Uber listed as ineligible vendor with state agencies over taxes

FILE - An Uber sign is displayed at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, Sept....
FILE - An Uber sign is displayed at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 5:25 PM CST
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clarification: UPDATE: In a statement Wednesday, Uber told NBC15 News that it was told the company was added to the list accidentally and had been removed. A check of the list that day showed Uber was no longer on the latest version.

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The State of Wisconsin is not allowed to do business with Uber because of an issue over its taxes. The ride-sharing company’s presence on the list of companies not in compliance with a Wisconsin tax law also has ramifications for UW System schools.

While the list affects approved vendors for official state and university system business, it does not mean people who work for either entity are barred from using the app for personal travel.

Wisconsin law bars state agencies from entering into contracts with or making orders from companies on the list. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Administration explained Monday that the ineligibility stems from Uber not being registered, collecting or remitting Wisconsin sales or use tax on sales of tangible personal property or taxable services in Wisconsin, which is required by law. This means that the rideshare app was not collecting and reporting their sales and use tax appropriately, according to the agency.

The agency did not detail the scale of the noncompliance when it comes to Wisconsin sales or use tax.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has a list of over 2,100 entities or businesses that are considered ineligible based on their noncompliance with Wis. Statute 77.66, including Creighton University, University of Pittsburgh and USDA Rural Development.

Wis. Stat. 77.66 reads as follows:

77.66  Certification for collection of sales and use tax. The secretary of revenue shall determine and periodically certify to the secretary of administration the names of persons, and affiliates, as defined in s. 16.70 (1b), of persons, who make sales of tangible personal property, or items, property, or goods under s. 77.52 (1) (b), (c), or (d), and taxable services that are subject to the taxes imposed under this subchapter but who are not registered to collect and remit such taxes to the department or, if registered, do not collect and remit such taxes.

The DOA also outlined a policy that establishes a procedure for the administration of Wisconsin’s tax laws when it comes to who the state does business with. State agencies cannot work with businesses who fail to follow sale and tax laws, and agencies are responsible for knowing when they are considered tax exempt.

The State Procurement Manual PRO-415 states that, “Regardless of dollar amount, state agencies will not enter into any contract or order for the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment or contractual services with vendors or their affiliates who are not registered, collecting and remitting Wisconsin sales or use tax on sales of tangible personal property or taxable services in Wisconsin.” The policy further states that agencies may contact the contractor, advise them of this requirement, and encourage registration to become an eligible contractor by contacting DOR (608/266-3969 or witaxlink@dor.state.wi.us).

In a memo sent out to some UW staff last week, it said those who use UW business travel can not use Uber. Guests traveling to and from the university may also not use Uber. This also means that those who do chose to use the service will not be reimbursed.

The university recommended those who need to travel use a local taxi service or Lyft instead.

The DOA said that if Uber corrects the issue with the DOR, then they will be removed from the ineligible vendors list.

People can still use the app for personal travel, if necessary.

NBC15 reached out to Uber Monday and a spokesperson said they “have not received notification of any issue with or by the state of Wisconsin.”

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