Does a Change in Income Impact Your California Inflation Relief Check?

by: Alix Martichoux, Nexstar Media Wire

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(NEXSTAR) — California is sending inflation relief checks — officially called the Middle Class Tax Refund — in October 2022, but the amount you’ll receive is based entirely on your income from 2020.

Your payment amount (if you qualify) will be between $200 and $1,050 depending on your tax filing status, number of dependents and income. Specifically, it depends on your California Adjusted Gross Income (CA AGI) on your 2020 tax forms.

But a lot can change in two years. What if you earned much less today than in 2020? Could you qualify for a larger payment?

“No,” the California Franchise Tax Board told Nexstar. “Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR) legislation requires eligibility to be based on a complete 2020 California state tax return.”

This means that regardless of the change in income – lower or higher – you are obligated to receive the payment amount that matches your 2020 income. There is no system for appealing the Franchise Tax Commission for an exception.

The government agency also told Nexstar there was nothing Californians could do to speed up the process of receiving their inflation relief payment. Even though the legislation was announced in June, payments are not expected to be issued until the end of October.

In the meantime, you can see how much you’ll get here by checking out the FTB’s Inflation Check Calculator.

Lawmakers estimate that more than 20 million state residents will benefit from the payments. The direct payments are meant to ease some of the financial stress from the rising costs of gasoline, food, housing and other goods the country has experienced over the past year.

In July, consumers saw prices rise about 8.5% from the same time last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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