Milwaukee scores high marks for favorable tax structures for business. A national and international ranking of cities in 2008 by KPMG International found that among 24 mid-sized U.S. cities — defined as having populations of a half million to 2 million — Milwaukee ranked No. 4, 4% below the national average for total taxes paid by corporations.
According to a study by Ernst & Young, Wisconsin ranks 30th in state and local business taxes as a percentage of gross state product for fiscal year 2008. As a percentage of personal income, Wisconsin’s state and local tax burden (11.8%) is only slightly higher than the 11.3% national average.
In 2011, Wisconsin ranked fourth-lowest in the nation for state and local tax burden on business expansion, according to an Ernst & Young study. The study ranked states according to the local tax burdens on new investments by businesses.
The Milwaukee Region has some of the lowest unemployment and workers compensation costs in the country and offers a variety of tax advantages for businesses, including:
Businesses are subject to a 7.9% tax on income but receive tax credits for research and development and for sales taxes paid on fuel and electricity used in manufacturing operations. Income for multi-state companies is apportioned on a single sales factor basis, greatly simplifying tax-return preparation.
Wisconsin’s progressive income tax ranges from 4.6% to 6.75% of adjusted gross income as follows:
Taxable income - married persons filing jointly
$0 to $11,480 4.60%
$11,481 to $22,960 6.15%
$22,961 to $172,200 6.50%
More than $172,200 6.75%
Taxable income - filing as single
$0 to $8,610 4.60%
$8,611 to $17,220 6.15%
$17,221 to $129,150 6.50%
More than $129,150 6.75%
Exclusions to income include:
Sales taxes vary among counties. The statewide tax rate is 5 percent. Some counties assess an additional 0.5 - 0.6 percent tax.
Sales tax by county
The use tax, which is the same as the sales tax, is assessed on the use, consumption or storage of property that was purchased without paying sales taxes.
Exemptions from the sales and use tax include:
All property located in the state, except personal furnishings, clothing and property for which there is a specific exemption, is subject to taxation. Manufacturing, telecommunication and utility properties are assessed by the Department of Revenue while all other property is assessed by the municipal assessor. Exemptions from property tax include:
Property taxes in the Milwaukee Region vary from $15 to $30 per $1,000 of value. Significant exemptions from property taxes include:
Taxable Payroll <$500,000
Minimum rate - 0.05%
New employers - 3.25%
Construction - 6.60%
Taxable Payroll>= $500,000
Minimum rate - 0.10%
New employers - 3.40%
Construction - 6.60%
Maximum rate (all employers)
When there is a dispute between a
claimant and an employer, the dispute is first decided by an adjudicator.
||EXHAUSTION RATE*||AVE. BENEFITS PER RECIPIENT||AVE. WEEKLY BENEFIT|
* Exhaustion rate = % of recipients who collect 26 weeks of benefits
Data from U.S.
Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation premium rates are among the lowest in the country. Set by the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau and paid to private insurers, the rates declined 33% during the 1990s and 4.5% in 2005 alone.
Risk and Insurance, a national trade magazine, has called Wisconsin "a worker's comp utopia." The national Worker's Compensation Research Institute has concluded that Wisconsin has "the lowest rate of requests for litigation of any state we have studied" because "management and labor control the system through a labor and management advisory council." Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation rates typically provide significant savings over those of neighboring states as illustrated by a Five State Comparison.
Wisconsin's Worker's Compensation premium rates are among the lowest in the country,