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Relief payment applications open for NM residents who won’t get a tax rebate this month


New Mexico residents with low incomes can apply for state economic relief beginning Monday, June 12. The payments are for those who don’t qualify for the tax rebates that start going out next week. Though officials recommend retroactively filing a tax return, and getting access to a rebate instead, if possible.

The rebates will automatically go out to all New Mexicans who filed 2021 tax returns. The relief payments, on the other hand, are supplemental for residents with low incomes who did not file taxes that year and are not anyone’s dependents.

The Legislature this year approved $690 million in tax rebates. Single filers will get $500 and those who filed jointly, $1000. Tax and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke said direct deposits are set to hit accounts on June 21 and checks will be printed and mailed between June 20-29.

“It’ll still take the postal service a few more business days to have those show up in people’s mailboxes,” she said at a news conference Monday. “So, please do be patient.”

Those who need to go the relief payment route must apply through the Human Services Department by June 23. Applicants must have a New Mexico driver’s license and either a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

HSD Deputy Secretary Alex Castillo Smith said the amount of those payments is still up in the air, since $15 million will be split evenly among those who qualify by the deadline. Regardless of the amount, Castillo Smith said the one-time payment will not be factored into a person's eligibility for other HSD benefits, like SNAP.

Over the last three years, the payments have averaged $517, according to HSD, but were only $400 last year. That’s why Schardin Clarke recommended residents who didn’t file taxes because of how low their incomes were in 2021 do so now.

“If you do file and had no tax owed, that means there would be no penalty or interest assessed,” she said of filing this late. “It would make you eligible for the rebate and it would also potentially make you eligible for some other refundable tax credits.”

Castillo Smith with HSD said that will also help her department’s relief funds go that much further.

“If you’re able to file that return, please do so,” she said. “These relief payments are really intended for people who may not have that other option, and we want to make sure that they have funding available to them.”

To be eligible for a rebate, 2021 personal income tax returns must be filed by May 31, 2024.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.