Middle-Class Tax Refunds
By Phil Ting
The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has begun to process the next group of Californians eligible for inflation relief payments, called the Middle-Class Tax Refunds. From now through mid-January, debit cards are being mailed out to help residents fight global inflation. These one-time payments are part of the $9.5 billion tax refunds going to most Californians.
As Assembly budget chair, I was part of the legislative leadership team that negotiated this tax relief. We have seen how rising prices were affecting household budgets, and we wanted to use some of the state’s surplus to assist approximately 23 million residents with the cost of gas, rent, utilities and other essential expenses.
Payments range from $200 to $1,050. You may be eligible if you:
• Filed your 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021.
• Meet the California Adjusted Gross Income (CA AGI) limits ($250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for married couples).
• Were not eligible to be claimed as a dependent in the 2020 tax year.
• Were a California resident for six months or more of the 2020 tax year.
• Are a California resident on the date the payment is issued.
The refunds are in the form of a debit cards if you:
• Filed a paper tax return.
• Received your Golden State Stimulus payment by check.
• Received your tax refund by check regardless of filing method.
• Received your 2020 tax refund by direct deposit, but have since changed your banking institution or bank account number.
If the FTB already has your banking information on file, the Middle-Class Tax Refunds are being sent via direct deposit. In fact, they have already started doing so in the first week of October and estimates the process will last a few months. State officials said they expect about 95% of all payments – direct deposit and debit cards combined – to be issued by the end of this year.
The payment amounts are based on your 2020 CA AGI, which can be found on line 17 on Form 540 or line 16 on Form 540 2EZ. For example, an eligible married couple who earned $150,000 or less and has at least one dependent would get the maximum refund of $1,050. If that same couple claimed no dependents, they would receive $700.
Meanwhile, a single filer who made between $125,000 and $250,000 and has no dependents, would get $200. For a complete list of scenarios, please visit http://www.ftb.ca.gov and click on the Middle-Class Tax Refund box to help you determine your eligibility and estimate your payment.
For those who did not file a 2020 tax return but are on Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) for seniors, the blind or disabled, grants will increase next year, instead of 2024. Amounts will go up by $39/month for individuals or $100/month for couples.
And with 2023 approaching, residents eligible for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) should start making a plan to file their taxes early, so they can receive that refund too. The state’s Franchise Tax Board website also has information on that program.
As your state representative in Sacramento, I hope these actions help ease some of the rising costs affecting your household budgets. I’m proud that California is among 17 states providing inflation relief payments.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City as well as part of South San Francisco.
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