Wisconsin State Tax Guide

State tax rates and rules for income, sales, property, fuel, cigarette, and other taxes that impact Wisconsin residents.

Bottom Line

Middle-Class Families: Least Tax-Friendly (Go to the Kiplinger Tax Map for Middle-Class Families)

Retirees: Least Tax-Friendly (Go to the Kiplinger Tax Map for Retirees)

It may sound cheesy, but Wisconsin is really milking its residents when it comes to taxes. Property taxes in the Badger State are high and are the driving force behind the state's poor tax rankings. The statewide median property tax rate is the eighth-highest in the nation. Income taxes can also be high for certain residents when compared to other states.

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The good news is that the average combined state and local sales tax rate is actually low in Wisconsin. It has the ninth-lowest average combined state and local tax rate in the nation. There are no estate or inheritance taxes, either.

Wisconsin Income Taxes

Wisconsin Income Tax Range

Low: 3.54% (on up to $12,760 of taxable income for singles or up to $17,010 for married couples)

High: 7.65% (on taxable income over $280,950 for singles or over $374,600 for married couples)

Wisconsin Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are not taxed by the state.

Wisconsin Tax Breaks for Other Retirement Income

Income from federal government and designated Wisconsin state and local government retirement plans is exempt if the taxpayer was a member of the plan before 1964.

In addition, taxpayers age 65 and older with federal adjusted gross income of $15,000 or less ($30,000 or less for joint filers) can deduct up to $5,000 of federally-taxed income from private or government retirement plans (other than income otherwise excluded).

Military pensions (including for certain service with the Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service) and Railroad Retirement benefits are fully exempt.

Wisconsin Sales Tax

5% state levy. Municipalities can add up to 1.75% to that, with the average combined rate at 5.43%, according to the Tax Foundation.

  • Groceries: Exempt
  • Clothing: Taxable
  • Motor Vehicles: Taxable
  • Prescription Drugs: Exempt

Wisconsin Real Property Taxes

In Wisconsin, the median property tax rate is $1,510 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Wisconsin Property Tax Breaks for Retirees

Unlike younger taxpayers, residents age 62 or older don't have to have earned income to claim a homestead tax credit on their income tax return for property tax or rent paid.

In addition, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority provides property-tax-deferral loans for the elderly with incomes under $20,000.

Wisconsin Motor Fuel Taxes

Gasoline: 32.9¢ per gallon.

Diesel: 32.9¢ per gallon.

Wisconsin Sin Taxes

Cigarettes: $2.52 per pack

Moist snuff: 100% of manufacturer price

Other tobacco products: 71% (no more than $0.50 per cigar)

Vapor products: $0.05 per ml

Beer: $0.06 per gallon

Wine: $0.07 per gallon

Liquor: $3.25 per gallon

Wisconsin Estate and Inheritance Taxes

No estate or inheritance tax.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023. He has more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.