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California relief checks: Who has to file taxes to get the stimulus checks?

The CFTB has already distributed more than $9 billion to California residents and the final payments should arrive in the coming weeks.

What were the requirements for California relief checks?

The state of California is continuing to distribute one-off payments worth up to $1,050 to residents as part of the Middle Class Tax Refund. The process has been ongoing for months but the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) anticipates that the final round of payments will be with recipients by 14 February.

To be eligible for the support Californians had to submit a tax return for their 2020 earnings, so that state officials could determine the size of their entitlement. Normally low earners are not required to submit a tax return if they are not liable to pay tax, but this program brought a new reason to file.

The deadline to submit those tax returns passed last October, meaning that there is no longer any opportunity to claim the support if you have not yet done so.

How much has been sent out in California relief checks?

As of 28 January, the CFTB has spent more than $9 billion on this program. This comprises more than 7 million direct deposits and 9 million debit cards sent out to eligible residents.

In total, the state estimates that the Middle Class Tax Refund has benefitted 31,650,087 Californians and their dependents. The vast majority of payments have now be distributed, but some claimants that require an additional review are still waiting for their support.

When the program was signed into law last summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement highlighting the purpose of the payments:

“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.”

The program was designed to help households struggling with rampant inflation during 2022 and the vast majority of residents were eligible for the support. Assuming that a 2020 tax return was filed by 15 October 2021, the payments were offered to anyone who satisfied the following criteria:

- Earnt less than $250,000 ($500,000 for couples) in 2020

- Not eligible to be claimed as a tax dependent

- Was a California resident for at least half of 2020

- Will be a California resident on the date the payment is issued

For anyone who has not yet received their payment, the CFTB will provide the next update on the payment process by 22 February 2023. By this point, all eligible residents should have had the support.


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