Exemption for Services Performed During a Disaster Period by Electric Cooperatives and Telecommunications Utilities

(2017 Wis. Act 290, create sec. 77.54(68), effective retroactively on January 1, 2017)

A sales and use tax exemption is created for the sale of and the use or other consumption of a service provided by an electric cooperative to another electric cooperative, or by a telecommunications utility to another telecommunications utility, for disaster relief work performed during a disaster period.

Electric cooperatives and telecommunications utilities that purchased services that meet the exemption criteria and were performed between January 1, 2017, and April 17, 2018, upon which sales tax has been remitted to the department, may be eligible for a refund. To submit a claim for refund, purchasers must submit a completed Form S-220 or file electronically through My Tax Account for a Buyer's Claim for Refund directly with the department. (See Publication 216 for more information on filing a Buyer's Claim for Refund.)

The claim for refund must substantiate that the purchased services meet the exemption criteria including:

  • Purchaser and service provider are qualifying electric cooperatives or telecommunications utilities
  • Services purchased were "disaster relief work"
  • A "state of emergency" existed:
    • A mutual aid agreement was invoked between cooperatives or utilities; AND
    • At least 20 percent of the electrical or telecommunications system was nonoperational
  • Service occurred within a "disaster period" defined below

"Disaster period" means the time that begins 10 days before a state of emergency and ends 60 days after the state of emergency ends.

"Disaster relief work" means work, including repairing, renovating, installing, building, or performing other services or activities, relating to infrastructure in Wisconsin that has been damaged, impaired, or destroyed in connection with a state of emergency.

"Electric cooperative" means a cooperative association organized under ch. 185, Wis. Stats., that carries on the business of generating, transmitting or distributing electric energy to its members at wholesale or retail.

"State of emergency" means the time when an electric cooperative wishing to receive services from another electric cooperative or a telecommunications utility wishing to receive services from another telecommunications utility invokes a mutual aid agreement and at least 20 percent of the electrical or telecommunications system is nonoperational.

"Telecommunications utility" means any person, corporation, company, cooperative, unincorporated cooperative association, partnership, association and lessees, trustees or receivers appointed by any court that owns, operates, manages or controls any plant or equipment used to furnish telecommunications services within the state directly or indirectly to the public. "Telecommunications utility" does not include a telecommunications carrier.

April 30, 2018