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.
- Tax Foundation: Wisconsin Legislature Considering Several Pro-Growth Tax Reforms
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Filing Requirements
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Tax Rates
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: 2020 Wisconsin Tax Return Due Dates and Payments
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Tax Filing Extensions For Paper and Electronically Submitted Returns
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Late-Filed Returns
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Form 1 Instructions
- IRS: Authorized IRS e-file Provider Locator Service For Tax Professionals
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Refund and Payment Options
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Form EPV Wisconsin Electronic Payment Voucher
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Where's My Refund - It's Refund 123
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Individual Income Tax Estimated Tax Payments
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Qualified Wisconsin Businesses
- State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Businesses
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.