Summer Camps

This article explains the proper Wisconsin sales and use tax treatment of certain sales and purchases made by summer camps (camps). It also explains what camps should do if they have not been properly collecting and remitting the appropriate Wisconsin sales and use taxes, including how to participate in Wisconsin's voluntary disclosure program.

For purposes of this article, it is assumed that the camp is organized and operated with the expectation of making a profit, regardless of whether a profit is actually realized. It is also assumed that the camp holds or is required to hold a Wisconsin seller's permit.

  1. Sales by Camps
    1. Taxable sales by camps include (applies both prior to and on or after October 1, 2009):
      • Lodging if for a continuous period of less than one month.
      • Meals, sandwiches, heated foods, and heated beverages, soda fountain items, and candy prior to October 1, 2009 and charges for prepared foods, dietary supplements, candy, and soft drinks on and after October 1, 2009.
      • Other tangible personal property such as hats, tee shirts, and souvenirs.
      • Any taxable services enumerated in the Wisconsin Statutes including charges for admission to any amusement, athletic, entertainment, or recreational event or place.
      • Craft supplies.
      • Leases or rentals of canoes, boats, games, or any other tangible personal property.
      • Sales of used equipment.
    2. Nontaxable or exempt sales by camps include charges for (applies both prior to and on or after October 1, 2009):
      • Lessons, instruction, and training.
      • Lodging for a continuous period of one month or more.
    3. Single, Combined Charge by Camps for Taxable and Nontaxable Property and Services.
      1. Prior to October 1, 2009
        1. If a single, combined amount is charged to attend a camp and the charge covers all of the privileges extended by the camp including instruction, lessons, meals, and lodging, the camp is required to make an allocation between the taxable and nontaxable items included. If the camp does not keep adequate records to make this allocation, the entire charge by the camp is subject to Wisconsin sales tax.
          1. For purposes of making this allocation:
            1. The camp may use $5 per night as the amount subject to tax for lodging; and
            2. The camp may determine the amount subject to tax as meals by adding 10 percent to the cost of the food, food products, and beverage and labor for preparation to cover the overhead costs.

            Example: Private Camp A provides a 5-day (4-night) sports camp. The camp runs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day and costs $500 per participant. The single, combined $500 charge covers all instruction relating to the sports, as well as meals, lodging, and a tee shirt. Private Camp A's cost of the food and labor to prepare the food provided is $75 per camp participant. Since a single, combined charge to attend the camp is being made (i.e., no separate charge is being made for the meals and lodging), Private Camp A is required to allocate $20 of its charge to lodging (4 nights times $5 per night) and $82.50 of its charge to meals ($75 cost of food and preparation times 110%), and collect and remit the appropriate Wisconsin sales and use tax on $102.50 ($20 plus $82.50), of the $500 charge. The remaining $397.50 is not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax since it is related to the instruction provided at the camp. Private Camp A is also required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on its purchase of the tee shirts that are provided to each participant because the tee shirts are being provided incidentally to the instruction being offered at the camp.

      2. On and After October 1, 2009
        1. A camp's charge for meals, lodging, and program access for one nonitemized price is not subject to tax because it is presumed that the taxable products included in the price are less than 10% of the total price and the exemption from Wisconsin sales and use tax provided in sec. 77.54 (51), Wis. Stats., as created by 2009 Wis. Act 2, applies.
        2. The camp is the consumer of all of the property, items, goods, and services provided and must pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on its purchase price of such taxable property, items, goods, and services.

        Example: Private Camp B provides a 5-day (4-night) summer sports camp. The camp runs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day and costs $500 per participant. The $500 charge is one nonitemized price that includes all instruction, meals, lodging, and a tee shirt. The charge by Private Camp B is not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax and Private Camp B is the consumer of the items it purchases and uses to provide the lodging and meals and the tee shirts.

  2. Purchases by Camps
    1. Summer camps are the consumers of any tangible personal property, items, property, and goods under sec. 77.52 (1) (b), (c), and (d), Wis. Stats., as created by 2009 Wis. Act 2, and taxable services they purchase and use in operating the camps and are generally required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on their purchases. However, camps may purchase any tangible personal property, items, property, and goods under sec. 77.52 (1) (b), (c), and (d), Wis. Stats., as created by 2009 Wis. Act 2, and taxable services they resell to the persons attending the camps and charge the appropriate sales tax on, without paying Wisconsin sales or use tax. Note: As explained in Part I.C.2.b., on and after October 1, 2009, camps are not considered to be reselling the property, items, goods, and services they provide to persons attending the camps for one nonitemized price.
    2. Taxable purchases by camps (applies both prior to and on or after October 1, 2009).

      Click here for a listing of common taxable purchases by camps.

    3. Property, items, goods, and services which may be purchased by camps without paying any Wisconsin sales or use tax if they are resold include (applies both prior to and on or after October 1, 2009):
      • Candy (see also Part II.D. for additional information).
      • Soft drinks (see also Part II.D. for additional information).
      • Craft supplies.

      Resold means there is a separate charge for the item (i.e., the item is not provided as part of the single, combined charge for the lodging, meals, and programs).

      Example 1: Camp A purchases candy which it sells to persons attending the camp. The candy is not included in the charge to attend the camp, but instead may be purchased separately, at each camper's option. Camp A may purchase the candy without tax because it is resold. The sale of the candy by Camp A is subject to sales tax.

      Example 2: Camp B purchases craft supplies which it sells to persons attending the camp. The craft supplies are not included in the charge to attend the camp, but instead may be purchased separately, at each camper's option. Camp B may purchase the craft supplies without tax because they are resold. (Note: In this example, if the craft supplies were included in Camp B's single, combined charge to attend the camp and provided to each camper, Camp B is required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on its purchases of the craft supplies.)

    4. Camp's purchases of food, food products, and beverages
      1. Prior to October 1, 2009

        A camp may purchase the foods, food products, and beverages provided to persons attending the camp without tax for resale. If the camp does not separately state a charge for the meals, foods, food products, and beverages (i.e., the meals, etc., are included in the single price the camp charges for all of the privileges extended by the camp), the camp is required to allocate a portion of their charge to cover the meals, food, food products, and beverages provided and charge Wisconsin sales or use tax on that amount. See Part I.C.1 to determine how to make this allocation.

      2. On and After October 1, 2009

        A camp's purchases of candy, soft drinks, dietary supplements, and prepared foods purchased on and after October 1, 2009, that are included in the single, combined charge to attend the camp are subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax. The camp is the consumer of these items and is required to pay Wisconsin sales or use tax on them, unless an exemption applies.

        Example 1: On or after October 1, 2009, Camp D purchases candy, soft drinks, raw hamburger, and hamburger buns for meals provided to persons attending the camp. There is no separate charge for any of these items to the campers. Instead, the items are included in the single, combined charge to attend the camp. Camp D's purchase of the candy and soft drinks are subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax. Camp D's purchase of the raw hamburger and hamburger buns are not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax because the exemption for food and food ingredients contained in sec. 77.54 (20n), Wis. Stats., as created by 2009 Wis. Act 2, applies.

  3. What should I do if I have not been properly charging and remitting Wisconsin sales and use tax on these transactions, as described above?
    1. Camps Registered for Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Purposes

      If you are currently registered to collect and remit Wisconsin sales and use tax, but after reading this article find that you have been doing some things incorrectly, you should file an amended sales and use tax return as soon as possible to either obtain a refund you are entitled to or to report the additional sales or use tax you owe. Amended returns may be filed any time within 4 years of the unextended due date of the corresponding income or franchise tax return.

      Example: Camp A is a corporation that files its sales and use tax returns on a monthly basis and its corporate income tax return on a calendar year basis (due date is March 15 of the following calendar year). Assuming Camp A timely filed its sales and use tax returns, it may file amended sales and use tax returns for periods within the calendar year 2006 until March 15, 2011. For periods within the calendar year 2007, Camp A has until March 15, 2012, for calendar year 2008, until March 15, 2013, and for periods within the calendar year 2009, until March 15, 2014.

      If you file amended returns prior to December 31, 2010, to adjust the tax you paid, the Department will waive any penalties related to that tax. However, interest will apply on underpayments as required by the Wisconsin Statutes.

      To obtain a waiver of the penalties, please read and follow the instructions in the article titled "Voluntary Disclosure – Additional Taxes or Excessive Credits."

    2. Camps Not Registered for Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Purposes

      If you are not and have not been registered to collect and remit Wisconsin sales and use taxes, you may take advantage of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's voluntary disclosure program.

      Under the voluntary disclosure program, a person making a voluntary disclosure of past noncompliance with Wisconsin sales and use tax laws may be granted a waiver of penalty and/or reduction in the number of periods for which returns are required to be filed. However, to be considered for such treatment, a person must meet certain requirements, provide a written description of its activities in Wisconsin, and enter into a written settlement agreement with the Department of Revenue. For additional information, see the attached article titled "Voluntary Disclosure – Unfiled Returns."

If you have any questions concerning this information, please contact Robert Kennedy by email at robert.kennedy@revenue.wi.gov or telephone at (608) 261-5167.

July 29, 2010