State of Wisconsin Sales Tax The 2016 Wisconsin State Sales Tax

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What is the 2016 Wisconsin Sales Tax Rate?

Wisconsin Sales Tax Rate

5.00%

2016 Wisconsin state sales tax
Exact tax amount may vary for different items

The Wisconsin state sales tax rate is 5%, and the average WI sales tax after local surtaxes is 5.43%.

  • Groceries and prescription drugs are exempt from the Wisconsin sales tax
  • Counties and cities can charge an additional local sales tax of up to 0.6%, for a maximum possible combined sales tax of 5.6%
  • Wisconsin has 816 special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
  • Wisconsin has a higher state sales tax than 84.6% of states

Counties and cities in Wisconsin are allowed to charge an additional local sales tax (up to 0.5%) on top of the Wisconsin state sales tax (72 counties currently take advantage of this additional tax). Prescription medicine, unprepared food and groceries, and newspapers are all exempt from the Wisconsin sales tax (both state and local).
Most foods (except candy, dietary supplements, soft drinks, and prepared foods), prescriptions, and newspapers, among other things, are exempt from sales tax. Although, over-the-counter- medicines are not.

If you are a Wisconsin business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your Wisconsin sales tax return at the 2016 Wisconsin Sales Tax Handbook .

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Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemptions

Wisconsin doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most prescription drugs and groceries. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.

Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. Wisconsin does not treat candy or soda as groceries, which means they are not subject to reduced grocery sales tax rates. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various Wisconsin excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.

In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. The WI sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. Wisconsin's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:

Groceries: EXEMPT Clothing: 5% Prepared Food: 5% Prescription Drugs: EXEMPT Non-Prescription Drugs: 5%
Wisconsin sales tax for a restaurant meal
$100 Restaurant Dinner
Wisconsin sales tax for groceries
$100 of groceries
Wisconsin sales tax for clothing
$100 in clothes
Wisconsin sales tax for general consumer products
$100 of consumer products
$5.00 sales tax
$105.00 total
$0.00 sales tax
$100.00 total
$5.00 sales tax
$105.00 total
$5.00 sales tax
$105.00 total

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Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption Certificate

Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the Wisconsin sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.

Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a Wisconsin state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.

Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full Wisconsin sales tax code) can be downloaded from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue here .

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Wisconsin Sales Tax Calculator

 Sales Tax Calculator
Purchase Details:
$ in zip code Enter the zip code where the purchase was made for local sales tax

Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed Wisconsin retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our Wisconsin sales tax calculator.

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Wisconsin Use Tax [View Main Article]

If you buy goods and are not charged the Wisconsin Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 5% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the Wisconsin Use Tax.

Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a Wisconsin Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your Wisconsin Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the Wisconsin Use Tax have been low.

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Wisconsin Local Sales Taxes

Wisconsin does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The Wisconsin state sales tax of 5% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in Wisconsin here.


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