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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Revenue Department

Also known as:
Minnesota Department of Revenue
Active dates:1973-

The Minnesota Department of Revenue manages the state’s revenue system and administers state tax laws. Its mission is to ensure fairness, accuracy, and efficiency in the state’s revenue system and provide Minnesotans with services that foster a productive and healthy work environment.

Preceded by:
Minnesota Tax Commission (1907-1939?)

In 1849, the first territorial assembly established a property tax levy to support schools nine years before Minnesota became a state, in 1858.

Property taxes remained the main source of revenue until the 1920s, when the growing number of automobiles in the state forced the legislature to find a way to pay for a state highway system. In 1920, the amendment to the state constitution that authorized a trunk highway system also provided for a 2 percent registration tax on the purchase of motor vehicles. (Prior to the amendment, the tax had been a flat $1.50 per vehicle.) Five years later, a 2 cent per gallon gas tax was established to meet the growing need for additional highway funds.

The next major change in the state's tax system came as the hardships of the Great Depression made property taxes harder to collect. Between 1929 and 1933, the number of property tax delinquencies in the state doubled. At the same time, citizens looked to the state for services that local governments, charities and other private resources were unable to provide. The need for more revenue to meet citizen demand, combined with the need for tax relief for property owners, led the legislature to establish the state income tax. Minnesota adopted individual and corporate income tax systems in 1933.

The shift toward income tax and away from property tax as the major source of state revenue continued in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1967, the state turned over the collection of property taxes to the counties. The department continued to assist local government officials in administering the property tax system, but the primary responsibility for assessing property and collecting taxes was delegated to the counties.

In that same year, the state instituted the sales tax, in part to offset the loss in revenue it experienced by turning property taxes over to local governments. However, the department established a system for the uniform valuation and taxation of property and continued to provide property tax relief in the form of state aid to local governments.

Further reform in 2001 aimed at making the property tax a purely local tax. It provided for full state funding of the state-determined general education formula, and reformed the property tax classification rates to ensure more fairness in taxation of different kinds of property. It also changed how some properties are taxed to promote more fairness and accountability.
(From: MN Department of Revenue website, 3/5/12.)

Governor Tim Walz announced on August 17, 2022 that Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) Commissioner Robert Doty will depart his position in September. Commissioner Doty’s last day as commissioner will be September 2, 2022. Deputy Commissioner Lee Ho will serve as temporary commissioner through the remainder of Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s first term.

Agency heads:


  • Arthur C. Roemer, 1971-1979
  • Clyde E. Allen, Jr., 1979-1983
  • Arthur C. Roemer, 1983-1985
  • Thomas J. Triplett, 1985-1987
  • John James, 1987-1991
  • Dorothy McClung, 1991-1993
  • Morrie Anderson, 1993-1994
  • Matt Smith, 1994-1996
  • Jim Girard, 1996-1998
  • Matt Smith, 1998-2002
  • Dennis Erno, 2002-2003
  • Dan Salomone, 2003-2007
  • Ward Einess, 2007-2011
  • Myron Frans, 2011-2015
  • Cynthia Bauerly, 2015-2020
  • Robert Doty (November 12, 2020 - September 2, 2022)
  • Lee Ho (temporary commissioner, September 2, 2022 - December 2022)
  • Paul Marquart (December 2022 - )
Gov. Tim Walz names new education, health and public safety commissioners. Star Tribune, 12/22/2022.
Walz, Flanagan Announce Cabinet Appointments. News Release (Governor Tim Walz), 12/21/2022.
Two state finance leaders take helm amid Minnesota budget uncertainty. Star Tribune, 11/29/2020.
Gov. Tim Walz announces new revenue commissioner. Star Tribune, 11/7/2020.
Revenue chief Bauerly leaving next month. Minnesota Lawyer, 9/25/2020.
Cynthia Bauerly announces departure after more than six years as Revenue Commissioner. Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, 9/22/2020.
News clippings and documents: Commissioner of Revenue. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1907-2020.
News clippings and documents: Revenue Department. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1975-2020.
Record last updated: 11/07/2023

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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