Bad Incentives

Speaking of Wisconsin, I filled out my annual corporate report for the state of Wisconsin.   For most state filings, the annual report wants mainly to confirm some information about addresses and directors and officers, though the most important information they need is generally a credit card number to pay the annual fee.   Wisconsin asks all kinds of other questions about paid in capital and assets in the state.  It turns out that the annual fee a corporation has to pay in Wisconsin is based on one's capital investment in the state -- add more capital investment in their state, and the company has to pay a higher fee.  Nice incentive.


  1. TJIC:

    MA has an excise tax on working capital.

    Take a $1 and pay it to myself ("eat the seedcorn") and I pay income tax on it in one year.

    Buy $1 of DVDs or computers...and pay taxes on it every year.


    If I could wave a magic wand and change just one thing, I wouldn't change the size of government, or the unions, or anything else - I would just replace taxation at every level with a flat rate consumption / sales tax.

  2. spiro:


    My county in Idaho has the "working capital" tax too. I found that out the hard way when I opened a retail establishment and got a personal call from the county auditor. It went like this:

    me: "A tax for my shelve, POS equip, etc...but I already paid sales tax on them. And now I own this stuff."
    CA: "Yes, but sales tax is a state tax, this is for the county."
    me: "What are you doing, as the county, that justifies taxing me on my equipment?"
    CA: "I don't understand what you mean."
    me: "what did the county do to facilitate purchasing or operation of this equipment? What benefit do you supply that justifies re-taxing me annually on items I own?"
    CA: "Well, county taxes pay for the Sheriff, Fire Dept....many things"
    me: "I thought the thousands in property taxes that I pay on both my home and this business location paid for that."
    CA: "They do, but that's different....."

    Later, another business owner told me that he just puts $1,000,000 price tags on all his business equipment and counts it as inventory.

    p.s. Good to see that the Mass Gestapo lets you still have you internet privileges. Miss you blog though. >:[

  3. Brian Dunbar:

    Hunh - so there is a reason most of my employer's expansion is happening outside of Wisconsin? Who woulda thunk it?

  4. Joe Martin:


    Is that fee documented online somewhere? I live in Wisconsin and I'd like to mention it to some of my friends up here, but I know they're going to ask me for documentation and I'm fairly certain that they won't accept a blog as proof.