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The Minnesota Department of Taxation

The Minnesota Department of Taxation: An Administrative History

LLOYD M. SHORT
CLARA PENNIMAN
FLOYD O. FLOM
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 1955
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv4r6
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  • Book Info
    The Minnesota Department of Taxation
    Book Description:

    The Minnesota Department of Taxation: An Administrative History was first published in 1955. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Number 3 in Studies in Administration, a series sponsored by the Public Administration Training Center at the University of Minnesota; established in 1936 to provide instruction, research facilities, and information in the field of public administration. This volume presents an account of tax administration history that seeks to better acquaint the citizens of Minnesota with the origin and development of their tax system and its operation by state government. Topics include: the organization and political framework of the Minnesota tax administration; central staff functions; general and specialized property tax administration; death and gift taxes; and the administration of income, cigarette, and petroleum taxes._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3833-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Chapter 1 ORGANIZATION AND POLITICAL FRAMEWORK OF MINNESOTA TAX ADMINISTRATION
    (pp. 1-18)

    The history of tax administration at any level of government reflects in large part the development of government at that level. During the nineteenth century, state government in Minnesota was small in terms of number of employees, expenditures, and impact on the life of the ordinary citizen. Tax administration was almost wholly in the hands of the towns, villages, cities, and counties. Taxes were collected and spent largely under the direction of these local communities. Even at the end of the nineteenth century both the state and local governments depended for tax revenue almost exclusively on the general property tax....

  4. Chapter 2 CENTRAL STAFF FUNCTIONS
    (pp. 19-45)

    The increasing size and responsibilities of state agencies have made staff functions much more distinct and important in the last two decades.¹ Like many other state agencies, the Tax Commission found little need for formal personnel or budget procedures as long as tax administration required only thirteen employees, the maximum size of the staff employed by the commission until enactment of the state income tax law in 1933. The Attorney General’s Office provided the Tax Commission with legal assistance whenever requested. For the simpler legal questions the commission usually had at least one staff member assigned to substantive tax work...

  5. Chapter 3 GENERAL PROPERTY TAX ADMINISTRATION
    (pp. 46-74)

    Minnesota accepted the tax experience and theories of her sister states when she entered the union in 1858, and continued the property tax from territorial days as the chief means of raising revenue.¹ Property taxes, meaning taxes measured by the value of real property and tangible and intangible personal property, were assumed to be a reasonable standard of “stake in the community” or “ability to pay” in a largely agricultural state where most wealth consisted of land and the buildings thereon. As wealth shifted into many other forms, taxes gradually became more specialized but in many instances retained the property...

  6. Chapter 4 SPECIAL PROPERTY TAXES
    (pp. 75-113)

    Four taxes levied in Minnesota, in addition to the general property tax, are classified in the property tax family: mining taxes, utility taxes, the money and credits tax, and the gross earnings tax. Most mining taxes, utility taxes, and the money and credits tax are ad valorem taxes but are administered differently or operate under provisions distinct from general property taxes. The gross earnings tax, applied to some utilities, assumes gross earnings to be a measure of property value.¹ Some of these taxes existed prior to the establishment of the Tax Commission in 1907 and came under the commission for...

  7. Chapter 5 DEATH AND GIFT TAXES
    (pp. 114-125)

    Death taxes historically have been one of the earliest of all taxes levied. They were common in Rome and in much of Europe during the middle ages, and they are an integral part of the tax structure of many European nations today. The American national government resorted to death taxes at various times in emergencies but did not adopt a permanent inheritance tax until 1916. Several of the states experimented with death taxes in the nineteenth century, but the first modern inheritance tax with progressive rates was adopted by Wisconsin in 1903.¹

    The Minnesota Tax Commission in 1910 quoted with...

  8. Chapter 6 INCOME TAX ADMINISTRATION
    (pp. 126-142)

    Minnesota adopted a state income tax in 1933 more from extreme financial pressure than because of considerations of tax equity and administration. Many years of discussion and agitation for a net income tax preceded adoption, but only the exigencies of the depression forced the issue. The progressive political groups in Minnesota had long found an income tax appealing for reasons of equity and social justice, but in the early years there were probable constitutional barriers; and subsequently, arguments of administrative feasibility were stones in the path. The use of the net income tax has advanced largely with increasing industrialization, and...

  9. Chapter 7 PETROLEUM TAX ADMINISTRATION
    (pp. 143-161)

    The adoption of Minnesota’s gasoline tax in 1925 came as part of a general movement by the states in the 1920s to apply the “benefit” principle of taxation to finance expanding highway construction and maintenance. The amount of gasoline consumed was believed to be a fair measure of highway use, and an excise paid by the gasoline consumer and used for highway construction and maintenance was considered a payment for value received.

    Like other taxes, gasoline tax administration has its problems. One tax authority states, “Good and cheap administration of the gasoline tax is not impossible, but it is not...

  10. Chapter 8 CIGARETTE TAX ADMINSTRATION
    (pp. 162-165)

    Tax theory usually classifies cigarette levies as sumptuary taxes—that is, taxes on an article of consumption held, by some at least, to be nonessential. Like most excises, cigarette taxes tend to be regressive in burden, since the tax rests on the volume of smoking without regard to income or even to the cost of cigarettes. Tobacco in its various forms has long been a taxed item on the federal level and in many states, but the persistent spread of the present type of cigarette tax has been a development largely of the last few decades. Minnesota became the fortieth...

  11. Chapter 9 CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 166-171)

    No Attempt will be made in this closing chapter to repeat or summarize all of the observations and conclusions which appear in each chapter of the study. Rather, some over-all conclusions and points of emphasis would seem to be in order.

    The history of tax administration in Minnesota offers an excellent example of the twin developments which have characterized state administrative organization in this and other states, especially during the twentieth century. These developments are the consolidation of related activities into a single department or agency, and the substitution of single-headed for multi-headed control in such departments.

    In Minnesota the...

  12. INDEX
    (pp. 172-176)