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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

271.21 SMALL CLAIMS DIVISION.
    Subdivision 1. Division created; judges. There shall be a division of the Tax Court known
as the Small Claims Division. The judges of the Tax Court shall sit as judges of the Small Claims
Division. Each judge shall have authority to hear and decide the cases heard as small claims judge.
    Subd. 2. Jurisdiction. At the election of the taxpayer, the Small Claims Division shall
have jurisdiction only in the following matters:
(a) cases involving valuation, assessment, or taxation of real or personal property, if:
(i) the issue is a denial of a current year application for the homestead classification for the
taxpayer's property;
(ii) only one parcel is included in the petition, the entire parcel is classified as homestead
class 1a or 1b under section 273.13, and the parcel contains no more than one dwelling unit;
(iii) the entire property is classified as agricultural homestead class 2a or 1b under section
273.13; or
(iv) the assessor's estimated market value of the property included in the petition is less
than $300,000; or
(b) any case not involving valuation, assessment, or taxation of real and personal property in
which the amount in controversy does not exceed $5,000, including penalty and interest.
    Subd. 3. Appeal election. A taxpayer may elect to appeal in the Small Claims Division
instead of appealing to the regular division of the Tax Court. If the taxpayer elects to appeal to the
Small Claims Division, and 30 days have elapsed since the filing of the appeal, or briefs have
been filed or a hearing held on the matter, whichever occurs first, the taxpayer shall not appeal to
the regular division in the same matter. A taxpayer who elects to appeal to the regular division
shall not appeal to the Small Claims Division in the same matter.
    Subd. 4.[Repealed, 1989 c 324 s 29]
    Subd. 5. Commencement of proceeding. A taxpayer shall commence a proceeding in the
Small Claims Division by filing with the court administrator of the Tax Court a petition in the
form prescribed by the rules of the Tax Court, which shall state the nature of the taxpayer's claim.
Upon the filing of a petition by the taxpayer to the Small Claims Division, the court administrator
of the Tax Court shall give notice thereof to the commissioner or to the appropriate unit of
government, who shall thereafter be deemed a party to the proceeding. In the event a petition
is filed, the Small Claims Division shall thereafter have exclusive jurisdiction over the case if
it meets the requirements of subdivision 2.
    Subd. 6. Hearing. The hearing in the Small Claims Division shall be informal and without a
jury. The judge may hear any testimony and receive any evidence the judge deems necessary or
desirable for a just determination of the case. Sales ratio studies published by the Department of
Revenue may be admissible as a public record without foundation. All testimony shall be given
under oath. A party may appear personally or may be represented or accompanied by an attorney.
No transcript of the proceedings shall be kept.
    Subd. 7. Dismissal. At any time prior to entry of judgment, a taxpayer may dismiss a case in
the Small Claims Division by notifying the court administrator of the Tax Court in writing. The
dismissal shall be with prejudice and shall not revoke the election specified in subdivision 3.
    Subd. 8. Judgment. The judgment in the Small Claims Division shall be conclusive upon
all parties and may not be appealed. The court may order the commissioner or the appropriate
unit of government to modify or cancel an assessment, pay or allow a refund, or take other action
necessary to effectuate the judgment. Notice that no appeal may be had from a small claims
judgment shall appear prominently on the petition form. The judgment shall not be considered
as judicial precedent and shall have no force or effect in any other case, hearing, or proceeding.
No judgment shall be rendered in a case dealing with property valuation or assessment for
property tax purposes until after the state Board of Equalization has issued its order, if any, for
that area or property.
    Subd. 9. Subpoenas. Subpoenas in a proceeding in the Small Claims Division will be issued
only at the discretion of the court.
    Subd. 10. Referees. Whenever the Small Claims Division trial docket becomes congested
with appeals involving valuation, classification, and assessment of property for tax purposes, the
judges of the Tax Court may appoint referees to hear the cases appealed to the Small Claims
Division. Each referee shall have authority to hear and decide the cases heard as small claims
referee. Each referee shall be a citizen of Minnesota and shall have experience with and
knowledge of tax law or property taxation and property values, depending on the case at issue. A
referee shall be paid at a rate of 80 percent of the salary of the judges of the district court in that
county, prorated by the length of time served as a referee. Each referee shall receive actual and
necessary expenses paid or incurred in the performance of duties.
    Subd. 11. Applicability. The provisions of sections 271.01 to 271.20, shall apply to
proceedings in the Small Claims Division unless this section expressly provides otherwise.
History: 1977 c 307 s 25; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1987 c 268 art 7 s 25; 1989 c
324 s 20,21; 1991 c 291 art 1 s 9; 1992 c 511 art 2 s 8; 1995 c 186 s 53; 1999 c 243 art 5 s 2;
1Sp2001 c 5 art 3 s 15; 2002 c 377 art 4 s 5