For more information contact: Catherine Thompson 651-296-5499
Neighbors and Friends,
Insurance Premium Proposal
Thursday, we debated the House Republicans’ insurance premium rebate proposal, House File 1. Minnesotans facing drastic premium increases on the individual market are hurting and they need relief now, not later. The deadline for enrolling for 2017 health insurance is approaching fast on January 31st.
That is why I support Governor Dayton’s immediate premium relief plan, which is the quickest way to provide help to Minnesotans in need. His plan would provide a 25 percent premium reduction for 125,000 people and the relief would arrive by March.
Unfortunately, the Republican proposal is very complex and would delay relief until 2018. Their plan also includes major overhauls to the health care market that need more time to be reviewed because they may not help stabilize the market, or worse, they could cause more problems.
We need to do the right thing and come together to pass immediate relief that Minnesotans need. I am ready to pass immediate relief now and work to make health care more accessible and affordable for everyone in the long-term.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce reminds low-income Minnesotans how to receive assistance to pay heating bills through the state’s Energy Assistance Program. The EAP helps low-income homeowners and renters pay for heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies. The funding also helps some homeowners repair or replace malfunctioning heat systems. Households that include young children, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors are particularly encouraged to apply.
Late last year, Minnesota received $101 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for the 2017 EAP. Last year, Minnesota served nearly 133,000 households, with an average grant of $500.
How to apply for Energy Assistance
New applicants have until May 31, 2017 to apply. Funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Qualifying households must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. To locate your area service provider, call the Commerce Department at
Filing Tax Forms
The state individual income tax filing season will open on January 23, 2017, the same day as the Internal Revenue Service.
The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. This is also the same day as the Internal Revenue Service.
Here is additional information from the MN Department of Revenue on filing your taxes:
Electronic Filing and Direct Deposit
Choosing electronic filing and direct deposit is the most secure way to get your refund. Visit the website to learn more about your electronic filing and free filing options for those who qualify.
Direct deposit is an easy and convenient 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 to you whether you file your return electronically or by mail. Check out the website to learn more about the benefits of choosing direct deposit.
Minnesota law requires that individual income tax return forms and instruction booklets include voter registration forms. This year, taxpayers using Minnesota-certified electronic filing software will see a new message prompting eligible voters to register to vote online at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
Protecting Minnesotan’s personal information means refunds may take longer than in prior years because of the increase in attempted refund fraud. Don’t spend your refund until you see the money in your bank account.
Visit the website to learn more about the efforts to protect your information.
Track Your Refund
You can track your refund by using the Where’s My Refund? system.
Free Tax Help
You may qualify for free tax preparation help from IRS-certified volunteers at locations across Minnesota for your federal and state income tax returns. Qualified taxpayers are age 60 or older, have a disability, speak limited or no English, or have income less than $54,000 per year.
Most free tax preparation sites are open Feb. 1 - April 15. Visit the website to find free tax preparation sites near you.
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