Personal income tax
Wisconsin reduced both its tax rates and the number of income tax brackets beginning with the 2013 tax year.
For single taxpayers, they are:
- -- 4.4 percent on the first $10,910 of taxable income.
- -- 5.84 percent on taxable income between $10,911 and $21,820.
- -- 6.27 percent on taxable income between $21,821 and $240,190.
- -- 7.65 percent on taxable income of $240,191 and above.
For married taxpayers filing joint returns, taxes are assessed at:
- -- 4.4 percent on the first $14,540 of taxable income.
- -- 5.84 percent on taxable income between $14,541 and $29,090.
- -- 6.27 percent on taxable income between $29,091 and $320,250.
- -- 7.65 percent on taxable income of $320,251 and above.
- -- 7.75 percent on taxable income of $310,211 and above.
Wisconsin's tax returns are due 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.
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, recreational vehicles and aircrafts are subject to the county use tax of 0.5 percent rather than county sales tax based on the county in which the item is customarily kept.
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, or 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 website.
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) 562-5546.
Inheritance and estate taxes
Wisconsin does not collect inheritance taxes.
Wisconsin does not collect an estate tax. It will not impose an estate tax unless the federal estate tax law is modified to provide a federal estate tax credit for state death taxes.
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.