Heavy Trucks and Trailers - Claiming a Refund of Tax Paid on the Federal Excise Tax Imposed

The federal excise tax imposed on the first retail sale of heavy trucks and trailers under s. 4051 of the Internal Revenue Code is not included in the retailer's taxable sales price, if the retailer separately states the federal excise tax on the invoice, bill of sale, or similar document that it gives to the purchaser. See the article titled "Change in Taxes Included in Sales Price – Federal Excise Tax on Heavy Trucks and Trailers."

Since this law change took effect retroactively to September 1, 2014, it may have resulted in an overpayment of sales tax. A claim for refund for the overpayment of tax may be filed by the seller or buyer, but not by both. The information below provides the general rules for filing a claim for refund.

Sellers

A seller who paid sales or use taxes in error to the Department of Revenue on the federal excise tax on heavy trucks and trailers may file a claim for refund. A seller choosing to file a claim for refund can amend a previously filed Sales and Use Tax Return through one of the following methods:

A seller is not required to file a claim for refund of the federal excise tax on heavy trucks and trailers and may direct the buyer to request a refund of overpaid tax directly from the Department of Revenue (see "Buyers" below). If a seller is refunded tax and interest by the Department of Revenue for tax collected from a buyer, the seller is required to return the tax and interest to the buyer or to the Department of Revenue within 90 days after the date of the refund.

Buyers

A buyer may file a claim for refund of use tax the buyer paid in error on the federal excise tax on heavy trucks and trailers.

Tax Paid to Seller - If a buyer overpaid tax to a seller and the total tax is at least $50, the buyer may request a claim for refund of overpaid sales or use tax directly from the Department of Revenue, using one of the following methods:

  • If the buyer has filed a buyer's claim for refund in the past – Use My Tax Account
  • If the buyer has not filed a buyer's claim for refund before, file electronically through My Tax Account, select Buyer's Claim for Refund
  • Use paper Form S‑220, Buyer's Claim for Refund of Wisconsin State, County, and Stadium Sales Taxes, (also known as Form BCR). Form S‑220a, Schedule P, Attachment to Buyer's Claim for Refund of Wisconsin State, County, and Stadium Sales Taxes, must be completed and attached to Form S‑220 for each seller to whom the buyer paid sales or use tax in error.

    Note: A buyer may file a claim for refund even if the total tax is less than $50, if the seller has ceased operating business, the buyer is being field audited, or the periods covered in the claim for refund are within the statute of limitations for the buyer but are closed to the seller. See Part III.B.2 in Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax, for more information.

Tax Paid to Department of Revenue - A buyer claiming a refund of use tax paid directly to the Department of Revenue may amend a previously filed Sales and Use Tax Return through one of the following methods:

  • File electronically using My Tax Account.
  • File on paper using Form ST‑12.
  • Send a letter to the Department of Revenue, as described in Part IV.B.2. of Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax.

Tax Paid to Another State Agency - Buyers claiming a refund of use tax paid to another state agency (e.g., Department of Transportation), must submit their request directly to the Department of Revenue, as described in Part IV.B.3. of Publication 216, Filing Claims for Refund of Sales or Use Tax.

September 12, 2017