Check your mailbox Saturday, and you should find that long-awaited tax rebate.
Gov. Kenny Guinn said Wednesday nearly 1.9 million checks returning nearly $300 million in excess tax revenues to Nevadans have already been delivered to post offices across Nevada.
Dave McTeer who managed the rebate program for Guinn said the state asked the postal service not to put them in mail carriers' bags until Saturday. He said not only will most Nevadans be home to receive them, the slight delay will give the state time to let everyone know when to expect the money. The idea, he said, is to reduce the chances of crooks grabbing the checks.
"The checks are in the mail," said Guinn, who made the rebate plan a key part of his 2005 legislative program.
"It's time to share with those who stood by us in tough times," said Guinn referring to the tax increases necessitated by the economic slump Nevada suffered after Sept. 11.
The state's economy rebounded far more quickly than even veteran analysts expected, leaving the state with a surplus.
Guinn thanked the Legislature for agreeing the state shouldn't spend all that money but, instead, return some of it to the people.
State Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, who called for a tax rebate even before Guinn, applauded the news the checks are on the way. His original plan would have given all Nevadans a credit against their DMV registration this year. Guinn argued that would grant rebates to many who weren't here the year before when the excess taxes were collected by the state.
Since Nevada doesn't have an income tax - which would have made rebates much easier to calculate fairly - Guinn instead recommended returning the fees Nevadans paid to register vehicles during 2004.
Lawmakers modified the proposal slightly to include seniors who no longer have cars and raise the minimum check size.
Every car, truck, RV, motorcycle or trailer over 3,500 pounds will qualify for a rebate of at least $75 even if their 2004 registration fee was the minimum $33. The maximum rebate for any vehicle under the program is $275.
In addition, Guinn said seniors who hold a DMV ID card instead of a driver's license and no longer have a registered vehicle will get a check for $75.
Those checks, 1.9 million of them totaling about $272 million, will begin arriving in the mail Saturday.
Guinn said seniors who no longer have a registered vehicle but still have their driver's license will also get checks for $75 apiece. But, he said, since it took longer to track all of them down in DMV's records, those checks won't be mailed until December. He said about 114,000 people are on that list for a total of $8.5 million plus.
Some seniors have called saying they should receive both the check for their registered vehicle and the check for being a senior but state officials say that's not the law. Seniors with one or more registered vehicles will not get the personal check for being a senior in addition to a check for each vehicle.
Guinn also reminded Nevadans that the IRS has issued an opinion to the state saying the rebate money is non-taxable and doesn't have to be reported as income.
Guinn said the DMV has hired a temporary staff of 20 to answer questions about the rebate program. In addition, he said people can look up their individual rebate amounts on the Internet.
n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.
Two ways to check on
• On the Internet: Go to www.dmvnv.com and follow links to the rebate page. Enter your last name and license plate number to see the amount and status of your check.
• If you don't have Internet access: Phone 684-4948 in the Reno-Carson City area; (800) 951-1874 in outlying areas. Phones will be staffed 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Because this is the week the checks were mailed, the phones will also be staffed Saturday.