It's a race against the clock for Minnesota lawmakers to pass tax conformity. It's a complex issue to bring Minnesota's tax laws in line with Federal tax laws passed at the end of 2017.
At first blush, the word taxes immediately causes a headache for many people, and tax conformity can be very confusing.
Lawmakers are seeking a bipartisan agreement for tax conformity during the current legislative session. It's an important, yet not essential process to bring Minnesota's tax laws in line with the recently passed federal tax codes.
Not doing so would have some pretty big implications during next years filing season.
"They're going to have a really complicated tax form. And that means people are going to have to pay more to go to someone who can help them prepare their taxes. It might make difficult to use Turbo Tax or another service on your own," said Rep. Jennifer Schultz, D - Duluth.
It isn't being taken lightly. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk has said it would be worth considering extending the session into the summer to work come up with a solution.
"I think we're going to need to work on it all year if we don't get it done by May. We don't want to rush this through, and we're still waiting on federal guidance from the Department of Revenue," said Schultz.
Lawmakers say they are trying to find a solution to leave the most money in Minnesotan's hands.
Schultz said, "So it simplifies our tax return process, and then tailors our Minnesota tax return to benefit Minnesotans."
What lawmakers decide to pass won't nix federal tax laws or make them obsolete but rather provide a quick reshape of Minnesota's tax laws, making them unique to the states taxpayers.
"We have a lot of room to do our own things. Right now, we're looking at whether we should allow individuals, if they itemize, to also deduct for charitable donations, at a larger amount. So, we reduce that incentive not to donate. We may be able to put in more deductions for education expenses, child care expenses, health care expenses," said Schultz.
It's a very complex process to provide a winning solution that isn't an exact copy of federal codes.
"It's very complex. We're still in the learning stage of what the federal tax bill does, and how it will affect our state income taxes," said Schultz.
Fortunately, Minnesotan's don't have to do anything as lawmakers will spend the next two months navigating the issue.
Beyond tax conformity, many state lawmakers agree, passing a bonding bill, curbing elder abuse and fixing Minnesota's Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) to be among the highest priorities.