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California Inflation Relief Check: do I qualify according to my filing status?

California has sent its first batch of payments for the Middle-Class Tax Refund. How does filing status impact eligibility?

California has sent its first batch of payments for the Middle-Class Tax Refund. How does filing status impact eligibility?
Anadolu AgencyGetty

After seeing a budget surplus, the Golden State has established a new tax credit, Middle-Class Tax Refund (MCTR), that will be distributed to millions.

The state allocated around $9.5 billion for the refund and hopes that families will be able to use the payments to keep up with prices. The state leads the country in the cost of gas and after a brief period of relief from high prices from July to September, they are on the climb once again.

The payments for the tax refund are worth anywhere between $200 and $1,050, depending on one’s income, tax filing status, and whether or not one claimed a dependent on their taxes in 2021.

Payments by Tax Filing Status

Eligibility requirements, in part, depend on income. Those who file jointly and as head of household have higher income limits but payments phase out after an Annual Gross Income of more than $500,000.

After a household makes more than $500,000, they become ineligible to receive a payment.

Filing Jointly

Income With Dependent Without Dependent
$150,000 or less$1,050$700
$150,001 to $250,000$750$500
$250,001 to $500,000$600$400

Head of Household

IncomeWith DependentsWithout Dependent
$150,000 or less$700$350
$150,001 to $250,000$500$250
$250,001 to $500,000$400$200


IncomeWith DependentsWithout Dependents
$75,000 or less$700$350
$75,001 to $125,000$500$250
$125,001 to $250,000$400$200

When will the payments be distributed?

The state is sending out the checks over the next few months and when and how one receives the payment depends on the financial information available to the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB).

Direct Deposit

Those who received their tax return via direct deposit will be some of the first to receive the MCTR, as the state already has the information it needs to make the payment. Those who were eligible to receive the first or second round of the Golden State Stimulus (GSS) Checks will see their refund deposited between October 7-25. Non-GSS recipients who have set up direct deposit should see theirs in late October or early November, with the CFTB announcing that they will be sent between 28 October and 14 November.

Debit Cards by Mail

The remaining payments will be made by mail. Like with direct deposit, those who received a GSS check will be the first to see their refund sent. The state will announce the distribution dates in the coming months, so far, they have only released the dates of the announcement. The first batch will be announced on 17 October. The second and third batches will be sent according to the last name:

  • A - L: Announced after 7 November
  • M - Z: Announced after 21 November.

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