Income Tax

The City of East Lansing's income tax took effect on January 1, 2019. The tax will expire after 12 years and revenue from the tax will be dedicated for specific purposes: 20% for police and fire protection, 20% for infrastructure and 60% for supplemental payments for unfunded pension liabilities. Residents (working in East Lansing or another community) will pay a 1% tax and non-residents working in East Lansing will pay a 0.5% tax. 


The filing deadline for taxpayers for the 2020 calendar year is April 30, 2021. For entities with a fiscal year end, it is four months after the end of your fiscal year. To avoid penalty and interest, all taxes due must be paid by this date. If you file an extension, it only extends the period of time to file the return, it does not extend the due date of the payment.  


The City of East Lansing has released the Employer Withholding Forms & Instruction Guides. A letter has also been sent to East Lansing employers on record and can be viewed here. Employers need to complete the EL-SS-4 Employer's Withholding Registration Form (PDF) and distribute and collect completed EL-W-4 Employees Withholding Certificate (PDF) from all employees. The City encourages regional employers to voluntary withhold for East Lansing residents.

Individuals, partnerships and corporations that will be making monthly estimated payments can use the City of East Lansing's Estimated Payment Form (PDF).  


For 2020, non-residents who have been working from home, rather than from their workplace in East Lansing, will be able to allocate the time spent working outside the City. This only applies to time actually spent working from home. This doesn't apply to those being paid to stay home (being on-call) and not working except for answering occasional e-mails or phone calls. Wages paid for staying home and on-call are treated similarly to pay related to holidays and time off (sick, vacation, etc). To assist in determining whether a non-resident is eligible to allocate their time, it is required that an additional form be filled out.  If preparing a return through a software program, the form will be called CF-COV. If preparing a return by hand, the form is called EL-COV (PDF).  If allocating wages, this form is a required attachment and must be submitted with the individual's submitted return.  If not allocating wages, this form does not need to be submitted.

If an individual is eligible to allocate their time inside and outside the City, the East Lansing Income Tax Office also requires a letter from their employer verifying the information on their return. This does not need to be an overly formal letter. It can be from a direct supervisor, as long as it is on the employer’s letterhead. This letter must be submitted along with the individual's return. An individual's refund cannot be processed until after this documentation is received.  

This wage allocation only applies to non-residents who choose to allocate their time. Residents are taxed on all wages, no matter where they are earned.


There have been some questions on how sick, vacation and holidays impact the allocation of time worked within and outside the City. The following example explains how the numbers should be reported on the “Wages and Excludible Wages Schedule – Attachment 2-1.” 

Total Working Days for the Year: 260
Sick, Vacation & Holidays for the Year: 30
Days Worked within East Lansing: 100
Total Wages per Box 1 of the W-2: $75,000

Calculation of Taxable and Excludable Wages:
Total Working Days for the Year: 260
Sick, Vacation & Holidays for the Year: (30)
Actual Days Worked: 230
Days Worked within East Lansing: 100
Percentage Taxable: 43.48%
Total Wages: $75,000
Total Taxable Wages: $32,610
Excludable Wages: $42,390


After submitting their completed EL-SS-4, employers can use the City of East Lansing's new Employer Withholding Tool to set up their withholding tax account and complete their withholding tax reporting and payment. 


The City of East Lansing has created an interactive Income Tax Boundary Map using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technology. This interactive map shows the area where the income tax will be assessed and is searchable by address, parcel number and MSU building name. 


View the City of East Lansing's income tax fact sheets for individuals and businesses: