More Minnesota counties grant tax deadline flexibility

People line up at the Hennepin County Government Center.
People line up at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis to prepay their 2018 property taxes in December 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

More Minnesota counties are giving property owners extra time to get payments in. 

Several counties have decided to delay penalties or interest on tax payments made after the May 15 deadline, giving property owners until June, July or even later in various cases to catch up.

Crow Wing, Hennepin, Olmsted and Winona counties are among those that have relaxed deadlines. 

Matthew Hilgart of the Association of Minnesota Counties expects others to consider the step early next month.

“When you’re making these decisions you want to make sure a program is administerable and clear and transparent for taxpayers and fair and equitable. And two you need to make sure that folks have capacity,” he said. For “counties and cities and school districts, property taxes is their main source of revenue.”

House Taxes Committee Chair Paul Marquart said in a hearing Wednesday that there won’t be a statewide directive to counties. 

A decision has yet to be made about whether to reduce, waive or delay a state levy assessed on commercial properties. Pending Senate legislation would do that.

Meanwhile, Minnesota taxpayers appear to be using flexibility they were given to file their 2019 income taxes later than normal.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue updated lawmakers Wednesday on filing activity so far. Assistant Commissioner Robert Doty said more than 2 million returns came in before April 15, but that’s down from the usual level.

“Compared to last year’s filing season, we have received about 70 percent of the returns that we expect to receive at the end of this filing season,” Doty said. “This represents about 450,000 less returns than we have received at this same time last year.”

The IRS and Minnesota’s tax agency pushed the deadline to file returns and make any payments until July 15 for annual filers. People who file on a quarterly basis were still bound by the April 15 deadline for the first installment.

Doty said more than 1.5 million state income tax refunds have gone out.

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