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Wisconsin: When to Include Federal Excise Tax in Taxable Sales Price


 Mistakes happen.

In Wisconsin, the federal excise tax that is imposed on the first retail sales of heavy trucks and trailers is included in the taxable sales price, effective September 1, 2014.

However, many Wisconsin businesses may have been including the federal excise tax in the taxable sales price prior to September 2014 because of an error published Wisconsin Tax Bulletin 182 (October 2013). The bulletin incorrectly gave July 2, 2013, as the date to start including federal excise tax in the taxable sales price.

Businesses that overpaid sales tax as a result of the date published in Tax Bulletin 182 may file a claim for refund of overpaid sales tax. It is important to remember that the overpaid sales tax is actually owed to the buyer who paid it, not the business that collected and remitted it. Any business that files a claim for refund is required to return the tax and interest to the buyer within 90 days of receiving the refund. In the event that isn’t possible, the tax must be returned to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

State Universal Service Fund (USF) Fee

Please note that a change did take effect on July 2, 2013. Beginning on that date, the Wisconsin USF is not included in the retailer’s taxable sales price. Retailers were required to collect and remit tax on the USF prior to July 2, 2013.

Wisconsin law amended the definition of “sales price” and “purchase price,” effective July 2, 2013. From that date forward, tax is not included on the retailer’s taxable sales price if both of the following are true:

  • The retailer separately states the tax on the invoice, bill of sale, or similar document that the retailer gives to the purchaser.
  • The law imposing or authorizing the tax provides that the seller may, but is not required to, pass on and collect the tax from the user of consumer.

Stay on top of sales tax changes by implementing automated sales tax software as a service. Learn more.

Additional information about the USF and the taxable sales price is available on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website.

photo credit: ktpupp via photopin cc


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.