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Wisconsin: Hanging Holiday Lights is a Taxable Service


 Wisconsin: hanging holiday lights is a taxable service.

It is said that Martin Luther was the first to illuminate a Christmas tree, back in 16th century Germany. Yet if Germans saw beauty in that tradition, early Americans saw it as a desecration of the sacred Christmas event. In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts made it illegal to observe December 25 in any way other than attending a church service; hang a decoration in the fledgling colony and you would be fined.

You won’t be fined for hanging decorations in Wisconsin Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers that “the service of hanging someone else’s holiday lights and/or decorations is a taxable service.”

The DOR isn’t expecting a tax return from folks who embrace the spirit of giving and hang lights for grandparents, parents, or next door neighbors. Yet any company that owns holiday lights and/or decorations and “provides, sets up and takes the holiday lights and/or decorations down (but does not operate the holiday lights and/or decorations)” is considered by the DOR to be “renting the holiday lights and/or decorations to its customers.” As a result, the “charge for the rental of the holiday lights and/or decorations is taxable.”

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photo credit: wackybadger via photopin cc


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
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.