Wisconsin Tax Nexus

Businesses with nexus in Wisconsin are required to register with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and to charge, collect, and remit the appropriate tax.

Generally, a business has nexus in Wisconsin when it has a physical presence there, such as a retail store, warehouse, inventory, or the regular presence of traveling salespeople or representatives. However, out-of-state sellers can also establish nexus in the ways described below.

Wisconsin nexus for out-of-state sellers

Nexus can be triggered for an out-of-state business that engages in any of the following activities:

  • Maintains, occupies, or uses, permanently or temporarily, directly or indirectly, or through a subsidiary, agent, or other person, an office, place of distribution, sales or sample room, or place, warehouse, or storage place, or other place of business in this state.
  • Has any representative, including a manufacturer’s representative, agent, salesperson, canvasser, or solicitor operating in Wisconsin under the authority of the retailer or its subsidiary for the purpose of selling, delivering, or taking orders for any tangible personal property, items, property, or goods or taxable services.
  • Services, repairs or installs equipment or other tangible personal property or certain items
  • Delivers tangible personal property or items into Wisconsin in a vehicle operated by the person that sells the property or certain items that are delivered
  • Performs construction activities in Wisconsin

However, state statute lists certain activities that, in and of themselves, do not create nexus. These include:

  • Advertising in newspapers published in or outside of Wisconsin
  • Sending catalogs into Wisconsin from an out-of-state location, provided subsequent orders are shipped by mail or common carrier
  • Receiving mail or telephone orders outside of Wisconsin from consumers located in Wisconsin, provided these orders are shipped by mail or common carrier

Affiliate nexus

If your business has ties to businesses in Wisconsin, including affiliates, it may have nexus under a 2009 provision (sec. 77.51(13g)(d), Wis. Stats), which expands the definition of “retailer engaged in business in this state” to specifically include any out-of-state entity with an affiliate in Wisconsin, provided both of the following are true:

  • The out-of-state entity is related (as defined in the statue) to the affiliate
  • The affiliate uses facilities or employees in Wisconsin to advertise, promote, or facilitate the establishment of, or market for, sales of items by the out-of-state seller to purchasers in Wisconsin, or for providing services to the out-of-state entity’s purchasers in Wisconsin (e.g., accepting returns or resolving customer complaints)

See 2009 Wis. Act 28Tax 11.97, “Engaged in Business” in Wisconsin; and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Information.