Montana Income Tax

Income Taxes in Montana*

Every year, thousands of parcels of Montana property and beyond are transferred. When a Montana property is transferred, a Montana tax return must be filed to report any recognized taxable gain.

What You Need to Know about Montana Source Income and Your Montana Income Tax Filing Responsibilities

Nonresidents are required by law to file Montana tax returns and report their Montana source income. Research shows that many nonresidents do not properly report the taxable income on the sale or rental of Montana property to the State of Montana, because they do not understand their Montana tax filing responsibilities.

Because Montana residents are required to report all of their income, regardless of where it is earned, non-reporting is rarely a problem with residents. If a Montana resident becomes a nonresident, the Montana source income rules will apply.

Note: Rents received from Montana real estate also are Montana Source Income and must be reported.

If you transfer Montana real property, you are required to file a Montana tax return to report any gain that is recognized for federal income tax purposes. “Transfer” includes sales, exchanges, gifts, inheritances or any other transaction where the property changes ownership. If you receive income from Montana real estate, you are required to file a Montana tax return to report rents you receive.

Montana Tax Returns and Montana Income Tax Reports

When Montana real estate is transferred or rents received, various tax returns and reports must be filed. A realty transfer certificate, often called an RTC, must be completed before a deed transferring real estate is recorded with the county Clerk and Recorder. An RTC is usually completed by the closing agent. The Montana Department of Revenue uses the  information to administer property taxes and to ensure income tax compliance.

A Montana tax return must be filed the year the gain is recognized for federal income tax purposes. A tax return must also be filed to report rents received from Montana property. A “Montana pass-through entity” information return must be filed the year the gain is recognized for federal income tax purposes if the property is transferred by a pass-through entity (such as an LLC, partnership or S. corporation).

If a taxable gain is realized but deferred to a later tax year, a Montana tax return must be filed the year the gain is recognized for federal income tax purposes. Examples of transfers that permit a gain to be deferred are installment sales, Section 1031 (like-kind) exchanges, and Section 1033 involuntary sales.

Montana Real Estate Tax

For income tax purposes, Montana property includes not only land and buildings, but also items such as growing timber, minerals, pipelines and other improvements and interests in real property.

Montana Source Income

Montana source income is defined specifically in Montana Law 15-30-2101(18) and Montana Law 15-31 MCA. In simple terms, Montana source income is income or gain from property in Montana or from transactions or activities that take place in Montana. This brochure only addresses Montana source income as it relates to common Montana real estate transfers and rents received from Montana property. Note: it does not cover all types of Montana source income.

For More Montana Tax Information

Have a question? The Montana Department of Revenue is happy to provide you contacts with additional information about individual Montana taxes. If you have questions or need assistance from them, please call (406) 444-6900. Go to Montana income tax forms for more detailed information or to download Montana tax forms.

*Taunya Fagan, Bozeman Real Estate Agent, does not advise on any personal income tax requirements or issues. Use of any information from this site or any other web site referred to is for general information only and does not represent personal tax advice either express or implied. You are encouraged to seek professional tax advice for personal income tax questions and assistance.

Additional Montana State Resources:


BOZEMAN, MONTANA REAL ESTATE REPORTS