Wisconsin: Sales Tax Handbook
What constitutes sales tax nexus in Wisconsin?
One of the more complicated aspects of Wisconsin sales tax law is sales tax nexus, the determination of whether a particular sale took place within the taxation jurisdiction of Wisconsin, and is thus subject to state (and possibly local) sales taxes.
If a vendor's transactions are determined to have nexus in Wisconsin, the vendor must register for a Wisconsin sales tax license and collect appropriate sales taxes from the buyer for all transactions with nexus in the state. On this page, we have compiled some of the most commonly needed facts about what constitutes sales tax nexus in Wisconsin.
Sales Tax Nexus in Wisconsin
Wisconsin law clearly states that any retailer who's business meets any of the following conditions is considered to be "engaging in business", and legally has tax nexus in the state:
if they have a place of business or an office in Wisconsin, if there is an employee present within the state's boundaries, if the business keeps merchandise in a warehouse within the state borders, or if the business has ownership of personal or real property in Wisconsin.
For additional details on sales tax nexus law in Wisconsin, see the nexus information page from the Department of Revenue at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/forms/misc/a-816f.pdf
Taxation of Internet-Based Sales in Wisconsin
NOTE: 2018 Supreme Court Ruling Regarding Online Sales Taxes
In the 2018 Supreme Court case South Dakota vs. Wayfair Inc, Et Al., the court overturned a previous ruling that required a merchant to have physical nexus in order for a state to collect sales tax. This means that any state is now free to enforce collection of sales taxes on out-of-state online merchants. The information provided here may be subject to change, and many states are expected to begin collecting online sales taxes following this ruling.
Generally, Wisconsin does not charge sales tax on Internet-based transactions determined to have nexus within the state. This means that purchases from Amazon.com and other Internet-based retailers may be sales-tax-free. Sales nexus in the state of Wisconsin is possible to be created when specific circumstances are met, for instance if the date for the website is stored on any server which is both owned by the company and is physically located in the state of Wisconsin
The nexus status and taxability of Internet-based sales, by vendors and/or consumers within Wisconsin, have been the subject of hot debate in recent years. You can learn more on our introduction to Internet-based sales taxes.
Does my business have tax nexus in Wisconsin?
The folks at the sales tax compliance company Avalara are an approved Wisconsin sales tax partner, and you can use their free Wisconsin nexus wizard tool to determine whether or not your business has nexus, and is therefore required to pay Wisconsin sales taxes. If you're interested in automating your sales tax collection and filing process, click here to get more information.
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