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California Tax Refund Checks: When Do Payments Start Going Out?

California flag and money
Roughly 23 million Californians are expected to receive payments starting in October.
Vepar5/Getty Images

What's happening

Eligible California taxpayers will receive a one-time "middle-class tax refund" of between $200 and $1,050.

Why it matters

California's economy is the largest in the US. The payout was a compromise between Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers.

What's next

The payments are slated to go out starting in October.

Starting next month, eligible California residents will receive onetime inflation-relief payments of as much as $1,050. Whether you qualify for the Middle Class Tax Refund -- and how much you could receive-- depends on your income, filing status and household size.

The refunds are part of a larger $12 billion relief effort approved this summer by lawmakers in Sacramento. The plan "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," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a June 26 statement.

Here's what you need to know about California's inflation relief checks, including who is eligible for the money and how much they'll get -- plus when (and how) they can expect to receive it. 

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

Who is eligible for a California tax rebate check?

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.

They 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.

Single taxpayers who earned more than $250,000 and couples who made more than $500,000 combined in 2020 aren't eligible.

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 qualified Not qualified
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 qualified Not qualified
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 do not qualify do not qualify

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

When will the California tax rebate payments go out?

According to the Franchise Tax Board, payments will start going out in October. The last ones should be received by mid-January 2023. 

How will I receive my tax rebate payment?

If you filed your 2020 California state tax return electronically and requested a direct deposit for your refund, you will receive the tax rebate as a direct deposit, as well. 

Otherwise, you should receive your payment on a debit card. 

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.