Wisconsin Policy Forum Report: A Little Sales Tax Loophole

Welcome to “Summarizing Wisconsin Policy Forum Report, because only nerds read Wisconsin Policy Forum Report”

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I do realize that this makes me a nerd. Part 2 will be on police spending increases. #wisconsin #wisconsinlife #publicpolicy #newsroom

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First Up: Shift to online shopping helps taxpayers

…but not the state budget. Let’s break it down!

Not a shocker that last year the money we didn’t spend IRL was spent online. (Crazy right?)

For example: I bought six pairs of footie pajama pants from an Instagram ad because you all only ever see me from the chest up!

Now, you’d think the state would see revenue from the sales taxes of those online purchases, yeah?

WRONG! Thanks to a bizarre, uniquely Wisconsin provision in state law, the sales tax collection from certain online purchases (from out of state retailers) actually needs to be used to reduce income taxes for Wisconsin residents.

May 2020 saw a HUGE decline in income, sales, and excise taxes in comparison to 2019. Everyone who spent their time shopping in stores headed to the internet to feed their home-time woes.

Basically, we shopped ourselves into an individual tax break– at the expense of Wisconsin recouping overall losses on sales tax from other segments like restaurants and brick and mortar stores.

Honestly, I don’t really know if this a good thing or a bad thing.

It might be great on an individual level, but it’s not yet known the effect it will have on the state’s economy.

We’re all looking for a little help, but who knows! Maybe it’ll work out for the best!

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