Tax Abatements

What is economic development property tax abatement?

Minnesota law authorizes political subdivisions to grant property tax abatements for economic development (e.g., to encourage a business to locate or expand at a location or to redevelop an area). Minn. Stat. §§ 469.1813-469.1816. Abatements may be either permanent forgiveness or temporary deferral of property tax. Abatements can serve similar purposes to tax increment financing (TIF), a widely used development tool. The legislature enacted the abatement law in 1997 to provide an alternative to TIF and to supplement it. These economic development tax abatements should be distinguished from property tax abatements that are granted by the county board primarily to correct errors (e.g., to reduce the assessor’s market value or to change the classification of the property). Minn. Stat. § 375.192.

For what purposes may abatements be used?

The law allows abatements to be used for a broad range of projects and purposes, if the political subdivision finds that public benefits exceed the costs. Permitted uses of abatements include the following:

  • General economic development, such as increasing the tax base or the number of jobs in the area.
  • Construction of public facilities or infrastructure. (e.g., streets and roads)
  • Redevelopment of blighted areas.
  • Providing access to services for residents. (e.g., housing or retail would be common examples)