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California Inflation Relief Payments Start Arriving Today. Everything You Need to Know

Flag of California in a stack of coins.
Payments started going out Oct. 7 to eligible California taxpayers.
Eyegelb/Getty Images

What's happening

California residents start receiving one-time "middle-class tax refund" payments on Oct. 7.

Why it matters

Eligible residents will receive between $200 and $1,050 as part of a compromise between Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers.

Inflation-relief payments started going out to California taxpayers on Oct. 7. Eligibility for the Middle-Class Tax Refund, which can be for as much as $1,050, is dependent on income, residency, filing status and household size.

The payments are part of a $12 billion relief effort that "prioritizes getting dollars back into the pockets of millions of Californians grappling with global inflation and rising prices," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement in June, when he and state lawmakers reached a deal over the refunds.

Here's what you need to know about California's inflation relief checks, including who is eligible for the money, how much they'll get and how payments will be distributed. 

For more on tax relief, find out which other states are issuing tax refunds and pausing their gas tax.

Who qualifies for an inflation relief payment?

Roughly 23 million California residents are eligible for the rebate plan, which has been set up in three tiers based on the adjusted gross income on your 2020 California state tax return.

In addition to meeting income requirements, residents must have filed their 2020 tax refund by Oct. 15, 2021, have lived in the state of California for at least half of the 2020 tax year and still be California residents on the date the payment is issued.

Individual filers who earned more than $250,000 and couples who made more than $500,000 combined in 2020 aren't eligible for the payments. You also cannot have been claimed as a dependent by someone else in the 2020 tax year. 

How much will my check be for?

  • Single taxpayers who earned less than $75,000 and couples who filed jointly and made less than $150,000 will receive $350 per taxpayer and another flat $350 if they have any dependents. A married couple with children, therefore, could receive as much as $1,050. This is the largest bracket, KCRA reported, representing more than 80% of beneficiaries.

  • Individual filers who made between $75,000 and $125,000 -- and couples who earned between $150,000 and $250,000 -- will receive $250 per taxpayer, plus another $250 if they have any dependents. A family with any children could receive $750.

  • Individual filers who earned between $125,000 and $250,000 and couples who earned between $250,000 and $500,000 would receive $200 each. A family with children in this bracket could receive a maximum of $600.

How much of a tax rebate can I expect?

For married couples filing jointly
Adjusted gross income on your 2020 tax return Payment with dependent Payment without dependent
$150,000 or less $1,050 $700
$150,001 to $250,000 $750 $500
$250,001 to $500,000 $600 $400
$500,001 or more Not eligible Not eligible
For a head of household or qualifying widow(er)
Adjusted gross income on your 2020 tax return Payment with dependent Payment without dependent
$150,000 or less $700 $350
$150,001 to $250,000 $500 $250
$250,001 to $500,000 $400 $200
$500,001 or more Not eligible Not eligible
If you're filing individually
Adjusted gross income on your 2020 tax return Payment with dependent Payment without dependent
$75,000 or less $700 $350
$75,001 to $125,000 $500 $250
$125,001 to $250,000 $400 $200
$250,001 or more Not eligible Not eligible

You can estimate your refund using the Franchise Tax Board website calculator.

When will I receive my tax rebate?

Payments started going out Oct. 7 and the final ones should be sent by Jan. 15, 2023, according to the Franchise Tax Board

Californians who received money from either round of Golden State Stimulus payments will be the first to receive direct deposits, between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25. The remainder of direct deposits will be issued between Oct. 28 and Nov. 14.

If you didn't set up direct deposit, your payment will be mailed out in a Money Network debit card, starting Oct. 25.  

What if I didn't file a 2020 California tax return?

Most Californians who didn't file a complete 2020 tax return by Oct. 15, 2021, aren't eligible for the rebate. (The exception is for those who applied for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, and had not received it by Oct 15, 2021.)

In addition to the tax rebate, the state is increasing funding for several social programs, including the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment, which assists more than 1 million seniors and disabled people. SSI/SSP benefits will increase by about $39 per month for individuals and by $100 per month for couples.

There are also increases to California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, aka CalWORKS grants, which provide money and services to eligible families with children.