Filing Your 2021 State Income Taxes in Wisconsin

Filing Your 2021 State Income Taxes in Wisconsin
••• Viktorcvetkovic

Wisconsin has a thriving economy, supported by industry and tourism. For those living in the state, though, affordability can be an issue, especially with higher-than-average income tax rates. Wisconsin's state tax rate ranges from ​3.54 percent​ to ​7.65 percent​, depending on your filing status and income.

Who Must File Wisconsin Income Taxes?

Whether you're required to file a Wisconsin state tax return depends on your income level and resident status. Full-year single residents have to file if they earned ​$11,900​ or more during the tax year in question. Single nonresidents and part-year residents must file a tax return after earning only ​$2,000​ in a tax year.

The Wisconsin state tax filing threshold is even higher if you're age ​65​ or older. Full-year single residents who are ​65-plus​ only file with earnings of ​$12,500​ or more.

The thresholds increase for all taxpayers who are married, with different thresholds for those who are filing jointly or separately.

Wisconsin defines a part-year resident as someone who lives in the state part of the time, without giving specifics. Nonresidents are those who don't live in the state but earn income from Wisconsin businesses.

What Are the Forms to Use?

For the Wisconsin tax return, residents use ​Form I-010​, which you can access by fillable form, through tax preparation software and services or online through E-File. Part-time residents and nonresidents use Form 1NPR.

What Is the Tax Rate in Wisconsin?

If you're required to file an income tax return, whether as a resident or nonresident, your rates will be based on your earnings and marital status. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue breaks down individual tax rates for single taxpayers:

  • 3.54 percent​ on earnings up to ​$12,120
  • $429.05​ plus ​4.65 percent​ of excess over ​$12,120​ for earnings of ​$12,120 to $24,250
  • $993.09​ plus ​5.3 percent​ of excess over ​$24,250​ for earnings of ​$24,250 to $266,930
  • $13,855.13​ plus ​7.65 percent​ of excess over ​$266,930​ for earnings above ​$266,930

If you're married filing jointly, the rates differ:

  • 3.54 percent​ on earnings up to ​$16,160
  • $572.06​ plus ​4.65 percent​ of excess over ​$16,160​ for earnings of ​$16,150 to $32,330
  • $1,323.97​ plus ​5.3 percent​ of excess over ​$32,330​ for earnings of ​$32,330 to $355,910
  • $18,473.71​ plus ​7.65 percent​ of excess over ​$355,910​ for earnings above ​$355,910

Those married filing separately pay taxes at these rates:

  • 3.54 percent​ on earnings up to ​$8,080
  • $286.03​ plus ​4.65 percent​ of excess over ​$8,080​ for earnings of ​$8,080-$16,160
  • $661.75​ plus ​5.3 percent​ of excess over ​$16,160​ for earnings of ​$16,160-$177,960
  • $9,237.15​ plus ​7.65 percent​ of excess over ​$177,960​ for earnings above ​$177,960

What Are the Filing Deadline and Extension Process?

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue follows the IRS in setting tax return due dates. Typically, this means your taxes will be due on ​April 15​ of each year. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, though, it will be due the next business day. In ​2022​, because April 15 is a holiday, taxes will be due on ​April 18​.

If for some reason you can't file on time, you can file for a six-month​ extension, putting your returns due on ​October 15​. You can do this by filing the same form you use for an extension on your federal taxes, Form 4868. If you're outside the United States on tax day, you'll get an automatic ​two-month​ extension. In either case, though, you'll still need to pay any taxes owed on time to avoid penalties when you file late.

What Are the Penalties for Late Filing and Underpayment of Taxes?

In addition to penalties, Wisconsin also charges you a late fee of ​$50​ if your tax payment isn't submitted by the due date. If you request an extension, you won't have to pay the fee until you exceed the ​six-month​ allotted time, but you will still have to pay penalties if your payment isn't remitted by the original filing deadline.

Failure to pay your state income tax return in Wisconsin on time will lead to a ​1.5 percent​ per month interest charge. Those who request an extension get a small break on that, paying only ​1 percent​ per month. If you don't file on time, you'll also be charged a ​5 percent​ monthly penalty, with a maximum of ​25 percent​ overall. This percentage is based on the tax due.

Where Do I Mail/E-file My Wisconsin Return?

The easiest way to file your Wisconsin state tax return is to use E-File, which is available to most residents, nonresidents and part-time residents. Simply gather your tax information and go to Revenue.WI.gov/Pages/WI-EFile/home.aspx to get started.

If you'd prefer to paper file, you can find a full list of fillable forms at Revenue.WI.gov/Pages/Form/2021Individual.aspx. Once you've completed all the appropriate tax forms, mail them to the address listed on ​page 6​ of the instructions for Form 1.

You may also choose to use software or a professional tax preparer. You can use the same service you use to file your federal income tax return. The IRS maintains a list of authorized e-file providers.

How Do I Pay Taxes Due?

There's no shortage of payment options when it comes to your Wisconsin state taxes. If you're using Wisconsin e-file, the easiest option is to transfer the money from your bank account directly into the system. But you can also initiate the transfer from your own bank separately or pay by credit card. Credit card payments will be charged an additional convenience fee.

If you want to pay by check or money order, you'll need to complete and submit a payment voucher. This is Form EPV. Submit this form with your payment and make sure all the information on it matches the details on your tax return.

Where Can I Check My Wisconsin Refund Status?

You have ​two​ major options when it comes to receiving your Wisconsin tax refund. The first is direct deposit to either your checking or savings account, and this is by far the speediest method. The second is paper check, which will take longer but doesn't require you to provide your bank routing and checking account numbers.

If you're due a refund on your Wisconsin income tax return, you'll need to bookmark the DOR Refund ​123​ page. On this site, you'll get updated information on the status of your refund. Most refunds are issued within ​12 weeks​, but you'll see the money faster if you chose direct deposit.

What About Wisconsin Taxes if You’re Self-employed?

If you are a self-employed resident, you pay state income tax at the rate relevant to your income level and marital status. The difference is, your taxes won't be withheld throughout the year. To avoid penalties, Wisconsin requires you to make estimated quarterly tax payments if you expect your balance due at tax time to be ​$500​ or more.

What About Wisconsin Taxes if You’re a Business?

Businesses operating in the state of Wisconsin will need to pay a variety of taxes. If you're a qualifying Wisconsin business, you'll have to register with the state, at which point you can sign up for My Tax Account to file taxes and make payments.

Electronic filing makes paying your Wisconsin income taxes easier than ever. You'll simply need to gather your documents, log into the website and file. The due date typically follows the IRS's federal tax return due date, making it easy to keep track each year.

The rates and dates in the article are correct as of publication, but check for any changes at the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue website when you are ready to file.