California Stimulus Checks: More Direct Deposit Payments Hitting Bank Accounts Now
If you’re still waiting for a California stimulus check payment, you might not have to wait much longer. While the state sent direct deposit payments from October 7 to 25, and debit cards started going out in the mail on October 24, there are still a lot of Californians waiting for their refund to be deposited into their bank account. However, those people won’t have to wait much longer. California started a second round of direct deposit stimulus payments on October 28.
The one-time California stimulus payments – formally known as Middle Class Tax Refunds – range from $200 to $1,050, depending on the filing status and income reported on your 2020 California tax return, and whether you have any dependents. If you’re expecting a payment via direct deposit, you might want to start checking your bank account again each day. If it hasn’t arrived already, and you qualify for a direct deposit payment, it should show up in your account by mid-November.
For a broader look at California taxes, see the California State Tax Guide.
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Who Will Get a California Stimulus Check?
You qualify for a California stimulus check payment if you:
- Filed a 2020 California income tax return by October 15, 2021;
- Reported an adjusted gross income on your 2020 California tax return of $250,000 or less if you filed as a single person or married person filing a separate tax return, or $500,000 or less for anyone else;
- Weren’t claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s 2020 tax return;
- Were a California resident for at least six months in 2020; swear
- Are a California resident on the date your payment is issued.
Use the California Franchise Tax Board’s handy online tool (opens in new tab) to check your eligibility and get an estimate of how much money you should get.
Direct Deposit vs. Debit Card Stimulus Payments from California
If you filed your 2020 California tax return electronically and received a California tax refund by direct deposit, then you’ll generally receive your stimulus payment by direct deposit, too. You can also expect a direct deposit payment if you previously received a Golden State Stimulus (GSS) payment in 2021 or early this year via that payment method.
Most other people who are eligible for a payment will receive a debit card in the mail for the appropriate amount. You will also get a debit card stimulus payment if you received a 2020 California tax refund by direct deposit but have changed banks or your bank account number since then. People who received an advance payment from a tax service provider or paid a tax preparer’s fee with a tax refund will also get a debit card in the mail.
If you receive a debit card in the mail, you can activate the card online (opens in new tab) or by calling 1-800-240-0223.
When California Stimulus Payments Are Being Sent
Direct deposit payments to people who previously received GSS direct deposit payments first began on October 7. The FTB sent those payments through October 25. For people who didn’t previously receive a GSS payment via direct deposit, but who otherwise qualify for direct deposit stimulus payments now, their payments are being sent from October 28 to November 14.
According to the FBI, direct deposit payments typically show up in your bank account within three to five business days from the issue date. However, that estimate may vary on a bank-by-bank basis. The FTB expects to issue approximately 90% of all direct deposit stimulus payments by the end of October 2022.
Debit cards will take longer to distribute. The FTB’s plan is to send cards in batches, generally depending on whether you previously received a GSS and your last name. According to the schedule, eligible people who previously received a GSS payment via debit card with a last name beginning with A to E will be issued a California stimulus check debit card between October 24 and November 5, 2022. If you’re last name begins with a letter from F to M, your card will be issued between November 6 and 19. Previous GSS debit card recipients with last names beginning with N to V will be issued a stimulus debit card between November 20 and December 3, while people with last names starting with W to Z will have to wait until December 4 to 10.
If you didn’t previously receive a GSS debit card, but you’re slated to receive one for your California stimulus payment, the payment schedule will be announced after November 7 if your last name begins with A to L and after November 21 if your last name is in the M to Z range.
If you’re getting a debit card because you changed your bank or bank account since filing your 2020 California income tax return, then your California stimulus payment debit card will be issued between December 17, 2022, and January 14, 2023.
It can take up to two weeks from the expected issue date before you actually receive your debit card in the mail. Also note that the FBI will mail a debit card to the latest address it has on file, which is usually the address on your most recent California tax return. So, if you recently moved, let the FBI know where you’re now living. You can edit your mailing information through the MyFTB portal (opens in new tab) or contact the agency through its other official channels (opens in new tab). However, be aware that it may take longer to process your stimulus payment if you had a change of address.
Are the California Stimulus Payments Taxable?
If you receive a California stimulus payment this year, either by direct deposit or debit card, it won’t be considered taxable income on the California income tax return you’ll file next year. That’s according to the California FBI.
However, it’s not clear at this point if it will be taxed on you federal tax return. As the Los Angeles Times reports (opens in new tab), it depends on how Uncle Sam classifies the payments. If they’re deemed to be tax refunds (after all, the payments are officially called “Middle Class Tax Refunds”), people who itemize on their federal return instead of claiming the standard deduction could have to pay federal tax on the payment.
On the other hand, if the IRS sees the California stimulus payments more as a “gift” or “welfare” payments, then they shouldn’t be taxed at the federal level. At this point, it is better to assume that the payment will be subject to federal taxes. However, before filing your 2022 federal tax return next year, consult with a tax professional to see if IRS guidance has been issued stating that the payments are exempt from tax.