Rep. Reschke: $1.9B Kicker surplus refund helps taxpayers

Oregon State Representative E. WERNER RESCHKE

With all the bad news coming out of Salem these days, it is always nice to report on some good news — $1.9 billion worth of good news.

Oregon’s Kicker Law returns to tax payers any surplus in tax receipts above 2% compared to what was previous budgeted by the legislature. This fantastic constitutional provision helps slow the growth of government. What’s more, everything that was intended to be funded is — nothing is short changed — before this surplus is returned to Oregon tax payers.

Instead of kicker checks, the surplus will be returned to taxpayers through a credit on their 2021 state personal income tax returns filed in 2022.

What’s Your Kicker?

To calculate the amount of the credit you will receive, multiply the 2020 tax liability before any credits—line 22 on the 2020 Form OR-40—by 17.341 percent. This percentage is determined and certified by the Office Economic Analysis. Taxpayers who claimed a credit for tax paid to another state need to subtract the credit amount from their liability before calculating the credit.

A What’s My Kicker? calculator is available on the Oregon Department of Revenue’s website for personal income tax filers now. To calculate a kicker credit, a taxpayer will enter their name, Social Security Number, and filing status for 2020 and 2021.

A tax payer is eligible to claim the kicker if they filed a 2020 tax return and had tax due before credits. Even if they don’t have a filing obligation for 2021, they still must file a 2021 tax return to claim the credit. There will be detailed information on how to claim the credit in the 2021 Oregon personal income tax return instructions.

Celebrate Oregon’s Kicker

This time-tested, proven Kicker remains one of the gems in Oregon’s tax code. Unfortunately there are some in Salem who wish to eliminate it, and let the State keep your money. Others wish to completely redo the Kicker and give your money away to someone else. Instead we should celebrate Oregon’s Kicker as it is. It works, and is a good reward to Oregon taxpayers when the State runs a surplus.

For further thoughts on Oregon’s Kicker, here is an article I wrote that was published in the Oregonian a while back.