Latest try to get remaining rebate checks cashed will carry clearer Minnesota labeling

Published 6:01 am Friday, February 16, 2024

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By Minnesota Public Radio News

A third batch of tax rebate checks will hit mailboxes soon, and they’ll be slightly different than those that might have been dropped in the trash rather than taken to the bank.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue will try again next week to get the $260 per person payments to about 128,000 qualified recipients. Two earlier attempts wound up with voided checks because they weren’t cashed within 60-day windows.

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The rebates are part of a $1 billion giveback approved last session. Revenue Commissioner Paul Marquart said the outstanding payments add up to about $48 million.

While the earlier ones had a return address from a Montana-based vendor, these ones will be more clearly marked as coming from the state agency.

“It will be a regular check from the Department of Revenue,” Marquart told the Senate Taxes Committee on Thursday. “So it looks like a regular Minnesota check. So on that one, you have two years to cash it. And after two years if it’s not cashed, it’s sent to unclaimed property.”

Marquart gave a rundown of the rebate program and other tax initiatives now in implementation phases.

But expressions of frustration continue over the IRS decision to tax the rebate checks.

Rebate recipients owe between $26 to $57 on their federal taxes, depending on their income tax bracket. The IRS ruled that the payments weren’‘t pandemic aid because the COVID-19 health emergency had lapsed.

Sen. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said the rebates didn’t get enough scrutiny before passage. He told Marquart that there’s blame to go around.

“We can castigate the governor or your office. We can castigate the Legislature because we were lazy,” Drazkowski said. “We as a Legislature have to take our responsibility as the legislative branch, we write the bills. And for us, whether it’s the Department of Revenue, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation or any other department here in the Legislature, if we sit back and allow them, the executive branch to write the bills, this is what we get.”

Revenue Commissioner Paul Marquart said he and other state leaders lobbied the IRS unsuccessfully.

“I can say it was a big disappointment,” Marquart said. “We’ve got a good working relationship with the IRS and that but we grudgingly accept the decision, of course.”

Taxpayers should have received a 1099 form by now to file with 2023 income taxes reflecting their rebate amount.

The Revenue Department said taxpayers who think they should have gotten a rebate but didn’t by May 1 should contact the agency at 651-556-3000.