PORTLAND, Ore. -- If you file taxes in Oregon, you may get a little surprise on your return this year.
Taxpayers are getting their first kicker rebate since 2007, and it will be applied to your taxes as a credit on your return.
“Any money back is always a good thing,” said Oregon taxpayer Jordan Hernandez.
Oregon's "kicker" is triggered when tax collections exceed expectations by at least two percent. The additional money is kicked back to Oregonians. This year the median amount is expected to be a little more than $120.
Gilbert Gleason at H&R Block said the amount is calculated based on what you owed the government in 2014 before withholdings.
“You get your kicker simply by filling out your tax return and then it's included in your refund that you get at the end of the year,” said Gleason.
If you aren't getting money back, and instead owe money, Gleason said the kicker will be deducted from the amount you owe.
If you go to a tax preparer, getting your kicker taken care of should be a breeze. However, if you do your own taxes, Gleason said you'll need to know your tax liability from 2014.
But the kicker isn't the only difference this year. If you didn't have health insurance in 2015, be prepared to pay a penalty.
“For most people that's 2.5% of their gross income,” Gleason explained.
Rachael Lamb said she’s feeling the pain. Lamb didn't have health insurance last year, so this tax season she'll be paying for it.
Those who didn't have health insurance in 2015 will have to either pay the penalty or file for an exemption. Gleason said if you still don't have health insurance, get it by Jan. 31. If you don't, the penalty will double next tax season.
Another word of caution: do your taxes early if you can.
Gleason said tax fraud is rampant, and you want to get your return in before someone else tries to file under your name. In addition, he said the IRS will not threaten or contact taxpayers over the phone. According to Gleason, these kinds of calls have already started to happen again. So if you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, hang up.
Gleason also said there’s been confusion surrounding the series of 1095 tax forms, which deal with health insurance as well. He said if you receive the 1095-A form, it’s mandatory to include that information in your tax return. But if you receive a 1095-B or C form, it’s not mandatory information for your return.
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