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Tax conformity is first bill to pass off House Floor

With tax filing beginning in earnest Jan. 20, the first bill moved from the House Floor to the Senate would conform the state tax code to the federal as far as deductions for the 2014 tax year.

Following the 129-0 vote, HF6 now moves to the Senate, where it is sponsored by Sen. Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook).

In legislative time, the bill is moving through the process in “warp speed,” as called for by House Taxes Committee Chair Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), the bill’s sponsor. It was introduced in the House Jan. 8, and approved by the House Taxes and Ways and Means committees in the last two days.

“Passing this legislation provides relief for teachers who pay for supplies; relief for students with tuition expenses; relief for homeowners with mortgage insurance; relief for small businesses to simplify record keeping,” said House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers).

The bill is in response to congressional action in late December 2014 to continue 2013 tax year conformity provisions for the 2014 tax year. These were adopted into Minnesota tax code early last year. The conformity changes come at a cost to the state’s bottom line: nearly $20 million for fiscal year 2015 and a projected $22.52 million for fiscal year 2016.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) gave a nod to the bipartisan support that tax conformity bills have achieved over the years and urged the Senate to act quickly.

“This has been a priority with the House to move forward with these conformity bills on a bipartisan basis,” he said.

The bill was amended in the House Taxes Committee by adding language from HF27, which would clarify the 2013 Destination Medical Center law to address a recent attorney general’s ruling.

It also includes the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014. This federal provision allows states to establish an ABLE program for individuals who are diagnosed as blind or disabled before age 26 enabling contributions to an account to meet qualifying expenses. Minnesota is expected to establish the account this session.


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