Georgia reimbursement amount smaller than expected | here’s why

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The amount of income tax refund you receive depends in part on how much tax you owed the state in 2020.

ATLANTA – For weeks in this inflationary economy, the anticipation was hopeful; Georgian taxpayers were eagerly awaiting the promised refund from the state, just when they needed help the most:

  • A maximum of $250 for single filers
  • $375 for family heads
  • $500 for married couples filing jointly

But now that the checks are coming, why are some taxpayers getting far less than the maximum, even though they don’t owe any back taxes that the state could seize on refunds?

“Some people will be caught off guard when they don’t get the full amount,” Atlanta tax expert Andrew Poulos said Thursday.

Poulos said the reason some taxpayers are now receiving less than the maximum refund is because those taxpayers owed so little tax in 2020.

The Georgia Department of Revenue suggests that taxpayers check their Georgia tax return for 2020.

On the state Form 500, look at line 16 (it’s line 4 on the EZ short form).

If, for example, you are a single filer and in 2020 you only owed $100 in taxes from line 16, then that’s all you get back now: $100, not the maximum $250.

But, for example, someone who owed $1,000 in 2020 would now receive the maximum refund of $250, $375, or $500, depending on their tax status.

It doesn’t matter how much the taxpayer actually paid on their 2020 return or if they received a refund that year. The 2022 special refund amount is based only on that person’s tax payable in 2020.

“You cannot receive more than your tax payable,” Poulos said.

This means that those who owed only a little tax – including, perhaps, the poorest among us – now get the lowest refunds.

“You can’t get back what you never paid for,” Poulos said. However, he pointed out that most people receive the maximum refunds.

“Because most people are likely to have a tax debt of over $200 or $500,” he said. Although people are probably grateful for any help filling the tank and the grocery cart.

The Georgia Department of Revenue says taxpayers who want to verify whether their refund check amounts are calculated correctly should call 877-423-6711, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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