Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

270.06 Powers and duties.

The commissioner of revenue shall:

(1) have and exercise general supervision over the administration of the assessment and taxation laws of the state, over assessors, town, county, and city boards of review and equalization, and all other assessing officers in the performance of their duties, to the end that all assessments of property be made relatively just and equal in compliance with the laws of the state;

(2) confer with, advise, and give the necessary instructions and directions to local assessors and local boards of review throughout the state as to their duties under the laws of the state;

(3) direct proceedings, actions, and prosecutions to be instituted to enforce the laws relating to the liability and punishment of public officers and officers and agents of corporations for failure or negligence to comply with the provisions of the laws of this state governing returns of assessment and taxation of property, and cause complaints to be made against local assessors, members of boards of equalization, members of boards of review, or any other assessing or taxing officer, to the proper authority, for their removal from office for misconduct or negligence of duty;

(4) require county attorneys to assist in the commencement of prosecutions in actions or proceedings for removal, forfeiture and punishment for violation of the laws of this state in respect to the assessment and taxation of property in their respective districts or counties;

(5) require town, city, county, and other public officers to report information as to the assessment of property, collection of taxes received from licenses and other sources, and such other information as may be needful in the work of the Department of Revenue, in such form and upon such blanks as the commissioner may prescribe;

(6) require individuals, copartnerships, companies, associations, and corporations to furnish information concerning their capital, funded or other debt, current assets and liabilities, earnings, operating expenses, taxes, as well as all other statements now required by law for taxation purposes;

(7) subpoena witnesses, at a time and place reasonable under the circumstances, to appear and give testimony, and to produce books, records, papers and documents for inspection and copying relating to any matter which the commissioner may have authority to investigate or determine;

(8) issue a subpoena which does not identify the person or persons with respect to whose liability the subpoena is issued, but only if (a) the subpoena relates to the investigation of a particular person or ascertainable group or class of persons, (b) there is a reasonable basis for believing that such person or group or class of persons may fail or may have failed to comply with any law administered by the commissioner, (c) the information sought to be obtained from the examination of the records (and the identity of the person or persons with respect to whose liability the subpoena is issued) is not readily available from other sources, (d) the subpoena is clear and specific as to the information sought to be obtained, and (e) the information sought to be obtained is limited solely to the scope of the investigation. Provided further that the party served with a subpoena which does not identify the person or persons with respect to whose tax liability the subpoena is issued shall have the right, within 20 days after service of the subpoena, to petition the district court for the judicial district in which lies the county in which that party is located for a determination as to whether the commissioner of revenue has complied with all the requirements in (a) to (e), and thus, whether the subpoena is enforceable. If no such petition is made by the party served within the time prescribed, the subpoena shall have the force and effect of a court order;

(9) cause the deposition of witnesses residing within or without the state, or absent therefrom, to be taken, upon notice to the interested party, if any, in like manner that depositions of witnesses are taken in civil actions in the district court, in any matter which the commissioner may have authority to investigate or determine;

(10) investigate the tax laws of other states and countries and to formulate and submit to the legislature such legislation as the commissioner may deem expedient to prevent evasions of assessment and taxing laws, and secure just and equal taxation and improvement in the system of assessment and taxation in this state;

(11) consult and confer with the governor upon the subject of taxation, the administration of the laws in regard thereto, and the progress of the work of the Department of Revenue, and furnish the governor, from time to time, such assistance and information as the governor may require relating to tax matters;

(12) transmit to the governor, on or before the third Monday in December of each even-numbered year, and to each member of the legislature, on or before November 15 of each even-numbered year, the report of the Department of Revenue for the preceding years, showing all the taxable property in the state and the value of the same, in tabulated form;

(13) inquire into the methods of assessment and taxation and ascertain whether the assessors faithfully discharge their duties, particularly as to their compliance with the laws requiring the assessment of all property not exempt from taxation;

(14) administer and enforce the assessment and collection of state taxes and fees, including the use of any remedy available to nongovernmental creditors, and, from time to time, make, publish, and distribute rules for the administration and enforcement of laws administered by the commissioner and state tax laws. The rules have the force of law;

(15) prepare blank forms for the returns required by state tax law and distribute them throughout the state, furnishing them subject to charge on application;

(16) prescribe rules governing the qualification and practice of agents, attorneys, or other persons representing taxpayers before the commissioner. The rules may require that those persons, agents, and attorneys show that they are of good character and in good repute, have the necessary qualifications to give taxpayers valuable services, and are otherwise competent to advise and assist taxpayers in the presentation of their case before being recognized as representatives of taxpayers. After due notice and opportunity for hearing, the commissioner may suspend and bar from further practice before the commissioner any person, agent, or attorney who is shown to be incompetent or disreputable, who refuses to comply with the rules, or who with intent to defraud, willfully or knowingly deceives, misleads, or threatens a taxpayer or prospective taxpayer, by words, circular, letter, or by advertisement. This clause does not curtail the rights of individuals to appear in their own behalf or partners or corporations' officers to appear in behalf of their respective partnerships or corporations;

(17) appoint agents as the commissioner considers necessary to make examinations and determinations. The agents have the rights and powers conferred on the commissioner to subpoena, examine, and copy books, records, papers, or memoranda, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and affirmations, and take testimony. In addition to administrative subpoenas of the commissioner and the agents, upon demand of the commissioner or an agent, the court administrator of any district court shall issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness or the production of books, papers, records, or memoranda before the agent for inspection and copying. Disobedience of a court administrator's subpoena shall be punished by the district court of the district in which the subpoena is issued, or in the case of a subpoena issued by the commissioner or an agent, by the district court of the district in which the party served with the subpoena is located, in the same manner as contempt of the district court;

(18) appoint and employ additional help, purchase supplies or materials, or incur other expenditures in the enforcement of state tax laws as considered necessary. The salaries of all agents and employees provided for in this chapter shall be fixed by the appointing authority, subject to the approval of the commissioner of administration;

(19) execute and administer any agreement with the secretary of the Treasury of the United States or a representative of another state regarding the exchange of information and administration of the tax laws;

(20) authorize the use of unmarked motor vehicles to conduct seizures or criminal investigations pursuant to the commissioner's authority; and

(21) exercise other powers and perform other duties required of or imposed upon the commissioner of revenue by law.

HIST: (2364) 1907 c 408 s 1; 1943 c 199 s 1; 1945 c 599 s 1; 1971 c 670 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1973 c 582 s 3; 1974 c 406 s 66; 1977 c 203 s 5; 1979 c 303 art 10 s 4; 1980 c 423 s 2; 1982 c 523 art 2 s 2; 1983 c 180 s 1; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 277 art 1 s 6; 1990 c 480 art 2 s 1; 1993 c 375 art 10 s 7; 1994 c 510 art 6 s 2; 1998 c 300 art 3 s 2; 1Sp2001 c 5 art 7 s 4; art 20 s 5; 2003 c 127 art 5 s 1