Why have I received a letter and what should I do?

For fairness and consistency within the community, it is important that all residents pay and file all required income tax returns with the City of East Lansing.  In an attempt to ensure this is occurring, the City is performing a review to determine that all residents have filed tax returns for 2019.  Since this is the first year conducting this review, there will be many taxpayers contacted. This may result in residents finding they have not filed income tax returns for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Any resident who filed a 2019 State of Michigan tax return using an address located within the City of East Lansing will be reviewed to determine if they have filed an East Lansing income tax return.  If no return is found, the City of East Lansing’s Income Tax Office will be sending letters to these individuals asking for their tax return and noting an estimated tax due.  The impacted residents will have 21 days to respond to the letter. These letters will be distributed from September to December of this year.

For those receiving a letter, please be aware of the following:

  1. For residents required to file, the needed forms are located in the green tab on the left-hand side of this screen.  Please prepare the return and submit the return (along with any required payment) prior to the due date on your letter.

  2. Those who are not required to file a return can submit information explaining why they are not required to file.  

  3. Retirees whose only income is from pension and social security can provide a copy of page one of their Federal 1040 verifying they have no local taxable income. They are not required to file a return, but are encouraged to file in future years so they do not continue to get similar letters.

  4. Residents who have not filed a return, but have wages for which East Lansing taxes were withheld, can provide a return and, if they are entitled to a refund, it will be processed.

  5. MSU students who used their East Lansing address rather than their permanent address (outside the City) when filing their State of Michigan returns may receive a letter. If so, they can provide information concerning their permanent address and East Lansing Income Tax Office staff will revise those records.

  6. For 2019 and 2020, the City did not have the ability to process e-filed returns. In many cases, the taxpayer may believe they have filed electronically; however, the East Lansing Income Tax Office never received those returns. If a tax return was prepared, but was not submitted to the City, the original return can be filed as a response to the letter.

If the City does not receive a response within the 21 days, the impacted resident will be assessed based on the income information provided by the State of Michigan.

Show All Answers

1. Why have I received a letter and what should I do?
2. Where should I send the returns or additional information?
3. Do I have any option if I cannot pay the total amount due in full?
4. Why are we finding out about missing 2019 returns now?
5. Why are non-residents not receiving letters?
6. Will similar letters be sent for future tax years?
7. Who should I contact if I have questions about the letter or my response?