California Stimulus Update: Will You Receive the Middle Class Tax Refund?

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Since federal Economic Impact Payments — or pandemic stimulus checks — were discontinued in 2021, California has been one of many states to provide regular financial relief to residents still burdened by high inflation, gas and food prices.

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California is also one of the states offering the most help. On Oct. 7, the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) started sending out Middle Class Tax Refunds (MCTRs) of up to $1,050 to approximately 23 million eligible residents. The 18 million payments, totaling $9.5 billion, is the largest such program in the state’s history.

In a statement issued one day before tax refunds checks were dispatched, Governor Gavin 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.”

According to the California FTB, you are eligible to receive the one-time tax refund if you:  

  • Filed a 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021.
  • Were a resident of California for six months or more during the 2020 tax year and will be a state resident on the date when the payment is issued.
  • Met the required 2020 adjusted gross income (AGI) limits.
  • Were not claimed as a dependent by someone else in the 2020 tax year.
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Refund amounts are tiered into AGI income brackets, with bigger payments going to those who make less money. Single filers earning up to $250,000 and couples who made up to $500,000 qualify for at least a partial payment. The top level rebate of up to $1,050 is possible for married couples with multiple dependents who earn less than $150,000 per year.

Individuals with a 2020 adjusted gross income higher than $250,001 and joint filers with an AGI of $500,001 or higher do not qualify for the MCTR.

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MCTR payments for Californians will be received either by direct deposit or by a debit card coordinated through Money Network. It’s estimated that 90% of direct deposits will dispersed in October 2022, and 95% of all refunds will be issued by the end of the year.

Check out the FTB site to determine your eligibility or calculate how much relief payment you may be able to receive.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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