Georgia could start $1.1B refunds as soon as Kemp signs the law

Governor Brian Kemp has signed the $1.1 billion state income tax refunds out of Georgia's historic surplus.

Georgia could start $1.1B refunds as soon as Kemp signs the law

They could be available to taxpayers within six to eight weeks. Brian Kemp signed Wednesday's $1.1 billion refund program into law.

As he signed the bill, Republican Kemp made brief remarks to thank lawmakers for their support.

House Bill 1302 will provide a $250 refund for single filers, 375 to single adults who lead a household with dependents, and $500 to married couples filing jointly. Only those who have filed tax returns for the 2020 or 2021 tax years would be eligible to receive the refund.

People who have filed 2021 taxes by April 18, without extension, will receive money in a separate payment. People who have not yet filed their 2021 taxes may be eligible to receive the money in a separate payment. This depends on how fast the state Department of Revenue or tax preparers can make adjustments.

As Kemp and legislators seek reelection, the payments are made. Kemp signed Friday a law suspending Georgia’s fuel tax until May 31, which was supported by state lawmakers without opposition.

Kemp stated Wednesday that the income tax refunds and the gas tax holiday will help people cope with high inflation and high prices. He blamed federal policies.

Kemp stated that while we can't solve all the problems up there, we could do our bit to help people here deal with these issues, and that's exactly what we are doing today.

Original estimates for the income tax refunds were $1.6 billion. However, that number was reduced to $1.1 billion by a March 9 estimate. Around the same time, the fuel tax holiday was initiated. It provides relief from taxes, including the 29.1 cents per liter of gasoline charged by the state. The holiday is expected to generate up to $400 million in lost revenue. Kemp intends to use the additional surplus from the lower refund estimate to make up the shortfall in state roadbuilding funds.

Georgia had a surplus of $3.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended June 30, which was enough to fill its rainy day account to the legal limit. Kemp also left $2.3 billion in undesignated surplus, which Kemp will use for income tax refunds or the gas tax holiday.

It is part of a larger state spending burst that includes $5,000 raises to state and university employees, $2,000 raises to teachers and a permanent $1.05 trillion cut in state income taxes.

The law states that refunds will be applied to a taxpayer's 2020 tax liability. Nobody could receive more than they paid in taxes for that year.

First, the state will use the refund to offset any current taxes due. Then, it will refund taxpayers through direct deposit to a taxpayer’s bank account. It would still intercept refunds from people who owe a debt, such as late child support.

Anyone who files a 2020 or 2021 tax return will automatically be credited or issued a refund. No further action is required. Taxpayers who have filed 2021 returns will not need to refile their taxes.

Although the refund won't be considered taxable income in state taxation, Robyn Crittenden, Revenue Commissioner, stated that it would be taxable income to federal income taxes.


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