What to know about filing a Minnesota state tax return

Purple light illuminates the underside of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis, in tribute to one of the city's most famous natives, Prince. liliboas/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images Image:

In a Nutshell

Minnesota gave the world Prince and deep-fried cheese curds. And the state has a long history of pioneering behavior — even when it comes to its tax code, which has been called one of the most progressive in the country. Here are some important things to know about filing Minnesota state tax returns.

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This article was fact-checked by our editors and reviewed by CPA candidate Janet Murphy, senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Minnesotans get props for facing their state’s notoriously cold temperatures with good humor.

Their tax code gets kudos, too, for being fair and advanced. In fact, the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence, a nonpartisan group, considers the state’s tax system the most progressive in the country.

Let’s take a look at Minnesota’s individual income tax and what you need to know to file your 2019 state tax return.



What are the basics of Minnesota state taxes?

Minnesota has a sales tax, use taxes and county-level property taxes. Plus, all full-time Minnesota residents and anyone who lives in the state for at least 183 days during a tax year must file a state income tax return if their gross income meets a specified minimum for the year. Generally, if they are required to file a federal return, they’ll also have to file a Minnesota state tax return.

Even if you didn’t have to file a federal return, you’ll need to file a state return if you live in Minnesota and want to claim any refundable credits or get a refund of state tax you paid.

Taxing body

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is the taxing body for the state. Call the department at 1-651-296-3781 with general questions, or at 1-651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094 for information about balances due. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

You can also email questions to individual.incometax@state.mn.us.

Filing and payment deadline

Your Minnesota state income tax return and taxes are due on the same day as the federal filing deadline: April 15. If the day falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline shifts to the next business day.

Filing statuses

Minnesota recognizes federal filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, married filing separately or head of household.

The status you use on your Minnesota state return must match the status you use on your federal income tax return.

Minnesota income tax rates

Minnesota’s individual income tax system has four tax brackets, with rates of 5.35%, 6.80%, 7.85% and 9.85%. Your annual income and filing status determine your tax rate.

Here are the brackets and corresponding rates for 2019. They apply if your Minnesota taxable income is $90,000 or more. If your state taxable income is less than $90,000, you’ll use the 2019 tax tables included in the instructions for Form M1, Individual Income Tax return, to determine your tax.

Marginal tax rate Single Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) Married filing separately Head of household
5.35% $0-$26,520 $0-$38,770 $0-$19,385 $0-$32,650
6.80% $26,521-$87,110 $38,771-$154,020 $19,386-$77,010 $32,651-$131,190
7.85% $87,111-$161,720 $154,021-$269,010 $77,011-$134,505 $131,191-$214,980
9.85% $161,721 and more $269,011 and more $134,506 and more $214,981 and more

 

Learn about federal income tax brackets and tax rates

What are some Minnesota deductions and credits to know?

Standard deduction vs. itemizing

For 2019, the Minnesota standard deductions mirror the federal standard deduction amounts. They are …

  • $24,400 for taxpayers married filing jointly or surviving spouses/qualifying widow(er)s
  • $18,350 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $12,200 for single filers or those married filing separately

If you (or your spouse, if married filing jointly) are blind or 65 or older, there are additional standard deduction amounts.

Some states require you to do the same thing on your state return that you did on your federal return. For example, if you take the federal standard deduction, you have to take the state standard deduction. And if you itemize on your federal return, you have to itemize on your state return, too.

But Minnesota handles things differently. You can choose to use the Minnesota state standard deduction or itemize deductions on your state income tax return, regardless of what you choose on your federal income tax return.

This means you could take a standard deduction on your federal return and still itemize deductions on your state return if that would give you a bigger state-level tax benefit than the state standard deduction.

Minnesota state tax deductions

Here are some deductions you may be able to take on your Minnesota state tax return (whether you itemize or take the standard deduction).

  • Dependent exemptions: Beginning with the 2019 tax year, Minnesota no longer allows personal exemptions. Instead, the state allows an exemption of $4,250 for each qualifying dependent you claim. Total exemption amounts are reduced if your income exceeds a certain threshold for your filing status.
  • K-12 education expenses subtraction: You may be able to take a deduction for school-related costs you paid for a child who’s in kindergarten-through-12th grades. The deduction is available for public, private or home-schooled children, and could apply even if your child went to school in the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin. To qualify, your child can’t be a dependent on anyone else’s return, and the amount you can deduct is based on your child’s grade level in school. You can’t claim this subtraction for the same expenses that you take for the K-12 education credit.
  • Subtraction for seniors and disabled people: Minnesota offers a subtraction from taxable income for people who are 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled. You must meet income requirements to take this deduction.
  • Organ donor deduction: If you, your spouse or a dependent participates in a living organ donation for certain organs, you may be able to take a deduction for qualified expenses related to the donation — up to $10,000.

Itemized deductions that you may be able to take include …

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Real estate and property taxes you paid
  • Home mortgage interest and points
  • Charitable contributions
  • Casualty and theft losses
  • Certain unreimbursed employee expenses

But if your federal adjusted gross income is more than $194,650 ($97,325 for those married filing separately), the amount you can claim for itemized deductions will be limited.

What's the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

Minnesota state tax credits

  • Working family credit: Any Minnesotan with earned income (from W-2 wages or self-employment) and whose income is below the limit for their filing status and number of qualifying children may qualify for the working family credit. The amount of the credit depends on your income, the number of children you have and your marital status. The credit is refundable. That means if the amount of credit exceeds your tax liability, you get a refund of the difference.
  • Child and dependent care credit: Another refundable credit, the child and dependent care credit, works like the federal credit for dependent care expenses. If you meet income and other qualifications, you can deduct qualifying expenses you paid for someone to take care of your child or other dependent while you worked or looked for work. You can’t get this credit if you are married filing separately.
  • K-12 education credit: This refundable credit is for qualifying education-related expenses for children in primary and high school. You can’t claim this credit for the same expenses used for the K-12 education expenses subtraction. You can’t claim this credit if you’re married filing separately. And you must meet household income requirements based on the number of qualifying children you have in kindergarten through 12th grades.
  • Student loan credit: Minnesota residents who made loan payments on qualified student loans may be eligible for this nonrefundable tax credit. The loan must be held by the taxpayer claiming the credit, who must have taxable earned income to qualify for the credit.
3 refundable tax credits that could give you a (bigger) refund

How can I file a Minnesota state tax return?

You can e-file Minnesota state tax returns through a software provider certified by the Department of Revenue, such as Credit Karma Tax®.

You can also mail a paper return. Download and complete Form M1 after you’ve completed your federal tax return. Mail your completed Minnesota state tax return and relevant tax forms to:

Minnesota Individual Income Tax
Mail Station 0010

600 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55145-0010

What if I owe and can’t pay?

If you need more time to pay your Minnesota state tax, you can request a payment agreement online after you receive a tax bill from the Department of Revenue. If you want to set up an installment plan before receiving a bill, you should contact the department by phone (1-651-556-3003 or 1-800-657-3909) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The state charges a $50 nonrefundable fee for setting up a tax payment agreement. The amount of your installment payment will be based on your current financial situation (the state may request documents to support your request for extra time to pay), but interest and penalties will continue to add up until your balance is paid in full.

How can I track a Minnesota tax refund?

Minnesota allows you to check the status of your refund with its Where’s My Refund system. You’ll need to provide your Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, birth date, type of return, tax year and the amount of the refund shown on your return.


Bottom line

The Minnesota Department of Revenue says its goal is to ensure “Everyone reports, pays and receives the right amount: no more, no less.”

Knowing how Minnesota state tax works — as well as the deductions and credits that you might be able to take — can help ensure that you shoulder no more and no less than your fair share of your state tax obligation.


A senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®, Janet Murphy is a CPA candidate with more than a decade in the tax industry. She’s worked as a tax analyst, tax product development manager and tax accountant. She has accounting degrees and certifications from Clemson University and the U.S. Career Institute. You can find her on LinkedIn.