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Sales Tax

The determination of taxable revenue for sales tax purpose is the responsibility of each department within the University System. Each department should carefully review its procedures to be sure that all required sales tax is collected and reported.

Collecting the state, county and stadium sales tax and showing it correctly on the Report of Registrations and Collections (RRC) and the invoice is a responsibility of the department that has generated the revenue. Cashier Services will post the information received from those departments into WISDM, and in turn will provide the information and make payment to the Department of Revenue.

Tangible personal property and services that are subject to the 5% state sales and use tax are also subject to the 1/2% county sales and use tax where counties have adopted this tax and the 0.1% stadium tax in the five Wisconsin counties that have adopted that tax (contact Cashier Services for a current list of these counties). The county and/or stadium tax may not be imposed on any types of personal property or services that are not subject to the 5% state tax. If property or services are exempt from the 5% state tax, they are also exempt from the 0.5% county tax and the 0.1% stadium tax.

All sales of tangible personal property are completed at the time when, and the place where, the seller or the seller's agent transfers possession to the buyer or the buyer's agent. A common carrier or the U.S. Postal Service is the agent of the seller. Therefore, the county tax is applicable to the county where the delivery of the service, supply, or commodity occurs, not the county of the point of sale.

Following you will find a Summary of Goods and Services Subject to 5% Wisconsin State Sales Tax. This summary was compiled from the University of Wisconsin System Financial Policy and Procedure Paper number 2 and the Sales and Use Tax Information for Colleges, Universities and Vocational Schools publication 204 from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Copies of those two documents can be obtained from the Cashier Services Department.

Show the sales tax on an RRC by recording the full amount of the sale (amount + tax) in the appropriate column and the county code in the county code column. Sales tax on invoices is calculated by SFS when invoicing taxable customers and showing the county code for each line of the invoice.

Specific sales tax questions can be directed to the Cashier Services Department or to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue:
Madison: (608) 266-2776
Appleton: (414) 832-2727
Eau Claire: (715) 836-2811
Green Bay: (414 448-5179
Milwaukee: (414) 227-4000
Racine: (414) 636-3711
Waukesha: (414) 521-5310

Summary of Goods and Services Subject to 5% Wisconsin State Sales Tax (and 0.5% County Sales Tax in certain counties)

Taxable Sales/Receipts
Sales or rentals of tangible personal property:
  • Over the counter sales of magazines, sales and rentals of books, yearbooks, annuals, lecture notes, directories, bulletins, maps or other tangible personal property. If there is a charge for the delivery of the item, the transportation charge is also taxable.
  • Student course materials (if NOT included as a mandatory charge in the course fee).
  • Sales of meals, food, food products and beverages if NOT sold under contract or agreement.
  • Gift stand sales and vending machine receipts.
  • Sales of photocopies, microfilm or videotape copies (excludes sales of photocopies of public or confidential records).
  • Sales or rentals of uniforms to employees or others.
  • Charges for parts and labor for repairing motor vehicles or other tangible personal property.
  • Rentals of portable stages, public address systems, chairs, pianos, forklift trucks, music racks, spotlights and projectors to groups using a school's theatre.
  • Sales or rental of typewriters and computers (excludes computer time
  • sharing and data processing).
Sales of Services:
  • Receipts from parking or providing parking space for motor vehicles.
  • Sale of admissions to places of amusement, athletic, entertainment, or recreational events or places.
  • Sales of season tickets for athletic, entertainment or recreational events.
  • Rentals of auditoriums, gymnasiums and other multipurpose recreational or entertainment type facilities to persons who use the facilities for their self-entertainment (exceptions listed in Non-taxable section) .
  • Laundry, dry
  • cleaning and pressing charges.
  • Meals, tickets to theatre performances, etc., provided to persons in exchange for donations are subject to sales tax to the extent of the value of the meal, tickets to theatre performances, etc.
  • Reproducing, duplicating and photographic services, includes film and audio dubbing.

Nontaxable Sales/receipts

Sales or rentals of tangible personal property:
  • Mandatory charges for textbooks, laboratory materials and supplies, and equipment rentals included in the billing for tuition. It does not matter whether these charges are listed separately or included in the total fee. NOTE: Mandatory charges for materials and other personal property billed subsequent to the billing for tuition are subject to the sales tax.
  • Charges for meals, food, food products or beverages served in accordance with any contract or agreement by a school. Charges for meals served to the public are also exempt if furnished in accordance with a contract or agreement.
  • Newspapers, subscription for periodicals and magazines.
  • Items sold to the United States, its unincorporated agencies and instrumentality's.
  • Items sold to other State agencies, other University departments, and elementary and secondary schools.
  • Items sold to organizations, including University affiliated organizations, whose purposes are charitable, religious, educational or scientific and who have a Certificate of Exempt Status.
  • Items sold for use solely outside of Wisconsin and delivered to an agent or carrier for shipment out of the State.
  • Items sold to a person who will resell the item and who furnishes a certificate to that effect.
Sales of Services
  • Educational services for which tuition is received. NOTE: Services billed subsequent to the billing for tuition may be taxable unless the services are required by a specific course.
  • Mandatory student activity fees which are included in the billing for tuition.
  • Charges for the furnishing of rooms or lodging to students or any other persons, regardless of duration.
  • Rental of auditoriums, gymnasiums and other multipurpose facilities when the facility is rented to a group which will convert it to a place of recreation, amusement or entertainment and sell admissions to the public or which conducts a non-recreational type event on the premises such as a religious meeting, graduation ceremony, political meeting, trade show, antique show, or wedding.
  • Services provided to the United States, etc., other State agencies and other University departments; elementary and secondary schools; and those organizations which have a Certificate of Exempt Status. Charges for lessons.
  • Library and book fines or payments for lost books.

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