State's Top Tax Official Warns of Delays in Returns if Cuts Pass

April 11, 2017 06:25 PM

The Minnesota House is proposing $55 million in budget cuts to the Department of Revenue, while the Senate is proposing $32 million in cuts. Minnesota’s Revenue Commissioner says those cuts would result in 200 layoffs, slower tax services, less fraud protection and months-long delays in processing tax refunds. Other agencies are voicing similar concerns with House and Senate budget bills.

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Minnesota's top tax official says deep cuts to state budgets could result in months-long delays to tax returns next year.

Republicans who control the Legislature have laid out some major cuts to state agencies including the Department of Revenue.

That's the agency that processes tax filings annually.

Minnesota Taxes By the Numbers

The tax deadline this year is April 18.  Here are how the numbers look so far, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue:

* As of Tuesday, 2 million tax returns have been filed in the state.

* 88 percent of those have been processed.

* 1.3 million refunds had been issued as of Monday.

* State officials are expecting another 900,000 tax returns to be filed.

Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly said Tuesday that plotted cuts of more than $10 million to her budget could delay tax returns for Minnesota residents by several months. Republicans have argued that state government spending has grown too fast.

"People are going to wait months and months for refunds if we get these kinds of cuts," Bauerly said at a briefing for State Capitol reporters. "There's no way we can continue to do our job on the revenue generation side and the processing side if we have a 50-million dollar cut."

This year's tax returns would not be affected.

Republican Rep. Sarah Anderson says it's "simply unacceptable" that the Dayton administration says they need $20 million more in funding just to maintain current levels of service. Anderson, chair of the House State Government Finance Committee, acknowledges scaling back revenue department funding to 2014-15 levels, but says the governor and his commissioners are engaging in the "sky-is-falling" rhetoric.

RELATED: State Lawmakers Moving Quickly To Avoid Prospect of Shutdown

The House and Senate bills are only the first step in a budget that will eventually be negotiated with Gov. Mark Dayton. Dayton's administration is pushing back against the GOP's budget plans, saying they would harm services that Minnesotans rely upon.



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