Rules for East Lansing Income Tax Being Established

Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 7:40 am
By: 
Andrew Graham

Above: DaMar Boyd at Council last night, with City Attorney Tom Yeadon in background

The City of East Lansing is moving toward adoption of an Income Tax Review Board and of the rules and regulations related to the tax. The new income tax for residents and people earning income in East Lansing took effect January 1, and the first set of returns will be due next year.

At last night’s discussion-only City Council meeting, DaMar Boyd, the City’s Income Tax Administrator, explained the adoption of the ordinance for the board and the rules and regulations.

The review board will hear appeals regarding East Lansing income tax issues, and will consist of three East Lansing residents who are not government employees or elected officials. Board members will serve three-year terms and will be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of a majority of the City Council.

City Attorney Tom Yeadon explained in a memo that the City’s income tax ordinance dictates that, as Income Tax Administrator, Boyd will set the rules and regulations for the income tax.

Boyd opted to choose a set adopted by other cities in Michigan with one minor change specific to East Lansing. Regulation 58.1 would allow taxpayers to donate their East Lansing tax refunds to three City initiatives: Parks Stewardship & Conservation; Parks and Playgrounds; and Recreational Youth Scholarships.

Other Michigan cities have similar systems for donating refunds.

Last night, Council member Aaron Stephens proposed widening the options to include local 501(c)(3) organizations.

But Yeadon advised against that plan, saying it created too many complications. He said that if taxpayers want to donate a refund to a nonprofit organization of their choosing, they can simply do so when they receive the refund, receiving a tax deduction for that contribution if they are eligible for such deductions.

Boyd indicated he is largely following what other Michigan cities do because, if questions arise, there will be case law and other cities’ experiences to consider for guidance.

This matter is expected to be scheduled on Council agenda’s next week for further discussion, with more action to be taken mid-July.

 

 

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