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How to Tax Wisconsin Veterinary Services


 Plow your fields with oxen? They're considered exempt farm animals in Wisconsin.

When people take their pets to the vet, most don't have sales tax on the mind. Pet owners may be worried about a sick kitty or an injured dog, and they may even be worried about the overall cost of the visit, but they're probably not thinking about which products and services are subject to sales tax, and which are not.

Veterinarians, on the other hand, need to know which of their products and services are taxable and which are exempt. To that end, the Department of Revenue has released an information bulletin on the subject.

Veterinary services are defined as services that may only be provided by a veterinarian, defined as "a person who is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Wisconsin." Examples include vaccinations, x-rays, surgical procedures, and administering drugs. Services that may be offered by veterinarians but may also be performed by non-veterinarians are not considered veterinary services.

Taxable sales and services by veterinarians include, but are not limited to:

  • Boarding services (straightforward, as when the owner goes on vacation);
  • Breeding;
  • Grooming and clipping;
  • Euthanasia and cremation services;
  • Pets (if veterinarian sells dogs, cats or other animals);
  • Pet equipment and supplies (training materials, dishes, leashes, etc); and
  • Pet food (non-medicinal).

Non taxable sales and services by veterinarians include, but are not limited to:

  • Boarding, when animal must stay at the veterinarian clinic because of a surgery or other medical reason.
  • Pet food that is considered a drug;
  • Medicinal products (such as flea collars and shampoo); and
  • Drugs.

Farming 

The information bulletin goes on to address exempt and taxable farming services, and exempt and taxable veterinary services when performed to "farm livestock or work stock used exclusively in the business of farming." Farming is defined as "the business of producing food products or other useful crops by tilling and cultivating the soil or by raising cattle, sheep, llamas, poultry, domesticated rabbits or other animals which produce a food product or which are themselves a food product."

Farming includes raising earthworms, mink, bees, mushrooms and sod. Farming does not include home gardening and noncommercial activities. Farm animals include draft horses and mules used for farming or to check on or herd livestock; horses used for pleasure riding or show are not included, nor are dogs (even those used for herding) or laboratory animals.

When a veterinarian performs a normally taxable service on an exempt farm animal, the service is exempt.

The information bulletin provides many examples. Veterinarians in Wisconsin would do well to read it, to ensure sales tax is collected on all taxable products and services and not collected on exempt products and services.

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Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.