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Large businesses operating in Minnesota would need to disclose corporate franchise tax information under new bill

The DFL in Minnesota wants to propose new corporate tax laws
The DFL in Minnesota wants to propose new corporate tax laws 01:53

ST. PAUL, Minn.  Some DFL lawmakers say Minnesotans should know how much money big corporations operating in the state are paying in state taxes — and any tax breaks they're getting, too. 

A bill heard in the House taxes committee on Wednesday would require the Department of Revenue to disclose, after three years, some corporate franchise tax returns of businesses making $250 million or more in total U.S. sales per year. It would apply to corporations that do business in Minnesota, not just those headquartered here. 

 "How can we make decisions about how to structure a tax code that we don't know how it's impacting the biggest players on our economy?" bill author Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis, said. "How can we decide how to spend our general fund revenue through either term spending or tax expenditure spending, if we don't know who's benefiting from the tax code we already have?"

Federal tax return data is private and there are questions about how this legislation would impact that information. Greenman said it's written to safeguard that information.

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But the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce still has concerns and opposes the measure, saying it makes Minnesota an outlier nationwide.

"It violates the longstanding principles of taxpayer confidentiality, likely runs afoul of federal law that prohibits states from releasing tax return information and undermines Minnesota's competitiveness," Beth Kadoun, vice president of tax and fiscal policy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, told the committee.

She said no other state in the nation requires similar disclosures.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue estimates 4,616 companies would be impacted, according to a fiscal note. That would include some Fortune 500 companies based in Minnesota, a spokeswoman for the Chamber representing some of those businesses said. 

"It shines a light on our corporate tax code and allows Minnesotans to decide whether it's working for them, or the wealthiest corporations in the United States," Greenman said. 

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