Tax Refund Measure Advanced By North Carolina Senate Panel

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A Republican proposal to give millions of North Carolina taxpayers refunds from a larger-than-anticipated revenue surplus is advancing in the state Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee voted on Thursday for the measure to send $663 million through checks of up to $125 or $250. Amounts would depend on the taxpayer’s filing status and what they owed during 2018.

Senate leader Phil Berger told committee members returning money to taxpayers is one good option when more money than necessary is collected for state government. Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham said legislators should look instead at using the excess on important needs like school construction. But Berger says the Republican budget vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper contains such funds.

The refund measure is expected on the Senate floor next week.

Original Story (August 21, 2019):

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republicans say they want to return to taxpayers much of the largest state government revenue surplus in over a decade.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger say their chambers will advance a bill that would give refunds to more than 5 million taxpayers.

Refunds would range from up to $125 of the taxes that individual filers paid this year to up to $250 for couples. Most checks would be sent in mid-December.

The state collected $897 million more than anticipated in the year ending June 30. About $660 million would be sent out, if the bill becomes law.

The announcement also signaled a new method by which Republicans will address spending and taxes as they remain in a budget standoff with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

You can find more information on the plan, which was released by Senator Phil Berger’s office Wednesday, below:

Fast Facts

Cost

There is no “cost” because this bill is returning money to the people who earned it. In that sense, the refund will return $663 million to the people.

Recipients

More than 5.1 million taxpayers would receive a refund. More than 90 percent of taxpayers would receive the maximum refund. More than 350,000 taxpayers would have their entire tax liability covered by the refund.

Mechanism

The North Carolina Department of Revenue will send a check to every taxpayer equal to the amount that person or couple paid in state taxes, up to $125 for an individual or $250 for a couple.

Timeline

The Taxpayer Refund Act instructs the Department of Revenue to issue checks as soon as possible. The Department must mail checks by December 15, 2019 for those who filed before August 1, 2019. The Department must mail checks by February 1, 2020 for those who filed between August 1, 2019 and October 1, 2019.

Impact on the Budget

There is funding available to both refund the surplus to taxpayers and enact a new budget at higher spending levels.