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California Inflation Stimulus: Didn’t Get Your Payment? It’s On Its Way

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Sparked by state surpluses and growing state revenues, many U.S. states have passed tax relief programs to provide financial aid to residents since federal pandemic checks were discontinued in 2021.

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In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, through the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), began sending out Middle Class Tax Refunds (MCTRs) of up to $1,050 to approximately 23 million eligible residents on Oct. 7. The 18 million total payments, which equal $9.5 billion, represent the largest relief program of its kind in California state history.

In a press release issued the day before the first MCTR checks were dispatched, Newsom stated, “We know it’s expensive right now, and California is putting money back into your pockets to help. We’re sending out refunds worth over a thousand dollars to help families pay for everything from groceries to gas.”

However, many anxious residents are wondering when they will receive their MCTR payments. Speaking to CalMatters, Franchise Tax Board spokesperson Andrew LePage explained that payment coordination has to be thought-out and treated judiciously.

“There are constraints on the number of direct deposits and mailed debit cards that can be issued weekly,” said LePage. “Logistically it takes time to deliver approximately 18 million payments to Californians effectively and accurately, protecting both taxpayers and California.”

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Millions of Payments Still Pending

Per the Orange County Register, the Franchise Tax Board said that as of Nov. 7, it still needed to distribute 18 million payments between then and mid-January 2023.

So, if you haven’t received your refund yet, it’s on its way. An updated schedule is posted on the FTB site, with payment issue dates dependent upon recipients’ last names — and whether a resident previously received a Golden State Stimulus I and II check or not.

To be eligible for the California Middle Class Tax Refund, you:

The MCTR is based on 2020 state income tax returns, filing status and dependents. If you aren’t sure how much you will be receiving, you can use the estimate tool on the FTB site.

California MCTR Scams Increasing in Frequency

In related news, according to ABC7 Los Angeles, city attorney Mike Feuer has issued a warning to MCTR recipients to be wary of scam texts with links to “activate” or “reactivate” refund debit cards. These messages are often sent by criminals looking to steal personal information and funds.

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“Californians are so eager at this time of year to get this tax relief,” said Feuer in an interview. “It would be a fairly automatic gesture to simply click onto a link, when you’re asked to activate a California prepaid debit card. Any of us could be vulnerable to this.”

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