ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers want to end the state’s mysterious tax on using viewing coffins during funerals.
Caskets and urns are exempt from tax, but “viewing coffins” used during a service can leave the bereaved with an unexpected tab, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Gov. Mark Dayton’s tax-cut proposal would change the law to make such caskets, where the shell is reused but the interior is not, tax free. The change appears to have broad support so far.
The viewing casket is subject to the 6.875 percent state sales tax and any applicable local sales taxes. Minnesota Department of Revenue officials say it works out to about $70 tax on a $1,000 rental, and possibly more with local sales tax.
“It doesn’t quite make sense,” said Jeff Hartquist, president of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association. “We’re using, in essence, the same type of an item.”
The same taxes apply to temporary urns that hold ashes until transferred to another receptacle or scattered.
Department figures show Dayton’s proposal would impact the state treasury by $340,000 to $440,000 annually over the next four years.