There are few people who would turn down a payment of up to $1,050, and millions of Californians are about to get one in the next few months. But not everyone qualifies for the highly anticipated Middle Class Tax Refund – also called inflation relief payments.
The inflation relief payments are based on your 2020 taxes, and in order to qualify you need to have filed your 2020 taxes by the extended deadline of Oct. 15, 2021, according to the Franchise Tax Board.
If you were late on your taxes and filed after Oct. 15, you generally do not qualify.
There’s a different deadline for some taxpayers without a social security number who file taxes using an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). The FTB explains, “if you applied for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) but did not receive it by October 15, 2021, you must have filed your complete 2020 tax return on or before February 15, 2022.”
Think back on 2020: Were you a California resident for at least six months of the year? Are you still a California resident now, and will you still be a state resident in October 2022? You need to answer yes to all those questions to collect the free money.
If you were eligible to be claimed as a dependent in the 2020 tax year, you are disqualified from the tax refund. This requirement could knock out young adults who may be on their own now, but were still dependents two years ago.
The highest-earning Californians are not able to collect on this inflation relief program. For individual filers, the income limit is $250,000. For couples filing jointly, heads of household or surviving spouses, the limit is $500,000.
If your adjusted gross income was $250,001 or higher as an individual, or $500,001 or higher as a couple, you won’t be getting a direct payment.
Remember, while the payments are going out in late 2022, they are based on 2020 taxes, so you’ll need to check those tax forms to see if you qualify. The number you’re looking for should be listed as “CA AGI” – or California Adjusted Gross Income.
If you meet all four of the above requirements, you qualify for at least some portion of the Middle Class Tax Refund. The smallest payment possible is $200, while the largest is $1,050. The amount you get will depend on your income and if you have dependents.
Payments will be issued by direct deposit or debit cards. The state is expected to start issuing the payments in late October and complete most payments by January 2023.