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Car Sales Tax in Wisconsin

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In Wisconsin, the state sales tax rate of 5% applies to all car sales. The total tax rate also depends on your county and local taxes, which can be as high as 6.75%. The average Wisconsin car sales tax including state and county rates is 5.481%.
Staying within budget when you’re car shopping doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what additional costs there will be. The sales tax is a major factor as it can vary depending on where the car is purchased.
The Wisconsin car sales tax rate isn’t as high as some other states but can still fluctuate across the state. Knowing the combined rate for your county is essential to get a more accurate estimate of your total cost. 
The
car insurance
app,
Jerry
, has gathered all the information on car sales taxes in Wisconsin and additional costs you will encounter to help you stay within budget. Before we wrap up, we'll even share how to save money on
Wisconsin insurance costs
.
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How much is the car sales tax rate in Wisconsin?

The statewide sales tax in Wisconsin is 5%, which applies to any car purchase, new or used. Depending on your county or local sales tax, you may have to pay more on top of the base tax.
You can find the highest combined sales tax rate in the cities of Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Delton in Sauk County at 6.75%. Across the 100 local tax jurisdictions in Wisconsin, the combined sales tax clocks in at an average of 5.481%. Multiple Wisconsin counties only collect an extra 0.5% in sales tax, making the lowest combined sales tax 5.5%.

How are car trade-ins taxed in Wisconsin? 

Most dealerships will allow you to
trade in an old vehicle
for credits towards a new car with them. Since the trade-in value of your car is not subject to taxes in Wisconsin, this means you will only pay sales tax on your final ticket price. 
For example, you’re upgrading to a
Tesla Model S
worth $95,000 in
the city of Milwaukee
, and you’re trading in your old
Tesla Model 3
for a $9,500 credit. You’ll only have to pay Milwaukee County’s 5.5% combined state and local sales tax on $85,500 of the purchase. 
Dealer rebates and incentives are unfortunately not exempt from sales tax, meaning it will still be applied to the full price of the vehicle before dealer incentives.

How to calculate sales tax on a car in Wisconsin

The total car sales tax in your area can be calculated using the
online tax calculator tool
provided by the Sales Tax Handbook. You can input your ZIP code to get an estimate of the total sales tax rate that will apply to your car purchase. 
Key Takeaway Combining the 5% statewide sales tax with your local or county sales tax will give you the total car sales tax in your area. 
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Exemptions from Wisconsin car sales tax

Although all Wisconsin car purchases are subject to sales tax, they are exempted if one of the following applies to you: 
  • You are transferring a vehicle from a parent, spouse, or family member
  • You are making an even trade with no money exchange
  • You are a member of a recognized Native American tribe or band
  • You are a new resident who purchased the vehicle out of state 
For more details on available sales tax exemptions, refer to the additional information on the
State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation site
.
MORE: Car inspection in Wisconsin

How to estimate Wisconsin tax, title, and registration fees

On top of the sales tax, your total cost also includes the title and registration fees, the cost to transfer your license plates, and the documentation fee most dealerships charge. Some states will have supplemental fees for electric and hybrid cars. 
Here’s a breakdown of all the additional costs associated with car purchases in Wisconsin:
Cost
Average cost
Sales tax
5.481%
Registration fee
$85
Title fee
$164.50
Plate transfer
$0
Documentation fee
$190
Hybrid electric vehicle surcharge
$75
Electric vehicle surcharge
$100
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MORE: Is car insurance tax deductible?

How to find affordable car insurance in Wisconsin

The final cost factor to consider is the
car insurance
you’ll be getting. Luckily, you can find competitive prices for your area to keep your costs lower. 
If you want cheap car insurance quotes fast, go to
Jerry
. As a licensed broker, Jerry offers end-to-end support, gathers affordable quotes from top insurers, helps you switch plans, and can even help you cancel your old policy.
Jerry users have found an average of over $800 in savings per year through the Jerry app, so give it a try!
 “
Jerry
is the best! I was able to get the same insurance from Progressive for only $198, which saves me almost $400 a month. Seriously.” —Miles G. 
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FAQ

Used and new cars have the same sales tax in Wisconsin—the statewide base sales tax rate of 5% plus your local or county tax rate.
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett.
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