Taxes & Business ClimateHow local communities raise the funds needed to provide the services for its residents has long been the focus of many reports and public debates. Wisconsin has invested in its public infrastructure - highways, schools, utilities, and is committed to providing a continued high level of service. For a breakdown of the local property tax rates by municipality, see Green County Municipal Property Tax Rates.
Wisconsin's business-friendly attitude is reflected in positive business tax changes that have been made in every biennial legislative session since the early 1970s. For a summary of Wisconsin taxes and an overview of Wisconsin's business tax structure, see Major Taxes of Interest to Business.
The "2007 Cost-of-Doing-Business Index" by the Milken Institute ranked Wisconsin 23rd out of the 50 states and 3.6% less costly to do business in Wisconsin than the national average. This is an improvement over the 2005 figures which listed Wisconsin as the 20th costliest place to do business. The Index measures wage costs, taxes, electricity costs, and real estate costs for industrial and office space.
Further, in the "2011 Facts & Figures" report, prepared by the Tax Foundation, economists found that Wisconsin's Corporate Tax Index was ranked 29th highest in the US.
It should be noted that:
- Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation premium rates are among the lowest in the country. During the 1990s, rates declined by 33% resulting in more than $1 billion in savings for Wisconsin companies. Since then, rates have continued to decline. Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation rates typically provide significant savings over those of neighboring states as illustrated by this Four State Comparison.
- Manufacturing, telecommunication and utility properties are assessed by the Department of Revenue while all other property is assessed by municipal assessors.
Exemptions from property tax include:
- Machinery and equipment used in manufacturing
- Merchants' and manufacturers' inventories
- Computer equipment
- Pollution abatement equipment
- Wisconsin imposes a 5% tax on the sale or use of tangible personal property that is not specifically exempted from the tax as well as some services. In addition, Green County imposes an additional .5% tax. The use tax is a tax on the use, consumption, or storage of property in the state and applies to property brought into the state without payment of sales taxes.
Exemptions from the sales and use tax include:
- Manufacturing machinery and equipment
- Manufacturers' raw materials
- Pollution abatement, waste treatment and recycling equipment
- Fuel and electricity used in manufacturing
- Wisconsin's individual income tax, to a large extent, conforms to the federal personal income tax base. The tax rates are shown in this chart of WI Individual Income Tax Rates. Individual income tax brackets are indexed each year based on the consumer price index.
- 60% exclusion for long-term capital gains (a provision that saved Wisconsin taxpayers $180 million in FY02)
- 100% exclusion of the capital gains from the sale of stock in eligible Wisconsin small businesses if held for 5 years or more
- 100% exclusion for intergenerational transfers of farming and business assets