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Municipal or county vehicle registration fee (wheel tax)
Wisconsin law allows a town, village, city or county to collect an annual municipal or county vehicle registration fee (wheel tax) in addition to the regular annual registration fee paid for a vehicle. The fee applies to vehicles kept in the municipality or county with:
- Automobile registration
- Truck registration at 8,000 lbs. or less (except dual purpose farm)
This includes most special license plates with automobile or truck registration.* State law does not specify the amount of the wheel tax. However, the municipality or county must use all revenue from the wheel tax for transportation related purposes.
For information about the number of vehicles that may be subject to a wheel tax in a specific municipality or county, refer to lists of vehicle information.
*These special plates are exempt from wheel tax: Antique, Collector (“Collector Special” plates are not exempt), Ex-Prisoner of War (if issued without registration fee), Historic Military, Hobbyist, Medal of Honor and US Veteran Motorcycle. All special plates issued to a farm truck, dual purpose farm truck or motor home are also exempt from wheel tax.
Wheel tax collection
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) collects wheel taxes for the municipality or county, keeps an administrative fee of 10 cents per vehicle application and sends the rest to the municipality or county. WisDOT collects the wheel tax at the time of first registration and at each registration renewal. Your certificate of registration will indicate that a municipal or county fee was paid.
- Plates issued – If your auto or light truck is customarily kept in a jurisdiction that has a wheel tax, you must include the tax with the regular registration fee for the vehicle when you first apply for registration. See applying for title and registration.
- Plates renewed – WisDOT sends customers a renewal notice at least 30 days before their license plate registration expires. The renewal notice shows the total fee due including any wheel tax, based on the vehicle location listed on your vehicle registration record.
Verify the correct county and city, village or township where your vehicle is customarily kept when you apply for registration and on your license plate renewal notice (see example). If you recently changed your address, WisDOT records for the vehicle location will update automatically in most cases. Any person who gives a false or fictitious location where a vehicle is customarily kept may be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than six months or both (section 341.60, WI stats.)
To correct this information:
- If you mail your renewal notice or apply in person, indicate the correct information on the notice and submit the appropriate fee.
- Or, contact WisDOT at the email address or telephone number below.
Current wheel tax jurisdictions
WisDOT currently collects a wheel tax for:
- City of Appleton ($20 beginning February 2015)
- City of Beloit ($10; $20 beginning February 2015)
- Chippewa County ($10 beginning January 2015)
- Iowa County ($20 beginning February 2015)
- City of Janesville ($10)
- City of Milwaukee ($20)
- St. Croix County ($10)
The full fee is always required to issue or renew registration. Contact WisDOT if you paid the wheel tax in error.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Telephone: (608) 266-1466
Last modified: November 10, 2014
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