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Your most popular questions on Georgia's surplus refund checks

Where is your check? And, what should you do if you didn't get yours yet? 11Alive went to the experts to verify.

ATLANTA — For the last few weeks, surplus refund checks have been rolling out across the state. 

Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law paying back some of the state's $1.6 billion budget surplus.

Where is your check? And, what should you do if you didn't get yours yet? 11Alive went to the experts to verify.

OUR SOURCES

THE QUESTION

Will everyone receive a check? 

THE ANSWER 

No. That is false. 

Here's who gets the money. To qualify, you need to be a full-year resident in Georgia in 2020 and 2021. You also needed to file state individual income taxes for both years, according to Georgia's Dept. of Revenue.

If you are not a full-year resident, tax expert Andrew Poulos said you qualify for some of the money but not all.

"There are certain circumstances, certain situations where someone can qualify as having filed a part year resident," Poulos explained. "However, what that will do is prorate the amount of potential refund that you're due based on your tax liability and what you paid into Georgia on the 2020 tax return."

THE QUESTION

Will everyone receive the same amount on their refund check? 

THE ANSWER

No, this is not the case.

Here's how much you can receive. Single filers can get a maximum of $250. Head of household filers can get a maximum refund of $375.

But, the actual number on your check depends on your tax liability.

"If your tax liability is zero, then you're not going to receive anything in the form of a refund," Poulos said. "If your tax liability was somewhere higher, greater than $1 and anywhere from $250 to $500, then you could receive the full amount or partial amount."

THE QUESTION

Are there steps you can take if you have not received your money?

THE ANSWER 

Yes. Poulos recommends a few things.

  1. File your 2021 tax returns. If you are on an extension, you have until October.
  2. Check your tax liability
  3. Update your address with the state 

THE QUESTION

If you filed as a dependent for either 2020 or 2021, can you still receive a refund check?

THE ANSWER

No. If you were claimed as a dependent on someone's return in 2020, you are not eligible for a refund even if you filed as a single taxpayer in 2021, Poulos explained.

"If someone is or was a dependent on a return in 2020, but they're not a dependent on a 2021 return to file their own return, they're not going to qualify simply because the 2020 return is the qualifying return," Poulos said. 

THE QUESTION

Will the time vary between who gets their check and when?

THE ANSWER

Yes. For those who filed taxes by April 18, the Department of Revenue said it expects all checks to be issued by August.  

Poulos said it is going to take for them to process all these payments. 

"Keep in mind that if the Department of Revenue does not have on your 2021 return a bank account on that return, they will be issuing a paper check," he said. "With the post office being slow it probably is going to delay the time frame as to when you will receive the the refund check in the mail."

If you're waiting on a paper check, Poulos said to give it about four to six more weeks for it to arrive. 

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