Tax filing season may be slightly different for some Minnesotans this year, but the Minnesota Department of Revenue has been working to ensure a smooth income tax filing season for Minnesota.
Since the end of the 2018 legislative session, hundreds of professionals at the department have been hard at work updating the state tax filing systems for taxpayer use in 2019. We do this every year, as soon as we know if there are — or aren’t — law changes that could affect taxpayers. This year, we are working to update the tax filing systems to accommodate differences between federal and Minnesota tax laws in the wake of federal tax legislation.
Since June, we have been meeting with tax preparers and tax professionals, tax software providers and taxpayers to gather feedback, share information and answer questions to make sure our filing season is ready to go when we open in early 2019. We are working with more than 25 software providers to update, test and retest more than 50 filing products, and educating thousands of tax preparers and other tax professionals to ensure a smooth filing season for Minnesota’s 3 million taxpayers.
We will be ready for you to file your taxes in 2019. There are things that you can do to make filing season smooth, too.
• Choose electronic filing and direct deposit. Last year, almost 90 percent of Minnesota taxpayers filed their taxes electronically. Using software is easy, convenient and secure. Electronic filing also ensures that you have the most up-to-date forms and instructions when you file.
The department will post a list of certified electronic tax filing software on its website when the filing season opens. Free electronic filing is also available for Minnesotans meeting certain eligibility requirements. You may be eligible to file electronically for free if you are a military service member, meet certain income or age requirements, or if you qualify for certain tax credits. Last year, nearly 64 percent of Minnesota taxpayers were eligible to file their Minnesota taxes for free. You can search “Free File” on our website to see the list of free electronic filing products that are available.
Direct deposit is an easy, convenient and secure way to get your refund. You can include your banking information on your tax return and get your refund deposited into your bank account. Direct deposit is available whether you file your return electronically or by mail.
• Save your receipts. As announced in July, you may claim either the standard deduction or elect to itemize deductions on your 2018 Minnesota income tax return, regardless of the choice you make on your 2018 federal income tax return.
The department encourages you to save receipts and other documentation throughout the year to ensure you have the information you need to reduce your tax liability or increase your refund as much as the law allows. You will need these documents to prove any expenses and charitable contributions you may be able to deduct.
• Stay informed. To stay up to date on the latest information about the upcoming filing season, subscribe to the department’s e-mail subscription lists by clicking the red envelope on our website. You can also see frequently asked questions about the filing season by going to www.revenue.state.mn.us and selecting the orange Tax Law Changes button.
Cynthia Bauerly is commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue.