Jan 13, 2023

Minnesota restaurants and music venues get relief under tax code clean-up law

gov tim walz signs the first bill to pass in the 2023 legislative session

Gov. Tim Walz signing the bill on Thursday. Photo: Torey Van Oot/Axios

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a bipartisan tax code clean-up bill into law Thursday, delivering $100 million in relief to more than 50,000 individuals and businesses in time for the tax filing season.

The big picture: The biggest beneficiaries are restaurants and venues that received federal relief during the pandemic.

  • Without the conformity bill, they were on the hook to pay state taxes on the money. Those businesses will be able to file amended returns covering such taxes paid in past years.
  • First Avenue CEO Dayna Frank said not making the changes "would have been business-ending" for venues.

Plus: The new law also exempts forgiven student loan debt from state taxes, should the Biden administration's plan survive court challenges.

How we got here: Lawmakers agreed on much of the new law last year, but negotiations over other issues stalled its passage in the politically divided Legislature.

  • This year, DFL leaders pledged to fast-track the bill to get the changes in place ahead of the tax filing season. It passed both chambers with bipartisan support.

What to watch: The new law doesn't include a hotly debated proposal to fully exempt Social Security income from state taxes.

  • Leaders say that issue, which is supported by Republicans and a handful of moderate Democrats, will be addressed separately later in the session.

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