The IRS has provided details clarifying the federal tax status involving special payments made by 21 states in 2022. Taxpayers in many states will not need to report these payments on their 2022 tax returns.

General welfare and disaster relief payments

If a payment is made for the promotion of the general welfare or as a disaster relief payment, for example related to the COVID 19 pandemic, it may be excludable from income for federal tax purposes under the General Welfare Doctrine or as a Qualified Disaster Relief Payment. Payments from the following states fall in this category and the IRS will not challenge the treatment of these payments as excludable for federal income tax purposes in 2022:

  • California,

  • Colorado,

  • Connecticut,

  • Delaware,

  • Florida,

  • Hawaii,

  • Idaho,

  • Illinois,

  • Indiana,

  • Maine,

  • New Jersey,

  • New Mexico,

  • New York,

  • Oregon,

  • Pennsylvania, and

  • Rhode Island.

Alaska is in this group only for the supplemental Energy Relief Payment received in addition to the annual Permanent Fund Dividend. Illinois and New York issued multiple payments and in each case one of the payments was a refund of taxes to which the above treatment applies, and one of the payments is in the category of disaster relief payment. A list of payments to which the above treatment applies is available on the IRS website.

Refund of state taxes paid

If the payment is a refund of state taxes paid and recipients either claimed the standard deduction or itemized their deductions but did not receive a tax benefit (for example, because the $10,000 tax deduction limit applied) the payment is not included in income for federal tax purposes. Payments from the following states in 2022 fall in this category and will be excluded from income for federal tax purposes unless the recipient received a tax benefit in the year the taxes were deducted.

  • Georgia,

  • Massachusetts,

  • South Carolina, and

  • Virginia

Other Payments

Other payments that may have been made by states are generally includable in income for federal income tax purposes. This includes the annual payment of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend and any payments from states provided as compensation to workers.