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Bankrate's 2009 Tax Guide
State tax pages
Take a state tax expedition. Each of the states has its own way of gathering revenues from its residents.
State tax roundup

Wisconsin's income tax rates range from 4.6 percent to 6.75 percent over four income tax brackets. More on Wisconsin taxes can be found in the tabbed pages below.

Personal income tax
Wisconsin collects income taxes from its residents utilizing four tax brackets.

For single taxpayers, they are:
-- 4.6 percent on the first $9,700 of taxable income
-- 6.15 percent on taxable income between $9,701 and $19,400
-- 6.5 percent on taxable income between $19,401 and $145,460
-- 6.75 percent on taxable income of $145,461 and above.

For married taxpayers filing joint returns, taxes are assessed at:
-- 4.6 percent on the first $12,930 of taxable income
-- 6.15 percent on taxable income between $12,931 and $25,860
-- 6.5 percent on taxable income between $25,861 and $193,950
-- 6.75 percent on taxable income of $193,951 and above.
Wisconsin's tax returns are due on April 15 or the next business day if that date falls on a weekend or holiday.
Wisconsin offers an Earned Income Tax Credit to its residents. This credit provides direct benefit to working families with qualifying children. The benefit amount depends on the total household income and the number of children. To claim this credit, taxpayers need to file an income tax return using the Wisconsin Form 1 or 1A.
Sales tax
Wisconsin has a sales tax of 5 percent.
Sixty-one counties have an additional sales tax of 0.5 percent. Retailers who make sales subject to applicable county taxes must collect 5.5 percent sales tax on their retail sales.
Sales of motor vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, mobile homes 45 feet or less in length, trailers, semi-trailers, all-terrain vehicles and aircraft are subject to the county use tax rather than county sales tax.
Personal and real property taxes
The most common property tax assessed on Wisconsin residents is the real property tax, or their residential property tax. Wisconsin does not impose a property tax on vehicles, but does levy an annual registration fee.
The Division of State and Local Finance (SLF) is responsible for establishing the state's equalized values; assessing all manufacturing and telecommunication company property for property tax purposes; assessing and collecting taxes on utilities, railroads, airlines, mining and other special properties; and providing financial management and technical assistance to municipal and county governments. It also administers the state shared revenue, property tax relief payments for municipal services and the lottery credit program, the tax incremental financing programs, along with providing property assessment administration and certification of assessment personnel.
Equalized values are based on the full market value of all taxable property in the state, except for agricultural land. In order to provide property tax relief for farmers, the value of agricultural land is determined by its value for agriculture uses, rather than for its possible development value.
Equalized values are used to distribute state aid payments to counties, municipalities and technical colleges. Assessments prepared by local assessors are used to distribute the property tax burden within individual municipalities. You can find your county's or municipality's equalized value on the Department of Revenue's Web site.
Details on Wisconsin's property tax system can be found in the Department of Revenue's Guide for Property Owners.
Wisconsin has two programs to help people with their property taxes: the Homestead Credit and the Property Tax Deferral Loan Program.
  • The credit is income-based and available to renters as well as homeowners. Further information about the Homestead Tax Credit is available by calling the Department of Revenue at (608) 266-8641.
  • The loan program is operated by Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, or WHEDA, and provides loans to qualifying elderly homeowners to help pay for property taxes. Details can be obtained by calling WHEDA toll-free at (800) 755-7835.
Inheritance and estate taxes
Wisconsin does not collect inheritance taxes.
  Wisconsin's estate tax is decoupled from the federal estate tax laws and therefore still imposes its own estate tax. Forms can be found on the Department of Revenue Web site.
Other Wisconsin tax facts
Wisconsin maintains an online listing of delinquent taxpayers.
Wisconsin taxpayers can use several online options, such as filing returns and checking refund status online.
Wisconsin's income tax was enacted in 1911 and state officials say it is the oldest successful income tax law in the nation, preceding the federal tax system by two years. Its original purpose was to tax the value of intangibles, such as stocks, bonds and money, which escaped property taxation because of assessment difficulties. Intangible property was exempted from the property tax when the income tax was created.
For more information, contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at (608) 266-1911 or visit its Web site.
To download tax forms on this site, you will need to install a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the Adobe Web site for instructions.
-- Updated: Feb. 4, 2009

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