Boats and Trailers: Determining Which County and Stadium Taxes Apply

This information applies to sales of boats and trailers on and after October 1, 2009.

Sales of Boats and Accessories

For a boat that must be registered or titled in Wisconsin, county and stadium sales and use taxes are imposed based on where the boat is customarily kept. The 'boat' subject to the tax includes all accessories affixed or attached to the boat when in use. Anchors, boat cushions, marine radios, radar equipment, and other similar accessories are included as part of the sale of the boat.

Sales of Trailers

For trailers, county and stadium tax is first imposed based on the location where the sale of the trailer takes place. If the sale of the trailer is not subject to county or stadium tax based on where the sale takes place, then the county and/or stadium use tax is imposed based on where the trailer is stored or used.

Sales of Boat Packages

For boat packages, for example, boat, motor and other accessories, and trailer sold for a single price, the sales price of the package must be assigned reasonably between (1) the boat, motor and other accessories, and (2) the trailer. County and stadium sales and use tax on the boat, motor, and other accessories is imposed based on where the boat, motor, and other accessories will be customarily kept, and county and stadium sales and use tax on the trailer will be imposed based first on where the sale of the trailer takes place and then on where the trailer is stored or used. Additional information regarding the sourcing of boats and trailers is provided in Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Information (Publication 201), Appendix I.

Example 1: Boat Dealer X is located in Dane County. Dane County has adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Boat Dealer X sells a boat and trailer to Individual Y. Boat Dealer X charges $5,000 for the boat and $750 for the trailer. Individual Y picks up the boat and trailer at Boat Dealer X's location in Dane County. The boat and trailer will be customarily kept in Rock County. Rock County has also adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Boat Dealer X must collect the 0.5% Rock County sales and use tax on the $5,000 sale of the boat since that is where the boat is customarily kept and the 0.5% Dane County sales and use tax on the $750 sale of the trailer since Individual Y picked up the trailer at Boat Dealer X's location in Dane County. (Note: Although the trailer will also be stored in Rock County, since Individual Y was first required to pay the 0.5% Dane County sales tax on the trailer, no Rock County use tax is due on the trailer.)

Example 2: Boat Dealer F is located in Winnebago County. Winnebago County has not adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Boat Dealer F sells a boat and trailer to Individual O. Boat Dealer F charges $8,000 for the boat and $1,000 for the trailer. Individual O picks up the boat and trailer at Boat Dealer F's location in Winnebago County. The boat and trailer will be customarily kept in Shawano County. Shawano County has also adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Boat Dealer F must collect the 0.5% Shawano County sales and use tax on the $8,000 sale of the boat since that is where the boat is customarily kept. Boat Dealer F is not required to collect any county sales or use tax on the sale of the trailer in this example since Individual O picked up the trailer at Boat Dealer F's location in Winnebago County and Winnebago County has not adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. (Note: Boat Dealer F may choose to collect the 0.5% Shawano County use tax due on the $1,000 sale of the trailer for the convenience of Individual O. If Boat Dealer F does not collect the 0.5% Shawano County use tax, Individual O is required to remit the 0.5% Shawano County tax directly to the state since Individual O stored, used, or consumed the trailer in Shawano County.)

Example 3: Boat Dealer A is located in Dane County. Dane County has adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Customer B purchases a boat package that includes a boat, motor, fish finder, and trailer for $20,000. The amounts for the boat, motor, fish finder, and trailer are not separately stated on the invoice provided to the customer. Customer B picks up boat, motor, fish finder, and trailer at Boat Dealer A's location in Dane County and brings them to Brown County, where they are customarily kept. Brown County has adopted the 0.5% football stadium tax.

In this example, Boat Dealer A must make a reasonable assignment of the $20,000 sales price of the boat package between (1) the boat, motor, and fish finder and (2) the trailer. Boat Dealer A must collect Brown County's 0.5% football stadium sales and use tax on the amount assigned to the boat, motor, and fish finder since that is where the boat, motor, and fish finder are customarily kept and must collect Dane County's 0.5% county sales and use tax on the trailer since that is where Customer B picked up the trailer (i.e. that is where the sale of the trailer is sourced).

Example 4: Boat Dealer X is located in Dane County. Dane County has adopted the 0.5% county sales and use tax. Boat Dealer X sells a boat and trailer to Individual Y. Individual Y is a resident of Illinois and will keep the boat and trailer at a location outside Wisconsin. Boat Dealer X charges $5,000 for the boat and $750 for the trailer. Individual Y picks up the boat and trailer at Boat Dealer X's location in Dane County. Boat Dealer X must collect the 5% Wisconsin state tax on the entire $5,750 and must also collect the 0.5% Dane County sales and use tax on the $750 sale of the trailer since Individual Y picked up the trailer at Boat Dealer X's location in Dane County. No county or stadium tax will be collect on the sale of the boat since the boat is customarily kept outside Wisconsin.

Page last updated February 21, 2012