Q: Can custodians impose a sales tax on records requests?
A: In most cases, no. A Department of Revenue regulation, Wis. Admin. Code s.Tax 11.05(3)(q) specifically exempts from the sales tax charges for records provided under the Public Records Law. The precise wording, which can be found on the fifth page of the the document posted at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/tax/tax011.pdf, p. 81, exempts from taxable receipts “charges by an ‘authority,’ as defined in s. 19.32(1), Stats., for copying a record under 19.35(1)(a), Stats., including charges for a search of records.” This would not exempt from the tax receipts for copies that do not meet the definition of record under 19.32(2), such as “published materials in the possession of an authority other than a public library which are available for sale, or which are available for inspection at a public library.”
Disclaimer: The Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the Wisconsin FOIC website are provided by Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. (LaFollette Godfrey & Kahn is the Madison office of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.).
The information provided on this website is a service to the general public. The information provided is not legal advice. Do not act on this information without the advice of professional legal counsel, who must evaluate the facts of your situation in light of current laws before giving you legal advice.
Your use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship with our firm, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., or with any of our attorneys. Please contact us directly if you would like to retain our firm as your legal counsel, www.gklaw.com. But do not send us confidential information until you have spoken with one of our attorneys. Before we can represent you, we must determine that no conflict of interest or other situation would prevent us from representing you. Our representation begins only after we complete our evaluation and agree in writing to represent you.