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Minnesota Legislature

Conforming federally

Published (2/20/2009)
By Sonja Hegman
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After more than three hours of debate and a slew of amendments, a bill that would conform Minnesota with most federal tax changes enacted since last February received House approval.

Sponsored by Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington), HF392 was passed 128-0 Feb. 19. It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) is the sponsor.

The changes Minnesota would conform with include:

• counting nontaxable combat pay as earned income for members of the military for purposes of claiming the earned income credit and working family credit;

• allowance of direct transfers to charities from traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs for tax years 2008 and 2009;

• extension of the special rule for contribution of conservation property by qualified farmers and ranchers;

• apportioning of the exclusion of gain on the sale of an individual’s principal residence for time periods after Jan. 1, 2009, when the residence was not used as the principal residence;

• extension of various provisions related to depreciation and expensing;

• provision of preferential tax treatment within the Midwestern Disaster Relief Area and within other federally designated disaster areas; and

• changing requirements for employer-sponsored group health plans to qualify for the employee income exclusion.

An amendment successfully offered by Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) would prevent the governor from appointing anyone who has been convicted of a criminal violation of a federal or state tax or revenue law; who has failed to file a required original individual income tax return within one year of its due date; or who has unpaid federal, state or local taxes for a prior taxable year when the appointment is announced to the public.

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