ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law last week that will soon disburse a round of payments, replicating the ones that went to taxpayers last year in the form of a tax refund.
The payments are drawn from Georgia's budget surplus, with Gov. Kemp saying last week, "Last year, we returned over a billion dollars to the taxpayers of our state, and I'm proud we're doing it again."
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.
Georgia workers who paid state income tax in 2021 and 2022 will be eligible - with a deadline of April 18 (the same deadline as federal Tax Day) to have your 2022 taxes filed to ensure you get the newest payment.
Here's how much you'll get:
How much will I get from my Georgia surplus tax refund payment?
They're structured just like last year, which is as follows:
- $500 for married couples filing jointly
- $375 for single filers with dependents
- $250 for single filers
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.
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 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."