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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 This rule was repealed so Wisconsin's sales and use tax laws would conform to the requirements of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA).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)

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has revised its publication regarding the sales and use tax treatment of digital goods, specifically, newspapers and other news or information products. The sections that discuss digital books also had some small changes. In addition to explaining the taxability of digital goods, the publication gives details on seller's permits and use tax registration certificates, filing returns and paying tax, definitions, sourcing, and exemptions. (Publication No. 240, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, October 2009)

(12/18/2009)

The State of Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission found that the temporary help services provided by a taxpayer were not subject to Wisconsin sales tax. The taxpayer provides its clients workers with a wide range of skills who work under the direction and control of those clients. The taxpayer pays the wages of the workers it places and also pays for withholding taxes, other payroll expenses and, in some circumstances, certain fringe benefits. In addition, the taxpayer does not contract to provide certain outcomes or results, supply tools or equipment for its workers, or train its employees to provide a particular outcome. The Department of Revenue argued the “look through” position which states that when a worker placed by the taxpayer performs a task which would be taxable if provided as part of a taxable service, then the taxpayers’ gross receipts related to that task are subject to the sales tax. On the other hand, the taxpayer contended that temporary help services are not one of the services enumerated under Wisconsin law and provided several claims in support of this. Additionally, the taxpayer was audited three previous times and was not issued a similar assessment. The Commission found that Department's approach goes against the rule of construction that taxes may only be imposed by clear and express language, with all doubts and ambiguities resolved in favor of the taxpayer. It was also mentioned that "temporary help services" are not listed as a taxable service, and that such services are distinguishable from the services enumerated in the Wisconsin statutes. (Manpower Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission, No. 05-S-046, August 12, 2009

(09/24/2009)

As part of Wisconsin’s membership in the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, Wisconsin will offer a sales tax amnesty program for qualifying businesses that currently are not registered to collect and remit sales and use tax. The Wisconsin amnesty period runs from July 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010. To qualify, businesses must voluntarily register (between the above dates) to collect and remit Wisconsin sales tax, as well as sales tax for all other states that have been members of the SST Agreement for at least 36 months. Businesses that meet the eligibility requirements and register for the program will not be required to remit Wisconsin sales and use tax on sales made prior to registration for the amnesty program. The program does not apply to any sales and use tax that a person owes as a purchaser. Businesses are eligible for the program unless one or more of the following apply: 1) currently registered to collect Wisconsin sales tax; 2) registered to collect Wisconsin sales tax at any time during the past 12 months; 3) received an audit notice, unless the audit and all related appeals are resolved; and/or 4) committed or been involved in fraud or intentional misrepresentation. Additional rules and regulations apply. (Wisconsin offers Streamlined Sales Tax amnesty program, Wisconsin Department of Revenue)

(08/27/2009)

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