vacuumingRoutine and repetitive janitorial services are exempt from sales tax in Wisconsin. This is the kind of cleaning that people do day-in and day-out in their own homes for free: vacuuming carpets, cleaning bathroom fixtures, dusting desks. Both businesses and individuals often hire cleaning companies to do this type of cleaning.

Non-repetitive or specialized cleaning services to tangible personal property are taxable in Wisconsin. This is the kind of cleaning that people tend to do more infrequently, several times a year rather than several times a month: shampooing carpets, washing windows, thoroughly cleaning after a remodel. It can also be the janitorial services described above but performed infrequently, not as part of a routine.  Again, both businesses and individuals frequently hire companies to do this kind of cleaning.

As of result of this Wisconsin tax law, the same task could be subject to sales tax in one circumstance and exempt in another:

  • Charges to vacuum, dust, clean bathroom fixtures, etc. on a weekly or monthly basis are exempt. The task is routine and repetitive (don’t I know it!).
  • Charges to vacuum, dust, clean bathroom fixtures, etc. occasionally (such as before a holiday party or after an office party) are taxable. The task is a one-off, not routine.

Could this be a covert tax incentive to promote tidiness?

Share your wacky tax stories in the comments below.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc