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Additional auditors generate $72 million more in revenue

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An increase in the number of auditors working for state government generated an additional $72 million worth of taxes in 2018, according to state revenue officials.

The additional revenue, about $10 million short of the Department of Revenue’s goal for 2018, was generated in part by the state’s increased efforts to collect taxes from out-of-state businesses that may not be aware they owe Wisconsin taxes, the State Journal reported.

Lawmakers set aside nearly $14 million in its 2015 budget to pay for more than 100 additional positions in the revenue department to better ensure businesses outside the state were paying their required Wisconsin taxes. Before the positions were added, the state had about 290 tax auditors.

The state will also get a revenue boost from a U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 making it easier for states to collect taxes on online sales. The decision allows states to require out-of-state sellers without a physical presence in their state to collect sales taxes on items delivered there.

Before the court’s decision, out-of-state companies were generally required to collect sales tax only if they had an office or other property in the state.

Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans in the lame-duck session held in December passed a law requiring the state to put any new revenue from online sales toward a tax reduction. State revenue is expected to increase by $60 million annually because of the collection of the tax.

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