Overview of Wisconsin Taxes

The Wisconsin state income tax rate is currently 4% on the low end and 7.65% on the high end. The income tax rate varies over 4 income brackets. More on Wisconsin taxes can be found in the tabbed pages below.

Personal income tax

Wisconsin reduced both its tax rates and the number of income tax brackets beginning with the 2013 tax year. The income that falls into these brackets is shown below.

For single taxpayers, the rates are:

  • 4% on the first $11,090 of taxable income.
  • 5.84% on taxable income between $11,091 and $22,190.
  • 6.27% on taxable income between $22,191 and $244,270.
  • 7.65% on taxable income of $244,271 and above.

For married taxpayers filing joint returns, taxes are assessed at:

  • 4% on the first $14,790 of taxable income.
  • 5.84% on taxable income between $14,791 and $29,580.
  • 6.27% on taxable income between $29,581 and $325,700.
  • 7.65% on taxable income of $325,701 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 a direct benefit to working families with qualifying children. The benefit amount depends on the total household income and the number of children.

Sales taxes

Wisconsin has a sales tax of 5%.

Further, 62 counties have an additional sales tax of 0.5%. Retailers who make sales subject to applicable county taxes must collect 5.5% 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% 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, and 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 2 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 the 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 their refund status online.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue also administers unclaimed property. Unclaimed property is any financial asset that hasn’t had owner activity for a year or more and the holder of the asset is not able to contact the owner. In addition to traditional financial assets — such as savings and checking accounts, stock, and mutual funds — unclaimed property includes utility deposits, unclaimed wages and property resulting from a business closure. The law does not include real estate.

For more information, contact the Wisconsin Department of Revenue at (608) 266-2772, or visit its website.

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