Wisconsin Updates Guidance on Taxability of Educational Services and Products

Wisconsin has updated a news release detailing the sales tax treatment of educational services, tangible books and videos; and digital books and videos. Charges for live in-person educational services and live digital online educational services, including charges for mandatory educational materials, are exempt from sales and use tax. Educational service providers must pay tax on purchases of mandatory educational materials provided incidentally with nontaxable educational services. Tangible books and videos are taxable unless a specific exemption applies, and there is no exemption for sales of educational products. Certain digital goods – including digital audio works, digital audiovisual works, and digital books – are taxable unless a specific exemption applies. Prerecorded webinars are generally taxable as digital goods, regardless of whether the webinar is downloaded or viewable streaming online. Digital goods are exempt if they would be exempt when sold in tangible form. Since sales of tangible videos are taxable, the sale of a prerecorded webinar is also taxable. Sales of a digital good such as a prerecorded webinar may be exempt if the purchaser is receiving an educational service, and the digital good is transferred incidentally to the service. There are specific requirements that must be met for this to qualify. In a bundled transaction – when taxable and nontaxable products, goods or services are sold for one non-itemized price – and the value of the taxable products or services is 10% or more, the entire sales price is generally taxable in Wisconsin. However, sellers can report and remit tax on the taxable portion of the sales price if they can show in their books and records the portions of the sales price that are attributable to the taxable and nontaxable products or services. The bundled transaction rules do not apply when a product such as a digital good is transferred incidentally in connection with a service.(News for Tax Professionals-Sales Tax Treatment of Educational Products, Goods, and Services, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, April 7, 2016)

Posted on April 25, 2016