Can custodians impose a sales tax on records requests?

Open Records Law

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, 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.”

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