August 10, 2022

Long-delayed Indiana tax rebate checks will be larger

Republican Rep. Tim Brown, center, listens to Democratic Rep. Gregory Porter, right, speak at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, on a bill that would issue $200 rebate payments to taxpayers and allocate $45 million more in the coming year toward state agencies that support families, young children and people who adopt. The House passed the relief bill Aug. 5, 2022 with support from both caucuses. - AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers

Republican Rep. Tim Brown, center, listens to Democratic Rep. Gregory Porter, right, speak at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, on a bill that would issue $200 rebate payments to taxpayers and allocate $45 million more in the coming year toward state agencies that support families, young children and people who adopt. The House passed the relief bill Aug. 5, 2022 with support from both caucuses.

AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers

About 1.7 million tax rebate checks from Indiana’s big state budget surplus that have been delayed for months will be larger when they finally start hitting mailboxes.

State lawmakers last week approved a second round of rebates amounting to $200 per taxpayer, on top of $125 payments that were triggered last summer by surging tax collections.

Roughly half of the $545 million in the initial payments under the state’s automatic taxpayer refund law were sent by direct bank deposits starting in May. But the mailing of printed checks to some 1.7 million taxpayers who did not supply bank account information has been on hold due to delays in shipments of the required specialty paper, according to the state auditor’s office.

Printing of those checks could begin next week and will include the second rebates as well, for a total of $325, said Emily Boesen, a spokeswoman for the auditor’s office.

Up to 50,000 checks can be printed a day, and the office estimates it will complete that work in early October, Boesen said.

A date has not yet been set for when the new round of $200 rebates via direct deposits will begin, according to the state Department of Revenue.

The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the new payments Friday in a deal that dedicated about $1 billion from the state’s record $6.1 billion in cash reserves toward the rebate payments.

Democratic legislators criticized the delays in distributing the first round of payments, which Holcomb’s office initially said would be finished by May.

Republicans also rebuffed repeated calls from Democrats since March for suspending the state’s gasoline taxes, which currently stand at a record 62.4 cents a gallon. Democrats argued that would be a quicker way to provide financial relief to residents.

Democratic Sen. David Niezgodski of South Bend said he was worried that “the last taxpayer refund has barely made its way to our citizens.”

“I fear that many of the people we serve have suffered in the meantime,” Niezgodski said. “I wish I could have cast my yes vote on more comprehensive relief legislation about five months ago.”

The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment about such criticism.

The rebate plan approved last week also allows perhaps 600,000 people who didn’t file state returns for 2021 to request the $200 rebates. Details on how those refunds could be claimed haven’t yet been announced.

“If they didn’t qualify for the $125 and will not receive a combined check, we are working out the logistics with the Department of Revenue and do not have a timeframe,” said Boesen, the auditor’s office spokeswoman.

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