Registration of Snowmobiles and ATVs in Wisconsin by Nonresidents

A person who is not a resident of Wisconsin but who registers or titles or is required to register or title his or her snowmobile or ATV in Wisconsin, is required to pay the applicable Wisconsin sales or use tax due on the purchase of the snowmobile or ATV at the time the snowmobile or ATV is registered or titled in Wisconsin. This would include snowmobiles and ATVs that are registered or titled in Wisconsin by nonresidents for the purpose of obtaining a trail pass from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. However, if the person has already paid a sales or use tax that was legally due and owing to another state, the sales or use tax paid to the other state may be used to offset some or all of the sales or use tax due in Wisconsin.

Example 1 - Nonresident A purchases an ATV in the state in which he lives from a private party (as opposed to a dealer) for $5,000. Nonresident A did not pay any sales or use tax on his purchase of the ATV since the state in which he lives does not impose tax on the purchase price of an ATV when it is purchased from a private party. If Nonresident A wants to ride the ATV on public trails in his home state, Nonresident A is required to pay a flat $25 trail fee every 2 years. Nonresident A brings the ATV to Wisconsin to ride on Wisconsin trails in Jackson County. In order to get the required trail pass in Wisconsin, Nonresident A registers the ATV with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. At the time the ATV is registered in Wisconsin, Nonresident A is required to pay the applicable Wisconsin state and county use tax due ($5,000 x 5.5% = $275) on his purchase of the ATV. The $25 trail fee that Nonresident A was required to pay to his home state may not be used to reduce the $275 Wisconsin use tax due on Nonresident A's purchase of the ATV, since this was not a sales or use tax paid to the other state.

Example 2 - Same as Example 1 except that the $25 fee that Nonresident A was required to pay to his home state was a sales, use, or excise tax imposed on the use of the ATV in his home state. In this example, the $25 may be used to reduce the $275 Wisconsin use tax due and Nonresident A would only be required to pay the $250 difference between the total Wisconsin use tax ($275) and the $25 use tax Nonresident A previously paid to his home state.

Example 3 - Same as Example 1 except that Nonresident A was required to pay 6.5% sales tax to his home state at the time the ATV was registered in his home state. In this example, since the sales tax Nonresident A was required to pay to his home state was equal to or greater than the Wisconsin use tax due, no additional sales or use tax is due to Wisconsin at the time Nonresident A registers the ATV in Wisconsin if Nonresident A provides proof (i.e., a copy of registration form and receipt from his home state showing the 6.5% sales tax was paid), that the sales tax was paid to his home state.

Last updated December 21, 2010