Who Receives the Renters' Credit? (TY 2019)

Feb 2023

The full version of this issue brief includes a table of data on the impact of the Renters’ Credit in each Minnesota county and for the state as a whole. A related map shows, for each county, the importance of the Renters' Credit to seniors and people with disabilities.

Like all Minnesotans, Minnesota’s renters want safe, affordable homes for themselves and their families. But some folks earning low wages or on fixed incomes struggle to afford the cost of housing and other basic necessities. By providing property tax refunds to qualifying homeowners and renters, the state of Minnesota helps bring down one of the costs of housing and creates a more equitable tax system.

The property tax refund for renters is often called the Renters’ Credit. It is a tax refund for low- and moderate-income renters whose property taxes are considered high for their income level. The Renters’ Credit refunds a portion of the property taxes that renters have paid through their rents. The credit is particularly targeted to the state’s lowest-income households; over 60 percent of households receiving the credit have incomes of $40,000 or less.[1]

For the 2019 tax year, over 305,000 Minnesota households received the Renters’ Credit, and the average amount of credit received was $704.[2] Thirty percent of the households receiving the Renters’ Credit included senior citizens and/or people living with disabilities; they received a larger average credit of $788. As in previous years, the share of participating households that include seniors or people living with disabilities tends to be higher in Greater Minnesota. In fact, in 18 Greater Minnesota counties, at least half of the participating households included seniors and/or persons living with disabilities.[3]

The Renters’ Credit helps advance racial equity. In Minnesota, people of color are more likely to be earning lower incomes and more likely to be renters. This reflects current barriers to wealth-building and a history of policies that excluded African Americans and other people of color from homeownership.[4] 

By Nan Madden and Joo Ning Lim
[1] Minnesota Department of Revenue, Property Tax Research Unit, FY 2024 forecasted data, March 2022.
[2] Except where otherwise noted, the data in this issue brief comes from Minnesota Department of Revenue, Property Tax Research Unit, and represent property tax refund claims filed in 2020 for tax year 2019. 
[3] The starting point for calculating the Renters’ Credit is a percentage of the rent paid, which is considered the renter’s share of property taxes. Starting with refunds filed in 2012, this percentage of rent decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent, and it is still 17 percent today.
[4] Learn more in Voices for Racial Justice's blog series, Protecting the Renters’ Credit is a Racial Justice Issue.