Sales or Use Tax on Vehicles Purchased Outside Wisconsin

A motor vehicle purchased out of state and titled and registered in Wisconsin is subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax, in the same manner as a vehicle purchased in Wisconsin (unless an exemption applies).

However, if a vehicle purchased in another state, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is subject to sales tax in that jurisdiction, a credit against Wisconsin sales or use tax due is allowed for sales tax paid to that jurisdiction, up to the amount of Wisconsin tax due (sec. 77.53(16), Wis. Stats.). The exemption may be claimed by noting the Tax Paid to Another State exemption on the Department of Transportation registration form (Form MV-1) and providing proof of payment of the tax. This provision does not apply to tax paid to a foreign country or to territories organized by congress (e.g., Guam).

If the amount of tax paid to the other jurisdiction is less than the amount of Wisconsin tax due, the difference must be paid as Wisconsin tax. However, there is no refund or credit allowed for tax paid to the other jurisdiction in excess of Wisconsin tax due.

The Department of Transportation is required to collect use tax along with titling and registration fees if no ex-emption applies. Therefore it is important to note any applicable exemption when completing the Form MV-1. In order to obtain a refund of Wisconsin sales or use tax paid in error, you must file a refund claim with the Department of Revenue. The claim must be submitted in writing and should include the following:

  • Brief description of the transaction and reason for the refund
  • Legible copy of the Form MV-1. Be sure that the VIN is legible.
  • Proof of remittance of the tax.

Claims should be mailed to:

MS 5-144
Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8906
Madison, WI 53708-8906

April 30, 2017