Archived Story

Bipartisan bill means more convenience

Published 10:36am Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This week the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed its first bill of the legislative session — a bill to reduce taxes for middle-class families.

The bill conforms Minnesota’s tax system to changes passed in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. As a result, an estimated 200,000 Minnesotans, including teachers, students, homeowners and seniors, will be able to file their state taxes with more convenience and with a greater tax benefit.

Late enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 by Congress has created potential problems for Minnesota taxpayers. If Minnesota does not conform with the new, federal changes, each taxpayer who claims any of the affected deductions will need to file a special form to calculate their Minnesota income tax liability. By conforming to the new changes, Minnesotans will likely not need to change forms, and taxpayers can file without making additional adjustments.

I am optimistic this common-sense legislation will be signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton as soon as possible.

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, more than 250,000 Minnesotans would be benefit from federal tax conformity, including:

—55,000 teachers who claim the $250 educator expense deduction.

—90,000 homeowners who claim an itemized deduction for mortgage insurance premiums.

—60,000 students or parents of students who take up to $4,000 for the higher education tuition and fee deduction.

—Unknown amount of seniors who would need to recalculate the amount of Social Security benefits taxable in Minnesota, exceeding the amount taxed federally because they would not qualify for the IRA distributions to public charities if age 70 1⁄2 or older.

Regardless of our political affiliation, we can all agree that solving our state’s big challenges requires cooperation, collaboration and respect. As the legislative session continues, I am hopeful DFLers and Republicans can continue working together to provide the kind of effective, responsive government Minnesotans deserve.

I will continue working with my colleagues to get the job done, but I want to hear your views, comments and ideas as well.

Please continue reaching out to me by phone at 651-296-4193, by email at, or by postal mail at 487 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155.

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