Wisconsin Sales & Use Taxes – Are You Ready for 2020?

As we near the end of 2019 and 2020 rapidly approaches, we find our Accounting Services Department busy getting ready for the changes ahead.  The end of the year means finalizing payroll reports and sales tax filings along with year-end bookkeeping and numerous other work for our accounting services clients.  But, it also means bringing our clients up to speed on the changes for the year to come.  For 2020, one such change is in the area of Wisconsin Sales Taxes.

For what seems like an eternity, Wisconsin has had various additional city/local/additional taxes above and beyond our base 5% state tax rate.  More often than not, those taxes never go away.  for this year we two other counties (Outagamie and Menomonee) join the ranks with those many others imposing an additional .5% county tax bringing the total counties with additional tax to 68 of 72.  However, for 2020 we finally see some relief!  Effective March 31, 2020 the .1% (yeah its not much but something is better than nothing) Baseball Stadium additional tax goes away.

Another big issue facing taxpayers from a sales and use tax standpoint has been online sales.  Effective January 1, 2020, Wisconsin has made changes which may make some reporting easier for taxpayers, harder for others, but in the end, mean more tax dollars collected for the State.  The new Marketplace Seller rule will mean many sales made online will now be reported by the site through which the sale takes place, such as Amazon.  The Marketplace will collect and report the taxes on behalf of the actual seller.  However, for some sellers, that means additional work as they track and report sales differently for sales tax reporting depending on how the item was sold.  Additional reporting time and costs continue to be passed along to the businesses as state and local governments change laws to grab more tax dollars.

Lastly, Wisconsin is finally moving away from paper sales tax returns and requiring all filers (except annual) to file the sales tax reports online using the MyTaxAccount.  This change should hellp expedite the filings and reduce the workload for the Department, but for some taxpayers it means more changes.

Is your company ready for all the changes?  Does your tax partner make sure your team is up-to-date on the challenges ahead?  Is it time to outsource some of the daunting tax obligations your company is facing?  Contact RPB and see how we can partner together to help with those burdens.

Brad Voght, CPA is the tax partner at Reilly, Penner & Benton, LLP, a public accounting firm and trusted adviser specializing in business and personal tax matters as well as in not-for-profit work, school organizations as well as government and municipal agency work. The firm also provides ERISA audit services to publicly held entities throughout the country. A PCAOB registered firm, Reilly, Penner & Benton CPAs also known as RPB CPAs, has served closely held businesses and has provided tax preparation and advice, financial statement audits, reviews and compilations, employee benefit plan audits, bookkeeping services, business valuations, fraud prevention and consulting services since 1907.
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