Retailers: Prepare now for the Wisconsin sales tax holiday in August

May 3, 2018|Sarah Evans

Wisconsin will have a back-to-school sales tax holiday from Wednesday, August 1 through Sunday, August 5, 2018. Retailers may need to make some updates to their systems ahead of this change.

Sales of certain items are exempt during a five-day sales tax holiday in August 2018. A sales tax holiday is a temporary exemption period where sales of certain items are exempt from Wisconsin sales and use tax. During the sales tax holiday, the following items are not taxable:

  • Clothing, if the sales price of any single item is $75 or less
  • A computer purchased by a consumer for the consumer's personal use, if the sales price of the computer is $750 or less
  • School computer supplies purchased by the consumer for the consumer's personal use, if the sales price of any single item is $250 or less
  • School supplies, if the sales price of any single item is $75 or less

To qualify for the exemption when ordering an item to be shipped, the customer must pay for the item during the sales tax holiday and have it shipped immediately. Delivery charges, including shipping, handling and service charges, are part of the sales price. The item would still qualify for the tax exemption even if it is delivered after the sales tax holiday ends.

Items that do not qualify for the sales tax holiday

There are certain restrictions, including some back-to-school items that are excluded from the exemption, such as sports and recreational equipment, phones, and school art supplies, among others. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) website includes the full list of items that do not qualify.

What do retailers need to do?

The sales tax holiday may add some complexity for retailers as they need to take steps to ensure their point of sale systems are updated in advance of the sales tax holiday. Retailers do not have to collect exemption certificates for items that qualify for the sales tax holiday.

For answers to common questions regarding the sales tax holiday, visit the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website.

If you have specific questions, please reach out to a member of Schenck’s State & Local Tax team at 800-236-2246:


Sarah Evans, CPA, has more than 25 years of state and local tax experience. Her experience includes coordination of sales tax audits and reverse audits as well as research, planning and compliance related to sales and use, property, income and franchise taxes.