Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Kicker could knock $124 off your state taxes

Legislature — State revenue forecast is for taxpayers to receive a credit on their 2015 taxes

Oregonians can expect an average of $124 off their 2015 tax returns due in April 2016, according to the state’s latest economic and revenue forecast.

State Economist Mark McMullen said Aug. 26 that the amount of excess income tax collections from the previous two-year budget cycle is $402.4 million, down from the $473 million forecast May 14.

He said tax collections dipped more than anticipated in late spring and the result is the smaller amount.

The forecast is the first of the new budget cycle and also is the one immediately after the close of the 2013-2015 cycle.

Unlike the practice for the past two decades, the excess — known as the “kicker” — will be returned to individual taxpayers in the form of a credit against the following year’s tax bills. Lawmakers in 2011 ended the practice of mailing checks directly to taxpayers that was started in 1995, citing the cost of more than $1 million in postage.

The average rebate of $124 is for Oregon median incomes — half of them above and half below — ranging from $30,000 to $35,000. Because the rebate is based on liability, higher-income households will get far more than the average; low-income households will get as little as $10.

The most recent kicker was in 2007, when $1.1 billion was rebated a few months before the official start of the latest economic downturn.

A 1979 law, which voters wrote into the Oregon Constitution in 2000, requires a rebate of excess taxes when actual collections exceed budget projections by 2 percent.

The law also applies to corporate income taxes, but in 2012, voters earmarked any excess collections of corporate taxes for the state school fund. That amount is built into the current state budget cycle that started July 1.