Snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, and Similar Property Sold to Nonresidents

NOTE: This article replaces the article titled "Registration of Snowmobiles and ATVs in Wisconsin by Nonresidents," dated December 21, 2010.

Sellers:

A dealer or other retailer is required to collect and remit Wisconsin sales or use tax on sales of tangible personal property in Wisconsin, including:

The dealer or other retailer's sale is taxable if the purchaser takes possession of the property in Wisconsin, regardless of whether the purchaser is a resident or nonresident of Wisconsin. The tax includes Wisconsin 5% states tax, as well as any applicable 0.5% county and 0.1% or 0.5% stadium tax.

The chart titled "State, County, and Stadium Sales and Use Taxes Due on Items Registered or Titled in Wisconsin" is helpful in determining which tax rate applies to sales of certain vehicles that are required to be registered in the State of Wisconsin.

Exception: An exemption exists for motor vehicles that are sold to a nonresident whose only use of the motor vehicle is in the removal of the property from Wisconsin. This exemption does not apply to snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, off-road motorcycles, boats, and other motorized vehicles that are not designed or used primarily for transporting persons or property on a public highway. The exemption also does not apply to non-motorized campers, trailers, and recreational vehicles as defined in sec. 340.01(48r), Wis. Stats., that are not self-propelled.

Note: An individual that sells a snowmobile, ATV, UTV, or other motorized vehicle is not required to collect the tax when selling his or her personal vehicle. If the purchaser is a nonresident of Wisconsin who does not register or title the snowmobile, ATV, UTV, or other motorized vehicle with the State of Wisconsin (e.g., Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources) and is not required to register the vehicle with the State, the nonresident does not owe Wisconsin use tax on its purchase of the vehicle.

The chart titled "State, County, and Stadium Sales and Use Taxes Due on Items Registered or Titled in Wisconsin" is helpful in determining which tax rate applies to sales of certain vehicles that are required to be registered in the State of Wisconsin.

The following articles that are posted on the department's website may also be helpful:

Nonresident Purchasers:

A person who is not a resident of Wisconsin may be required to register his or her property with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or Wisconsin Department of Transportation. If the property is registered or required to be registered, the nonresident is required to pay the applicable Wisconsin sales or use tax due at the time the property is registered or titled in Wisconsin. This includes snowmobiles, ATVs, and UTVs 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 purchases an ATV in the state in which he lives from a private party (as opposed to a dealer) for $5,000. Nonresident 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 wants to ride the ATV on public trails in his home state, Nonresident is required to pay a flat $25 trail fee every two years. Nonresident brings the ATV to Wisconsin to ride on Wisconsin trails in Jackson County. In order to get the required trail pass in Wisconsin, Nonresident 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 was required to pay to his home state may not be used to reduce the $275 Wisconsin use tax due on Nonresident'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 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. The $25 may be used to reduce the $275 Wisconsin use tax due and Nonresident is only required to pay the $250 difference between the total Wisconsin use tax ($275) and the $25 use tax Nonresident previously paid to his home state.

Example 3: Same as Example 1 except that Nonresident was required to pay 6.5% sales tax to his home state at the time the ATV was registered in his home state. Since the sales tax Nonresident 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 registers the ATV in Wisconsin if Nonresident 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.

Page last updated April 28, 2014