Clarify Wisconsin MLS sales tax exemption
In November 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) expanded the scope of “digital goods” guidance to include access to online databases. DOR revised Publication 240 to clarify that “other news or information products” are not limited to products that disseminate news but also include any products that disseminate information, where information is a collection of facts or data (not necessarily news-related). Examples included access to an online database or website of current or historical information that allows the user to view and/or download the information, such as price or valuation information.
This revised guidance creates confusion because Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service (MLS) services could be construed as additional digital goods subject to the retail sales tax.
MLSs were created and continue to facilitate cooperation and compensation among participating real estate brokers. The dissemination of information regarding each property is merely an incidental component of the MLS listing process, the primary function of which is to facilitate the exchange of offers of cooperation and allow the sharing of commissions between brokers.
Therefore, the WRA is seeking statutory clarification that MLS services are exempt from the sales tax.
The WRA supports statutory clarification that information products do not include MLSs.