ATLANTA — Georgia taxpayers will be getting an extra chunk of change coming their way again this year, after the legislature finalized a new round of $250-$500 surplus payments and Gov. Brian Kemp gave the bill to put them into law with his signature.
In a release, the Governor's Office said the payments will be going out in about six to eight weeks, with a plan to have most of the payments issued by July 1.
"Last year, we returned over a billion dollars to the taxpayers of our state, and I'm proud we're doing it again," Gov. Kemp said in a statement. "Thank you to those in the General Assembly who supported this measure to help Georgia families fighting through 40-year high inflation."
There are certain parameters for the payments, including who is eligible and how to make sure you get yours if you are indeed eligible.
Here's some key details to know for the Georgia surplus tax refund payments.
Who is eligible?
It's easiest to start here, as there's one simple piece of criteria.
- Did you pay Georgia state income taxes for 2021 and 2022? As in, did you live and work in Georgia the last two years? Then you're eligible, and the rest of this article will be of interest to you.
- Did you only pay state income taxes for one of those years, or just move here? Unfortunately, you will not be eligible.
One other note, in a change to the way these payments are being handled this year: Young people who are claimed as dependents are still excluded unless they had earned income for the 2021 taxable year.
How do I make sure I get my payment?
File your taxes for 2022 if you haven't already. The deadline is April 18.
What are the payments?
They're structured as follows:
- $500 for married couples filing jointly
- $375 for single filers with dependents
- $250 for single filers
What if I filed one way in 2021 and another way in 2022?
Say you got married last year, and now you're filing jointly for the first time where in 2021 you filed your taxes single. Which payment do you get?
The state hasn't put out guidance yet this year, but last year they went with what you'd filed in 2020.
Those payments were issued to 2020 and 2021 filers, whereas these ones go to 2021 and 2022 filers - so they'll probably use whatever you filed in 2021.
Why are we getting the payments?
Georgia has a very large budget surplus - at the latest report last year, it was more than $6 billion - of which $1 billion the governor and legislature have decided to return to taxpayers in the form of these payments.
Critics of the payment policy said the surplus has been created because the state estimates its revenue conservatively. They also said it was created because the state government cut funding for many state agencies when COVID hit, anticipating a drastic fall in revenue - which wound up not really materializing. Only, they left the the lower funding levels in place.
The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute estimates the state is spending $121 less per resident for this fiscal year than they did 15 years ago - about $1.3 billion total.
The state's Republican leadership has countered that conservative fiscal management has left the state better off financially than many other states, and that the payments are the best use of the surplus money because, as Gov. Kemp has said previously, "we are bringing this relief to hardworking Georgians - because that's YOUR money, not the government's."