SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state is giving out money to help New Mexicans deal with rising costs of living and high gas prices. Under a bill lawmakers passed in a special session, most New Mexicans are eligible for cash rebates between $500 and $1,000.

What is the rebate?

The tax rebates (or relief payments) are the state’s way of giving back to New Mexicans amid record revenues from the oil and gas industry. Lawmakers passed the broad rebate bill during a single day legislative session on April 5, and the Governor signed the bill into law on April 8.

How much you can get depends on your tax status. Regardless of how much money you make, heads of household, surviving spouses and married individuals filing joint returns will receive a total of $1,000. Individual filers and married individuals filing taxes separately will get a total of $500.

Those payments will be split into two parts. The Governor’s office recently announced that the first payment should hit New Mexicans’ bank accounts in the next few days. People who have a direct deposit account connected to their 2021 tax filings will see funds hit their accounts in a day or so. Those who don’t have direct deposit will receive a paper check in the mail some time in the next few weeks.

Charlie Moore, spokesperson for the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department says they don’t yet have an exact date for when New Mexicans will see their second payments. But he says the second payments should go out in August of this year.

People who didn’t file taxes can also get a payment

People who didn’t file taxes are also eligible for relief. Homes with married couples (or individuals with one or more dependents) can get $1,000. Single individuals can get $500.

“The Legislature passed, and Governor Lujan Grisham signed, a bill that authorizes about $20 million in economic assistance payments to individuals who are not eligible for tax rebates because they don’t file taxes,” explains Kari Armijo, a deputy secretary at the state’s Human Services Department, which will process payments to non-tax-filers. “It really is designed to make sure that we can get assistance out to New Mexico families who don’t file taxes but still need that economic and financial help.”

Are there any rules for who gets the rebates and payments?

To be eligible for rebates or a relief payment, you have to be a New Mexico resident. You also have to have a social security number or individual taxpayer identification number. Finally, you cannot be a dependent of another individual to receive the funds.

Again, this specific rebate program is targeting all New Mexicans regardless of how much money you’ve made or if you’ve filed taxes with the state. So, both those who filed taxes in 2021 and those who did not can receive funds.

However, there’s a key difference in how people can get the funds the state is dolling out. For some, the payout will be “automatic,” but others will need to apply.

How to get your money

– If you filed taxes for 2021

If you filed a personal income tax return for 2021 and you’re eligible for the tax rebates, the state will automatically send you the rebate payments. So, if you filed taxes, you don’t need to go through any special application process — just sit back and wait for your payments.

Those payments will come either via a check in the mail or direct deposit, depending on how you filed your taxes. Again, the first payment is expected to go out before June 30, 2022. The second payment is expected to go out in August 2022.

– If you didn’t file taxes

If you didn’t file taxes, but are otherwise eligible, you can still get a relief payment. But you have to apply and the funds are on a first-come, first-served basis.

To get a payment, if you didn’t file taxes, you can apply online at www.yes.state.nm.us. This is the state’s Human Services Department application portal, called ‘Yes New Mexico,” also known as “YesNM.”

“Individuals who don’t file taxes will need to apply for an economic assistance payment through the Human Services Department,” says Kari Armijo from the department . “You need a social security number or an individual taxpayer ID number, as well as information needed to verify your residency here in New Mexico. Other than that, you just need a computer to be able to apply through our ‘Yes New Mexico’ online system.”

Once there, follow the prompts on the screen to apply for a payment. Note that if you want to get your payment faster, you should use the direct deposit option.

You don’t need to create an account to apply. But you do need to complete the application in one sitting. But Armijo says the application is short, and if you can’t finish, you can start over later.

You do have to apply online. But if you don’t have access to a computer, Armijo says there are resources to help.

Applicants “can go to their library or their senior center,” Armijo says. “There are lots of tax advocacy organizations that are helping individuals sign up through this effort.” And you can apply from your phone via the same “Yes New Mexico” website.

The deadline to apply, if you’re a non-tax-filer, is May 31, 2022. Applications are now open.

Once you apply, your information will be verified by the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department. If it turns out you don’t qualify, Armijo says you’ll receive a notice in the mail. And you can always re-apply, if it’s not past the May 31 deadline.

And Armijo urges those who can file taxes to do so: “If you are eligible to file taxes, you should do that so you can receive a guaranteed payment and don’t have to go through that economic relief portal.”

Charlie Moore from the taxation department says that if you’re not required to file taxes (if you don’t earn enough income, for example) but want to file in order to get an automatic relief payment, you have until May 31, 2023 to file 2021 taxes and qualify. More information can be found on the taxation department’s website.

Can I still get paid if the fund runs out?

The state has promised to pay all qualified tax filers, so they don’t need to worry about money running out. However, there is a limited amount of funding available for non-tax-filers who are applying for relief payments through the state’s website.

The state has a $20 million fund to pay non-tax-filers with. If that runs out and you still haven’t applied, you’re not entirely out of luck. Non-tax filers have until May 31, 2023 to file a tax return. Those who file a tax return by that date would be eligible for the standard, automatic rebates heading to all New Mexico tax filers.

The applications for non-tax-filers opened May 2, 2022. In the first two days, 3,612 applied, Armijo says.

“The funding is limited,” Armijo says. “So we’re really encouraging New Mexicans to apply soon, so that they can get that economic relief.”

Isn’t there an additional tax rebate the state is sending out to some people?

Earlier this year, legislators approved House Bill 163 during the regular legislative session. That bill includes another, smaller provision for tax rebates. But unlike the “special session rebates,” this “other rebate” has income limits tied to it, so fewer people will receive them.

House Bill 163 gives single or married individuals filing separately a $250 tax rebate if they make less than $75,000 a year. Married individuals and some other New Mexicans are eligible for a $500 rebate if they make less than $150,000 a year.

These rebates are expected to be dolled out in July 2022, according to state. The $250 or $500 rebates from HB 163 will be in addition to the $500 or $1,000 rebates passed as part of HB 2 in the special session.