Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission exempts customer software.

Wisconsin uses the seven-point test to determine the taxability of software. The test objectively examines how much pre-sale consultation goes into the selection of the software. Relative observations, per the implementation of the software, include the amount of loading, testing, training, documentation, enhancement, and maintenance that are required. The final examination evaluates the extent of the modifications necessary to make the software functional. The major argument in the Menasha Corporation case centered on point six of the test. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue interpret that SAP was prewritten software, point six mandates that prewritten software is taxable, therefore use tax is due. Alternatively, the taxpayer refuted that SAP software, out of the box, is useless and unable to interface with anything, and should therefore be considered exempt as customized software. The commission held that while part of the software was prewritten, it was effectively unfinished without considerable programming work. The amount of requisite programming work was considered the deciding factor in this case. (Menasha Corporation v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission, No, 01-S-72, December 1, 2003)

Posted on March 15, 2004