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After receiving Golden State Stimulus and Golden State Stimulus II payments last year, many California residents have recently received a new round of financial assistance from the state. Known as the Middle Class Tax Refund, these relief payments began in October and are expected to continue until January 2023.
As of Nov. 4, 6 million direct deposit payments had been issued and 1.6 million debit card payments had been sent, totaling $4.1 billion.
The middle-class tax refund was included in the 2022-2023 California budget that was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in June. The bill included out-of-pocket payments of $350 to $1,050 for 23 million Californians, more than half of the state’s residents. Direct deposit payments began rolling out on October 7.
Some residents may receive their payments via a debit card issued by Money Network. These payments began on October 24 and will continue until the end of the year. Debit cards come in envelopes that clearly state the mail is not a bill or advertisement in the hope that recipients won’t mistakenly throw them in the trash.
The state has a middle class tax refund information page, which includes a calculator to estimate your payment amount.
When and how are payments issued?
Stimulus payments are issued by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) of California via direct deposit and debit cards.
If you received either of the previous two Golden State Stimulus payments by direct deposit, you should have received your middle class tax refund by direct deposit between October 7 and October 25.
Alternatively, if you filed your 2020 California tax return electronically and received a direct deposit refund, you can expect to receive a direct deposit relief payment by November 14.
Debit cards will be used to distribute the remaining payments. If you received the Golden State Stimulus by debit card, you can expect to receive a debit card for the middle class tax refund. All debit card payments will be sent by January 15, 2023.
Earlier this fall, the FTB said 90% of payments should be issued in October and 95% would be distributed by the end of the year.
For the latest updates on when you can expect to receive your payment, if it hasn’t already arrived, visit the Middle Class Tax Refund website.
Find out which states offer gas rebates and stimulus payments.
Middle Class Tax Refund Eligibility
Twenty-three million residents are expected to qualify for the middle-class tax refund.
To be eligible, you must have filed your 2020 state tax return by October 15, 2021 and have been a resident of California for at least six months in 2020. You must not be listed as a dependent on the return of someone else for the 2020 tax year, and you must be a California resident on the date your payment is issued.
Payments are offered on a sliding scale, depending on income and tax status. Low-income filers with at least one dependent receive the highest payments.
Like the previous two Golden State Stimulus payouts, people earning more than $75,000 won’t receive the full benefits, but other details have changed.
Here is a breakdown of maximum payout eligibility:
- $350: people earning less than $75,000 per year
- $700: Couples who file jointly and earn less than $150,000 per year
- $350: Additional payment for families above who have at least one dependent
The income limits to qualify for the minimum payment are as follows:
- $200: People earning up to $250,000 per year
- $400: Couples who file jointly and earn less than $500,000 per year
- $200: Additional payment for families above who have at least one dependent
What else is in the inflation relief package?
In addition to stimulus payments, the $17 billion inflation-fighting package as part of the state’s broader budget includes a temporary suspension of state diesel taxes and assistance with rent and utility costs.
Diesel Tax Holiday
California’s budget package does not include a suspension of the state’s gasoline tax, which is the highest in the United States at 68 cents a gallon. However, the budget provides for a suspension of the state sales tax on diesel fuel for 12 months beginning Oct. 1.
Other Benefits for California Residents
The budget contains a handful of additional measures to try to lessen the impact of inflation on residents:
- $1.95 billion for emergency housing assistance for eligible low-income tenants who applied for assistance before March 31, 2022
- $1.4 billion in funds to help residents pay overdue utility bills
The budget also includes a $14.8 billion infrastructure and transportation package, as well as more than $200 million in additional funding that will go towards reproductive health care services.
California’s 2022-2023 budget also provides universal access to health coverage for low-income residents ages 26-49, regardless of immigration status, becoming the first state to do so.
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