Income Tax



(Updated 5/17/22)
The City of East Lansing's Processing Center is currently processing 2021 income tax returns that were received on April 16, 2022. If you filed before this date and have not received your refund, please email to have someone check on the status. If you filed after this date, your return has not been processed yet. Please check back to this webpage, as we will be updating this information often.


The due date for filing 2021 East Lansing returns is May 2, 2022. Completed forms should be sent to the following address: East Lansing Income Tax Processing Center, PO Box 526, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827.

For those who need additional time to complete their return, an extension can be filed, which will extend the due date for filing returns to October 31, 2022. An EL-7004 “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Returns” form must be submitted to extend the period to file. This extension only extends the time to file the return, not to pay the amount due. If it is anticipated that a payment will be owed on the return, the amount due must be estimated and payment must be submitted along with the extension form by May 2,2022.  Failure to do so will result in a late fee. This form is available on the forms page under the notation “2021 Extension to File – For all Types of Filers”.


Taxpayers can find current instruction guides and income tax forms on the Income Tax Forms webpage.  


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.


For 2020 and 2021, 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: