Wisconsin Payroll Instructions

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US Federal Withholding Tables

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Wisconsin has state income tax withholding. There were no formula changes in 2017. There have been only 4 changes in the past 25 years, the most recent in 2011 and 2015. Withholding calculations use "step table" formulas that are similar to the federal payroll tax tables and most other states. They also use a "step table" to calculate the base deductions, which is unusual.

HINT-- Turtle Creek Software provides free annual updates for US federal and Wisconsin state tax withholding rates.

Wisconsin State Withholding Instructions

To enter withholding information for an employee who lives in Wisconsin, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Employees from the Accounts menu.
  2. Locate the employee record.
  3. Click the Payroll Setup button.
  4. Enter the employee's marital status into the Marital Status field (see note below).
  5. Enter the correct Tax Package (see note below).
  6. Enter the number of federal dependents into the Federal Exemptions field.
  7. Enter the number of Wisconsin dependents into the State Exemptions field.
  8. Click OK.

If an employee uses the 'zero deduction' option for State Withholding, assign the Zero Deduction tax package to them in the Tax Package field of the Employee account. Otherwise use the standard state Tax Package.


Wisconsin State Unemployment Tax Instructions

In 2017, Wisconsin SUTA state unemployment insurance tax is calculated on the first $14,000 of each employee's wages (unchanged from last year). The starting tax rate is 3.05% for employers with payroll under $500,000 and 3.25% for those over-- with a higher rate for construction companies. After three years the rate is adjusted based on the employer's experience factor.

To enter your Wisconsin state SUTA tax rate into the Goldenseal payroll software, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Payroll Setup from the Costs menu, and choose Tax Items from the submenu.
  2. You'll see a list of Tax Items. Locate the Wisconsin SUTA tax in the list, and double-click on it. HINT: If you don't see the Wisconsin SUTA in the list, you'll need to import your state's payroll info first.
  3. Enter the percentage rate that you pay into the field to the right of Calculation method.
  4. If the state SUTA cutoff amount has changed, enter it into the dollar field to the right of First Adjustment.

Wisconsin Marital Status

Enter one of the following marital status values for each employee:

  • Single- single employee with one personal exemption
  • Married- married employee with two personal exemptions
  • Dual Income- married employee with one personal exemption
  • Head of House- employee claims Head of Family status
  • Other- not used

Starting in 2011, you'll need to assign either the single or married Tax Package to each employee, depending on their marital status. In prior years we were able to combine everything into one Tax package.


Wisconsin Tax Contacts

State payroll withholding website

Payroll Tax Office-- 608 266-2776 or 608 266-9829

Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8903
Madison WI 53708-8903


Official State Lawn Ornament

Flamingo or garden gnome, carved from block of cheese.