Georgia’s special income tax refunds could take months to go out

Gov. Brian Kemp signs a $1 billion tax cut bill in Bonaire on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.   (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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Gov. Brian Kemp signs a $1 billion tax cut bill in Bonaire on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Some Georgians will soon receive tax refunds as part of a plan to send back $1.1 billion in surplus funds, but it may take months to get the money out to everyone who is eligible.

Gov. Brian Kemp and state Revenue Commissioner Robyn Crittenden announced this week that the Department of Revenue will begin issuing the tax refunds this week.

Under House Bill 1302, which received final passage from the Georgia Senate in March, single Georgians would be able to receive a $250 refund when they file their taxes, joint filers $500. The refunds would go to those who filed returns for the tax years 2020 and 2021, and the money would be available in six to eight weeks.

Aided by a flood of federal COVID-19 relief money, the state’s economy had a strong recovery last year from a brief pandemic recession in 2020.

The state ended fiscal 2021 with a $3.7 billion surplus, and part of the leftover money went into the government’s savings account. But Kemp, who is up for reelection this year, also promised to return some of the surplus to taxpayers.

Democrats have said Kemp, a Republican, has glossed over the fact that the surplus was built, in large part, on federal aid that went for everything from enhanced unemployment checks and child tax credits to housing, health care and business aid.

Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who is running against Kemp in the Republican primary, called the refund an election-year “one-time giveaway” in a tweet after the signing.

Due to the volume of refunds, the Revenue Department said it may take some time for all refunds to be processed. The department expects to issue nearly all the refunds by early August for income tax returns that were filed by April 18.

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