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Wisconsin Defines Landscaping Services for Sales Tax


Wisconsin law taxes certain landscaping and lawn maintenance services in the state. According to Publication 210, “[t]he sales of landscaping and lawn maintenance services, including any tangible personal property physically transferred to the customer with such services, is subject to Wisconsin sales and use tax, unless an exemption applies.”

The law is irrespective of whether the service is performed for residential, commercial, business or industrial purposes. Types of services are:

  • Designing or planning landscape
  • Removing or cleaning brush and vegetation
  • Planting, weeding, fertilizing
  • Laying sod, plowing, rototilling, discing, leveling
  • Installing jute mesh, edging, plastic, rocks
  • Modifying green mixes on golf courses in preparation of planting.

What’s not a landscaping service for the purposes of sales tax?

  • Rough grading except “…stripping off of plant material, including material with topsoil.”
  • Fine grading.
  • Installing rocks, stones, bricks, wood timbers as retaining walls regardless of whether they are for ornamental or decorative purposes.
  • Fence installation, patios, decks, swimming pools, tennis courts, sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting.

There are also certain exemption situations regarding landscaping services. When property is purchased as part of doing business, such as fertilizer that is part of regular maintenance of a property, then the landscaping service may provide an exemption certificate and purchase the product sales tax free.  However, purchase of the equipment to spread the fertilizer may not be considered sales tax-free.

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Avalara Author
Susan McLain
Avalara Author Susan McLain
Susan McLain began her career as a technical writer in technology industries such as satellite networking and medical devices. Her skills encompass technical and marketing writing, usability engineering, verification and validation testing and protocol writing, requirements development, business analysis, technical illustration/graphic design and marketing. She has owned her own business providing service to small to medium sized business and in other positions, she has been in project management, documentation and marketing. She is currently the content specialist for Avalara helping to “make sales tax less taxing.”