Making Taxpaying Less Taxing

By Secretary Richard G. Chandler - Department of Revenue

Over the first 1,000 days of Governor Scott Walker's tenure, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has worked to "Make taxpaying less taking."  We want to help lower the tax burden on Wisconsin residents and make the taxpaying process more user-friendly.  A competitive tax climate is a critical part of the state's job creation strategy.  

DOR has helped develop and implement several major tax reform initiatives which have reduced Wisconsin's tax burden by $1.4 billion, including:

  • Reduced individual income tax rates for all tax brackets, providing $650 million of relief, with the largest reductions going to middle-class taxpayers.
  • Created a state tax deduction for Health Savings Accounts.
  • Increased the health insurance premium deduction and the child care deduction.
  • Created a deduction for K-12 private school tuition payments.
  • Adopted a new manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, which will offset taxes on income derived from manufacturing and agriculture activities in Wisconsin.
    • The credit starts at 1.875% in 2013 and increases to 7.5% by 2016 when it is fully implemented.
  • Adopted incentives for investments in Wisconsin-based businesses:
    • Gains on investments that are held for five years or more will be completely exempt from the capital gains tax.
    • Gains on existing investments that are rolled over into Wisconsin businesses are eligible for tax deferral.
  • Stabilized property taxes for homeowners, businesses and other property owners.

In addition to the tax policy initiatives that have reduced Wisconsin's tax burden, DOR has implemented many customer service and efficiency initiatives, including:

  • Launched a new web site in December 2011, using customer focus groups to develop an easy-to-navigate site.
  • Expanded the "Plain Language" initiative to systemically revise DOR's forms, notices and publications to make them more clear and easily readable.
  • Overhauled the My Tax Account service which enables businesses to register and manage all their tax accounts in one online location.
  • Provided increased property tax relief for homeowners through the Lottery Credit due to record lottery sales.
  • Increased fraud detection by implementing new procedures, increasing the fraud prevention rate to $27 million annually.
  • Enhanced privacy and security by implementing a holistic approach to educating and testing all DOR employees on security practices.
  • Expanded outreach to local governments by attending meetings with municipal officials and creating work groups to identify issues.
  • Set up work groups with tax professionals and business managers to streamline audit processes.
  • Expedited release of preliminary equalized property values by August 1 to avoid errors that adversely affect taxpayers and local budgets.
  • Promoted e-filing, with Wisconsin continuing to be a top ten state for e-filers with an 82% e-file rate.
  • Increased delinquent tax collections to more than $200 million annually.
  • Produced more than 60 web videos to provide taxpayer guidance.
  • Began conducting new business seminars in collaboration with local Chambers of Commerce to educate businesses on tax filing procedures.

In the future, DOR will continue to help private sector job creation by reforming and efficiently administering Wisconsin tax laws in a way that prioritizes customer service and economic growth.

Department of Revenue

Welcome from the Secretary

Welcome to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue! We strive to be a leader in providing outstanding customer service, fair administration of tax laws, sound lottery management, and advanced economic and tax policy research.

My goals for the agency are to:

  • Implement good tax policy, with a particular emphasis on policies that will promote job growth
  • Deliver excellent customer service to individuals and businesses
  • Operate the department efficiently and effectively
  • Maintain a positive work environment

We want to lower the overall tax burden, make the taxpaying process easier for you, and wisely use taxpayer dollars in operating the agency.

Thank you for visiting our website today. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you!