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The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeals’ determination that sales of tickets to classical, pop, and youth concerts are taxable because they are considered to be primarily entertainment in nature, not educational. Although the court recognized that learning was a component of attending the concerts and that the orchestra’s mission statement and certain activities were directed at educating the public in order to develop a greater appreciation for music, the court ultimately determined that most attendees viewed the event as a form of entertainment, which was highlighted in the orchestra’s promotional materials. Further, the orchestra’s optional pre and post-concert lectures and written materials about the music performed at certain concerts did not transform the performances into primarily educational events. (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Supreme Court, No. 2008AP1684, May 5, 2010)

(05/27/2010)

Sales of food and food ingredients by hospitals, sanatoriums, nursing homes, retirement homes, community-based residential facilities, or day care centers licensed are exempt from sales and use taxes, regardless of whether the food and food ingredients are served at the facility. “Mobile meals on wheels” sold to the elderly and handicapped will continue to be exempt from tax. It was noted that this exemption does not apply to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Prior to October 1, 2009, the exemption applied only to meals, food, food products, and beverages that were sold by a hospital, sanatorium, nursing homes, retirement home, community-based residential facility, or day care center, and served at the facility. (Sales of Food and Food Ingredients by Hospitals and Other Facilities, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, January 19, 2010)

(03/01/2010)

Effective October 1, 2009, candy, soft drinks, dietary supplements, and prepared foods, and disposable products that are transferred with such items are exempt from sales tax only if furnished for no consideration by a restaurant to the restaurant's employee during the employee's work hours. A restaurant’s sales of such items are subject to tax. Prior to October 1, 2009, certain food, food products, and beverages and disposable products that were transferred with such items were exempt from sales tax if the items were provided by a restaurant to the restaurant’s employees during the employee’s work hours, regardless of whether the restaurant sold the items to the employee or furnished the items to the employee for no consideration. (Sales To Restaurant Employees, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, January 19, 2010)

(02/25/2010)

Effective October 1, 2009, a manufacturer or other seller may accept an exemption certificate claiming resale from an out-of-state purchaser even when the manufacturer or other seller is directed to ship the product to a consumer in Wisconsin and the out-of-state purchaser does not have a Wisconsin seller’s permit or Wisconsin use tax registration certificate. Prior to October 1, 2009, a manufacturer or other seller could not have accepted an exemption certificate claiming resale from an out-of-state business not holding a Wisconsin seller’s permit or use tax certificate, if the manufacturer or other seller delivered the product to a consumer in Wisconsin. This rule was repealed so Wisconsin's sales and use tax laws would conform to the requirements of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA). (Drop Shipment Sales—Change in Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Treatment, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, January 19, 2010)

(02/15/2010)

In order to conform to the requirements of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax (SST) Agreement and the definition of lease or rental, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has made changes in the sales and use tax treatment of equipment provided with an operator. In general, effective October 1, 2009, when equipment is provided with an operator that does more than maintain, inspect, or set up the equipment and the operator is necessary for the equipment to perform in the manner for which it is designed, the transaction is considered to be a service and not a lease or rental of the equipment. Before October 1, 2009, when equipment was provided with an operator, the tax treatment of the transaction depended on who was responsible for the satisfactory completion of the job. For information on how this change specifically relates to: Leases and Rentals of Equipment, Equipment Used to Provide a Service and Service Contracts for Equipment please visit the department’s Web site at http://www.dor.state.wi.us/taxpro/news/index.html for the news release “Equipment Provided with Operator – Tax Treatment Changed.” (News for Tax Practitioners, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, December 4, 2009)

(01/01/2010)

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