Sales to Native American Tribal Members

This article explains the proper Wisconsin sales and use tax treatment of sales to Native American tribal members. (Note: This article does not apply to sales and purchases of construction materials to Native American tribal members who may use the construction materials in real property construction activities off the tribal member's Tribal reservation. For additional information, see Part IV.F. of Publication 207.)

Definitions:

"Native Americans" means all persons of Native American descent who are enrolled members of any federally recognized Tribe.

"Reservation" means all land within the boundaries of the Bad River, Forest County Potawatomi, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, Mole Lake, Oneida, Red Cliff, St. Croix, and Stockbridge-Munsee reservations as well as any Ho-Chunk Nation communities. *See footnote.

"Tribe" means a federally recognized Tribe or Band of Native Americans and includes tribal entities and tribal authorities.

"Tribal reservation" means the reservation of the Tribe of which a Native American is an enrolled member (e.g., the tribal reservation for an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe is the Oneida reservation). Unless noted otherwise, whenever reservation is used in this publication, it includes trust land.

"Trust land" means land the title to which is held in trust by the United States for the benefit of a Tribe or an enrolled member of that Tribe.

*The Ho-Chunk Nation does not have a consolidated reservation, but has trust lands in 14 counties.

Generally, sales of tangible personal property, coins and stamps of the United States sold above face value, certain leased property affixed to real property, specified digital goods, additional digital goods, and taxable services to a Native American that take place on the Native American's tribal reservation are not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax if the Native American also resides on that reservation. However, sales of these same items to a Native American that take place off the Native American's tribal reservation or which are sold to a Native American who does not reside on his or her tribal reservation are generally subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax.

NOTE: When making an exempt sale to a Native American, the seller should do one of the following to claim the exemption:

  1. Obtain a properly completed exemption certificate (e.g., Form S-211, Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax Exemption Certificate) from the buyer. The buyer should check the appropriate box under "other" and fill in his or her enrollment number and the reservation on which the buyer is enrolled and resides.
  2. Record on the invoice or similar document it keeps (a) the buyer's enrollment number, (b) the tribe of which the buyer is an enrolled member, and (c) the reservation where the taxable product or service is furnished to the buyer.

Example 1: Native American X, who is an enrolled member of a Tribe and lives on that Tribe's tribal reservation, purchases tangible personal property from a retailer off the tribal reservation. The sale of the tangible personal property to Native American X is subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax since Native American X takes possession of the tangible personal property off the tribal reservation.

Example 2: Native American Y, who is an enrolled member of a Tribe and lives on that Tribe's tribal reservation, purchases tangible personal property from a retailer. The retailer is located off the tribal reservation, but delivers the tangible personal property to Native American Y on his tribal reservation. The sale of the tangible personal property to Native American Y is not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax since Native American Y takes possession of the tangible personal property on the tribal reservation.

Example 3: Native American Z, who is an enrolled member of a Tribe, but who lives off that Tribe's tribal reservation, purchases tangible personal property from a retailer located off the tribal reservation. The retailer delivers the tangible personal property to Native American Z on the tribal reservation. Although possession of the tangible personal property is transferred to Native American Z on the tribal reservation, since Native American Z does not reside on the tribal reservation, it is presumed that the property is intended for storage, use, or other consumption off the tribal reservation and is subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax.

Example 4: Native American A, who is an enrolled member of a Tribe, but who lives off that Tribe's tribal reservation purchases satellite television service from Retailer B. Retailer B's sale of the satellite television service is subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax since the service is being furnished to Native American A off of Native American A's tribal reservation.

Example 5: Native American C, who is an enrolled member of a Tribe and lives on the Tribe's tribal reservation purchases satellite television service from Retailer D. Retailer D's sale of the satellite television service is not subject to Wisconsin sales or use tax since the sale is being made to Native American C and the service is furnished to Native American C on Native American C's tribal reservation.

Last updated October 12, 2012