Concerns arise over error in Baker Administration’s tax rebate checks

Western Mass News reached out for answers on why this is and what this could mean for taxpayers.
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News has been reporting on the tax rebate checks that will be going out to Massachusetts taxpayers based on a rarely used state law that kicks in when there is a certain amount of state revenue surplus.

However, a new report claims that the state is about more than $1 billion in error.

Western Mass News reached out for answers on why this is and what this could mean for taxpayers.

The Baker Administration announced that more than $2.9 billion will be returned to Bay State taxpayers, amounts based on how much they paid in state taxes in 2021.

However, a report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center said almost $1.4 billion in state revenues could be incorrectly returned to Massachusetts taxpayers.

Senior Policy Analyst Kurt Wise told Western Mass News that there was an error in accounting based on the rarely used state law that was triggered due to the amount of extra revenue taken in last year.

“The $2.9 billion that the auditor certified is about $1.4 billion too high. Effectively, in that $2.9 billion, there is $1.4 billion already going back to taxpayers in the coming fiscal year,” Wise explained. “The fact that the money is already promised to taxpayers and will be taken out of the collection totals of future revenue collections is not accounted for.”

Wise told us why this is bad for the state as a whole.

“It reduces the amount of revenue available to the Commonwealth to invest in all of the many things that we do together and pay for with our taxes,” he said. “We’re talking about roads and schools and libraries and support for local communities and health care. All kinds of things that money is not going to be there because it’s inaccurately being refunded.”

Massachusetts’ budget and policy center also claimed that the law unfairly distributes money to higher-income earners.

Certified public accountant Nicholas LaPierre told Western Mass News how the law could be leaving those making less with an inequitable refund.

“Well, the argument is being said that somebody making $20,000 a year is going to get a lot less returned to them on their credit as opposed to a high earner that could be making $200- 300,000, or a million dollars a year. They’re going to get a larger refund just because of the percentage that the governor comes out with.”

At last check, the tax rebates could start going out as soon as next month.