Refunds up to $500 are coming - for some
On May 12 it was confirmed that from this week onwards, some taxpayers in Georgia will begin receiving automatic refunds expected to total around $1.1 billion.
The refunds were announced in March of 2022 when Governor Brian Kemp signed legislation (HB1302) that will return the funds as a one-time windfall payment to taxpayers who have filed a tax return in 2020 and 2021 tax years.
Refunds of between $250 and $500 for some
Georgia will give a refund of up to $250 to single tax filers, up to $375 to single adults who head a household with dependents and up to $500 to married couples who file their tax returns jointly. The refunds are to be paid for out of the state's larger than expected budgetary surplus, built up as a result of unexpectedly strong state tax collections.
As he signed the legislation on March 23, Gov. Kemp had this to say:
“When government takes in more than it needs, I believe those dollars should be returned to the taxpayer, because that is your money – not the government’s. In Georgia, we are … putting taxpayer dollars back in the pockets of hardworking Georgians.”
Help with the rising cost of living
The money will likely be welcomed by those who receive the refunds since it will help them manage with the rising cost of living right now, with inflation, supply chain shortages and the continuing high cost of oil that are all making life so expensive right now.
This is the latest measure introduced by Governor Kemp that should help out a little. In March he also implemented a temporary halt on fuel tax intended to reduce the cost of gasoline - it remains in place until the end of May.
There is an alternate perspective on the issue of course - if the government has successfully built up such a surplus through over-taxation, does it indicate that perhaps taxes were too high in the beginning? Is it such a noble gesture for the government to be handing back money that shouldn't necessarily have been taken as tax in the first place?
Regardless of the circumstances that led to the budget surplus, hopefully the refunds will reach those who need it most.
Do you expect to receive one of Governor Kemp's tax refund payments? What will you do with the money? Let me know in the comments section below.