In three weeks, California will begin sending Middle Class Tax Refund payments to 23 million qualifying residents.
The state set aside $9.5 billion from its $308 billion annual budget for the inflation-relief payments. Initially proposed as a gas rebate, the state Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom settled on a plan to return some of the state’s $98 billion budget surplus to residents struggling with rising prices amid record-high inflation.
“California’s budget addresses the state’s most pressing needs, and prioritizes getting dollars back into the pockets of millions of Californians who are grappling with global inflation and rising prices of everything from gas to groceries,” Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in June when the provision was signed.
Payments will range from $200 for certain high-income earners to $1,050 for married, joint tax filers.
Similar to the pandemic-related Golden State Stimulus payment programs, recipients of the MCTR must be California residents and tax filers in order to qualify. The state will base relief payments on adjusted gross income found in 2021 tax returns.
Also like the GSS distribution, the Franchise Tax Board will be sending the relief money via direct deposits. Instead of sending out paper checks to the nonelectronic filers, the state will mail debit cards.
FTB representatives said Monday that the agency is working on a distribution calendar, but for now, recipients should expect most direct deposits to land between Oct. 7 and Nov. 14.
Households with joint tax filers will get as much as $1,050 if they have eligible dependents and earn less than $150,000 annually in AGI. The benefit falls to $750 for income earners above $150,000 and to $600 for dual-filers who earn $250,001 to $500,000. There is no benefit for joint filers who make more than $500,000 annually or single filers who earn $250,000.
Here’s how it breaks down for single tax filers and those who claim “head of household” on their tax returns:
—Less than $75,000 annually in adjusted gross income will get $700 if they have a dependent. Those with no dependents will get $350.
—$75,001 to $125,000: $500 (with dependent) or $250 without
—$125,001 to $250,000: $400 (with dependent) or $200 without.
MCTR distribution will go something like this, the FTB said Monday:
Direct deposit payments for Californians who received Golden State Stimulus (GSS) I or II will be issued to bank accounts Oct. 7-25, with the remaining direct deposits occurring between Oct. 28 and Nov. 14.
About 90% of the direct deposits will be issued in October.
Debit cards will be mailed between Oct. 25 and Dec. 10 for Californians who received GSS I and II. The remaining debit cards mailed by Jan. 15, 2023.
“We expect about 95% of all MCTR payments – direct deposit and debit cards combined – to be issued by the end of this year,” the FTB said via email.
The state has set up a website where residents can check eligibility and how much they will receive.
For more information, go to ftb.ca.gov and click on the window that says “Middle Class Tax Refund.”
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