Effective October 1st, 2008, Wisconsin requires electronic filing for reporting shipments of wine into Wisconsin. According to Wisconsin, filing and paying taxes online is more accurate, more certain, and means better business. And, as we’ve discussed previously, it’s also green and convenient. Direct shippers must file their first excise tax report as a permitted Wine Direct Shipper electronically, and are required to file the “Wisconsin Distilled Spirits, Cider, and Wine Tax Return” (AB-130) and the “Wisconsin Winery and Direct Shipper Schedule” (AB-135). The first quarterly return includes shipments made from October 1st, 2008 through December 31st, 2008, and is due before January 15th, 2009. Also, wineries that ship to Wisconsin wholesalers must file the “Wisconsin Distilled Spirits, Cider, and Wine Tax Return” (AB-130) and the “Wisconsin Liquor Tax Multiple Schedule” (AB-131). Shipments to Wisconsin wholesalers must be filed monthly (also due by the 15th of the month), again, beginning October 1st, 2008.
There are two methods for filing the Wine Tax Return and all related schedules, electronically:
1) The Free-File filing application is available to anyone who has a Wisconsin Liquor Tax Permit Number, and you don’t have to set up a special account to start using it. Free-file will save all your data, so you can work on it as you ship orders, save it, and come back to it later. Entering the schedule information (e.g. the name of the recipient, how much wine they received) will automatically calculate the tax form. You can watch a detailed training video for more complete information on how to report using the Free File format. It’s about a half of an hour in length, and is very thorough. I had the best luck viewing the video in internet explorer. Payment options for Free-file include Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or a payment voucher, which you can print out and then mail in with your payment to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. If you decide to pay your taxes via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), it takes about a week to process your registration, so don’t wait until the last minute. For more information about EFT payments, you can visit the Wisconsin EFT web page, or call (608) 264-9918.
2) The Liquor Tax File Transmission filing method is a quick and painless way to submit your tax return. You won’t have to hand-enter all of your data, which can save you a lot time. And just the same as Free-file, you don’t have to set up a special account, so you can begin using it immediately. This filing method does need some initial development, as it requires the creation of an XML file. If you are computer savvy, you can create this file yourself, or, if not, you could have someone that is computer savvy create it for you (ShipCompliant will provide this service to its clients, in case you were wondering). After you have saved the XML file to your computer, just upload the file using Wisconsin’s file transfer application, and wait for an immediate confirmation of receipt. The Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payment option is available for this filing method.
Last but not least, for those direct shippers that shipped wine to Wisconsin consumers under the old reciprocity statutes (California wineries only), don’t forget that the “Annual Reciprocal Wine Shipment Report” must be filed for shipments made from January 1, 2008 through September 30th, 2008 (and don’t forget the required dates of birth for both purchaser and recipient). This form can be submitted in paper format. Because the “Annual Reciprocal Wine Shipment Report” only includes shipments through September, it can be submitted now, or anytime before January 31st, 2009.