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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Taxpayers Not Feeling So Generous With Their Kicker

Oregon Department of Revenue
Oregon taxpayers have the option on their tax forms to donate their kicker rebate to fund state schools.

Keep your kicker or donate it?

Oregon taxpayers have the chance to donate their kicker rebate to fund state schools as they fill out their tax forms this year. But hardly anyone is choosing to do that. So far this tax season, less than one-half of one percent of Oregonians are choosing to donate their kicker.

The kicker is a unique-to-Oregon tax rebate that happens when the state takes in more tax revenue than predicted. If the amount of extra revenue exceeds projections by more than two percent, the entire overage is refunded to taxpayers.

This is the first time Oregonians have gotten a kicker rebate in nearly a decade. Taxpayers have the option of keeping the money or donating it to the state Common School Fund. Partial donations aren't permitted -- it’s either all or nothing.

Of those taxpayers who are giving up their rebate it's not the wealthy who are making that choice. The average kicker is roughly $244. But the average kicker that’s been donated is closer to $73.

As of April 13, the total amount of donated kickers totaled $417,307. That's after roughly 1.3 million returns had been filed. The Oregon Department of Revenue estimates close to 2 million overall returns will be filed.

This year, just over $400 million will be returned to taxpayers via the kicker.