California inflation relief checks coming out this week: Find out if you're eligible

Millions of California taxpayers will be receiving a one-time Middle Class Tax Refund payment of between $200 and $1,050 in the coming days.

Starting Oct. 7, those eligible will begin to receive the inflation relief payments. How much you receive will be based on your income, residency, filing status, and household size. 

It's all part of a $12 billion relief effort approved by state lawmakers, which "prioritizes getting dollars back into the pockets of millions of Californians who are grappling with global inflation and rising prices" Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a June statement.

The state will send out an estimated $9.5 billion in refunds. The checks function as tax refunds and come from the state's record-setting $97 billion budget surplus

Here's what you need to know about California's inflation relief checks and how to find out if you're eligible.

Who qualifies for an inflation relief payment?

Around 23 million California residents are eligible for the one-time payment, 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.

You also cannot have been claimed as a dependent by someone else in the 2020 tax year. 

How much will I get?

The exact figure Californians will pocket depends on several factors including adjusted gross income, filing status, and dependents.

Single people who make less than $75,000 per year will receive $350 and joint filers who make less than $150,000 per year would get $700 plus an extra $350 for a dependent. Here's a breakdown:

Joint returns

  • AGI of $150,000 or less: $1,050 with dependent or $700 without
  • AGI $150,001 to $250,000: $750 with dependent or $500 without.
  • AGI of $250,001 to $500,000: $600 with dependent or $400 without.

Head of Household

  • AGI of $150,000 or less: $700 with dependent or $350 without.
  • AGI of $150,001 to $250,000: $500 with dependent or $250 without.
  • AGI of $250,001 to $500,000: $400 with dependent or $200 without.

Those who file single

  • AGI of $75,000 or less: $700 with dependent or $350 without.
  • AGI of $75,001 to $125,000: $500 with dependent or $250 without.
  • AGI of $125,001 to $250,000: $400 with dependent or $200 without

Single filers making more than $250,000 and joint filers making more than $500,000 are not eligible for payments.

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

When will I receive my money?

The first group to get their hands (or bank accounts) on the Middle Class Tax Refund will be Californians who received the Golden State Stimulus payments (either the first or second round) via direct deposit. If that's you, you can expect a payment to your bank account between Oct. 7 and Oct. 25. 

All other direct deposit payments will be distributed between Oct. 28 and Nov. 14. 

The FTB expects about 90% of direct deposits will be issued in October.

The last batch of payments in the form of debit cards will be sent out by Jan. 15, 2023 for those who qualify for direct payments, but do not fall into a category above. 

Will I be getting a check or a debit card?

To clarify who will be getting a direct deposit or a debit card, the FTB said it depends on last year's taxes. Those who e-filed taxes in 2020 and received a state tax refund by direct deposit will get this year's inflation relief payment by direct deposit as well. Most other taxpayers will likely get a debit card, the FTB said. 

If you don't have direct deposit set up, you will instead get a debit card. The FTB said debit cards will be mailed out between Oct. 25 and Dec. 10 for those who received Golden State Stimulus payments via debit card last time around.

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.)