In the latter half of 2022, several state governments provided relief to the residents of their states by way of one-time refundable tax credits. Refundable tax credits typically allow taxpayers who meet certain eligibility criteria to reduce the amount they are required to pay in income taxes, and if the credits exceed the taxpayer's total tax liability, the excess is paid to them as a refund. Some states chose to distribute the full amount of these credits directly to individuals during the last half of 2022.
Data typically are not available to separately estimate the value of refundable tax credits that are regularly offered by state governments. The value of these tax credits is therefore recorded in the NIPAs only implicitly as a reduction in tax receipts. However, a combination of media reports and state-level administrative data were available to estimate the value of these one-time 2022 tax credits. As a result, BEA recorded them as an increase in government expenditures (specifically as government social benefits to persons), rather than as a reduction in government receipts. Recording these payments as government social benefits provides a clearer picture of the amount of benefits received by qualified individuals and is consistent with the recording of federal refundable tax credits in the NIPAs and with national accounting guidelines.