Last week, the Kansas Senate approved a package of tax cuts and measures that would finally allow Kansans to benefit from the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 and eliminate state taxes on Social Security benefits and some pensions.  

Senate Bill 22, or the RELIEF Act, would allow Kansans to take itemized state deductions regardless of whether the standard deduction is claimed for federal income tax purposes. Victims of identity theft would not have to pay income taxes on fraudulent unemployment claims going to other people. In addition, it includes provisions to “decouple” state and federal income taxes. Social Security and retirement income would also be exempt from being taxed. 

The TCJA was signed into law three years ago by former-President Trump in December 2017 and many states have already changed their tax codes to conform to the federal changes. However, Kansas has not. In fact, nearly two years ago, the legislature brought forth a measure similar to SB 22 that would have allowed Kansas to conform with the federal tax code, but Gov. Kelly vetoed it. As a result, Kansans have been paying more in taxes than they should be.  

A majority of Republicans showed overwhelming approval for the bill, citing that it would provide taxpayers and business owners relief after they started paying more taxes in the federal tax code. Among those praising the legislation is Sen. Caryn Tyson, Chair of the Committee on Assessment and Taxation. “It allows Kansas taxpayers to get the money that they were meant to get in the first place,” said Sen. Tyson. She even suggested calling it a tax increase every time Gov. Kelly vetoes one of these bills.  

Almost every state has taken action to adjust their state tax codes following the recent changes to the federal tax code.