CA Stimulus Payments: 5 Essential Things To Know

Thursday, May 06, 2021

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Tax day comes up on Monday, May 17 in California, and it's an especially significant deadline for low-income Californians who qualify for a $600 Golden State Stimulus. If approved by the Legislature, that stimulus payment will be extended to the state's middle-class taxpayers.

Taxes are usually due in April, but the federal deadline was extended this year after lawmakers and some tax professionals put pressure on the Internal Revenue Service to give taxpayers more time to file as the pandemic continued to upend daily life. The Golden State also extended its tax filing deadline to May 17.

Gov. Gavin Newsom in February signed a "direct relief" package into law, triggering $600 payments for some 5.7 million state residents. Some residents also qualified for $1,200 payments.

"Direct stimulus checks going into people's pockets and direct relief — that's meaningful," Newsom told reporters at a news breifing in a low-income Oakland neighborhood on Monday.Under Newsom's new proposal, direct payments would total an estimated $8.1 billion, said H.D. Palmer, a finance spokesman.

The state's Franchise Tax Board is also in the process of sending out payments as residents file their taxes. Some 2.5 million payments, worth $1.6 million, have been delivered so far.

The first round of checks were part of a $7.6 billion coronavirus aid package that also included more than $2.1 billion in grants and fee waivers for small businesses and another $2 billion in tax breaks for businesses.

On Monday, Newsom proposed another round of $600 California stimulus rebates for those who didn't receive the first check. This time the payments would go to residents making $75,000 a year or less.

Some Californians would also qualify for an additional $500 in tax rebates under Newsom's proposal. Eligible families with dependents and those who have individual tax identification numbers would be eligible for the additional payment. Many of these payments would go to people living in the country without documentation.

The Legislature still needs to approve the $11.9 billion proposal — included in an all-encompassing $100 billion California Comeback Plan — which would be made possible by a historic $75.7 billion budget surplus, Newsom said Monday.

The governor touted the proposal as the biggest recovery package in state history.

Here's what you need to know.

1. Who is eligible for the first round of California stimulus checks?

Generally, those who were eligible were Californians who had an annual income of $30,000 or less in 2020.

Those who have individual tax identification numbers and make $75,000 a year or less will also qualify. Many such payments will go to people living in the country without documentation.

Low-income families who received assistance from the federal supplemental security income or state supplementary payment programs will be eligible. Those who benefit from CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work assistance program, will also benefit and will receive payments on debit cards.

Some will be eligible under both categories and could receive up to $1,200.

The one-time payment could arrive to Californians more than a month after they file 2020 tax returns with the state Franchise Tax Board, the Los Angeles Times reported. Those who sign up for direct deposit could see the money a bit sooner.

2. Who would be eligible for the second round of Golden State Stimulus rebates (if it's approved)?

Newsom's $11.9 billion plan would send a Golden State Stimulus payment to about 11 million middle-class taxpayers and another $500 to families with children. Those who made up to $75,000 last year would qualify for a payment.

Some Californians would also qualify for an additional $500 in tax rebates under Newsom's proposal. Eligible families with dependents and those who have individual tax identification numbers would be eligible for the additional payment. Many of these payments would go to people living in the country without documentation.

It's important to note that this stimulus would go only to residents who did not receive the first $600 payment. Low-income residents who received the first $600, or in some cases $1,200, would not get a second $600 payment, a spokesperson from Newom's office told Patch.

"However, those who got the first [stimulus] payment could potentially be eligible for the $500 payment if they are a qualified family (meet income requirements) with a dependent," Newsom's office wrote in an email to Patch. "There is also a $500 payment for ITIN filers."

Those who qualify must have lived in California for more than half of 2020 and be a resident on the date the payment is issued, KCRA reported. CalEITC recipient and ITIN filer who made $75,000 or less are also eligible.

3. How will Californians get their state stimulus?

Californians must file their 2020 tax returns to receive these rebates.

"Californians who have not filed their 2020 taxes should know they may qualify for these funds, and we look forward to building on programs like this that invest in and support Californians in the months ahead," Newsom said in a statement with the state's Franchise Tax Board on Thursday.

For those who already filed a tax return but didn't claim CalEITC, the state urged that the return be amended.

4. Do SSI recipients get the $600 payment?

Yes, Supplemental Security Income recipients will qualify for the one-time $600 check, but they may not see the payment until this summer.

"We hope to begin issuing payments this summer," California Department of Social Services spokesman Jason Montiel said, according to KCRA. "As we have more details, they will be posted on our website."

Check this page for updates.

5. Why does California have so much money right now?

Californian's wealthiest residents did very well during the pandemic, triggering an unexpected tax windfall for the state.

"This time last year we announced a $54.3 billion projected shortfall. Today, we are announcing a projected $75.7 billion budget surplus," Newsom said at a news conference in Alameda County Monday. "It's a remarkable turnaround. ... California is going to come roaring back."

The proposed $11.9 billion relief package would triple the size of the existing Golden State Stimulus plan if approved by the Legislature. That plan also includes $5.2 billion to help with back rent and future payments and $2 billion for overdue utility bills for people who fell behind during the pandemic, though Newsom's office provided few details.

The $600 stimulus checks may also satisfy a voter-approved state appropriations limit that hasn't been triggered since 1986, Bloomberg reported. Since the state's budget includes excess revenue, that mandate directs the state to return some of that money to taxpayers.

The governor was expected to flesh out his relief plan and present a revamped version as part of the state budget on Friday. As early as next week, lawmakers will begin their own negotiations ahead of the June 15 deadline to pass a new state budget plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Category: California, Economic Aid, COVID-19, Governor Newsom