrectly, you should file an amended sales and use tax return as soon as possible to either obtain a refund you are entitled to or to report the additional sales or use tax you owe. Amended returns may be filed any time within 4 years of the unextended due date of the corresponding income or franchise tax return.

      Example: Camp is a corporation that files its sales and use tax returns on a monthly basis and its corporate income tax return on a calendar year basis (due date is March 15 of the following calendar year). Assuming Camp timely filed its sales and use tax returns, it may file amended sales and use tax returns for periods within the calendar year 2012 until March 15, 2017. For periods within the calendar year 2013, Camp has until March 15, 2018, for calendar year 2014, until March 15, 2019, and for periods within the calendar year 2015, until March 15, 2020.

    2. Camps Not Registered for Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Purposes

      If you are not and have not been registered to collect and remit Wisconsin sales and use taxes, you may take advantage of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's voluntary disclosure program.

      Under the voluntary disclosure program, a person making a voluntary disclosure of past noncompliance with Wisconsin sales and use tax laws may be granted a waiver of penalty and/or reduction in the number of periods for which returns are required to be filed. However, to be considered for such treatment, a person must meet certain requirements, provide a written description of its activities in Wisconsin, and enter into a written settlement agreement with the Department of Revenue. For additional information, see the attached article titled "Voluntary Disclosure – Unfiled Returns."

November 21, 2016