Bill to refund Oregon taxes on stimulus checks was ‘held hostage’


A quirk in Oregon tax law meant the state collected $300 million on stimulus payments

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An effort to refund hundreds of millions of dollars in personal income taxes collected by Oregon on federal stimulus checks appears to have reached a standstill.

A quirk in Oregon’s tax law meant nearly 900,000 Oregonians ended up paying an extra $300 million in state taxes on their 2020 tax returns.

In an email sent to KOIN 6 News, a viewer wrote in part, “Oregon has our money, I fear that it will be very hard for them to relinquish it without public pressure.”

Senator Dick Anderson introduced a bill in March to refund taxpayers. Senate Bill 842 would have required the Department of Revenue to send checks to people to refund the tax taken out of their stimulus checks, similar to how the Oregon “kicker” tax rebate is handled. Despite winning a good amount of support and even a public hearing, the bill did not move forward.

“It became obvious that it was being held hostage,” said Anderson. “You know, there’s something about money and the desire of the legislature to hang onto money.”

Anderson said he’s disappointed that as of now Oregonians will not be getting that money back. He said part of the concern seemed to be how difficult it would be to issue refunds since people already filed their taxes.

Anderson said he will look into taking up the issue again but not until 2022. It’s unclear if the bill would even have enough support to pass in the future since it failed once before.

KOIN 6 News also reached out to Senator Ginny Burdick and Representative Nancy Nathanson for comment but neither were available.

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