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Did you get a refund? California inflation rebates top $5 billion, so far

With Thanksgiving costs up 20% this year amid record-high inflation, some readers are wondering where their inflation stimulus payment is from the state of California.

Karen, a Bay Area resident, sent us a query, wondering what’s taking so long to get the Middle Class Tax Refund.

The Franchise Tax Board has been hustling to distribute one-time direct deposit and debit card payments for qualifying taxpayers. Distribution began in October.

As of Nov. 11, the state reports it has sent out $5,053,764,350 (yes, that’s billions).

The breakdown of payments goes like this:

—Direct deposits issued to qualifying taxpayers: 6,739,880

—Debit cards issued to qualifying taxpayers: 2,556,729

The refunds are part of an inflation-relief package Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature agreed to in June, setting aside $9.5 billion from a $308 billion annual budget. Instead of a gas rebate, the government settled on a plan to return some of the state’s $98 billion budget surplus to residents struggling with rising prices amid record-high inflation.

Depending on a taxpayer’s AGI, payments will range from $200 for certain high-income earners to $1,050 for married, joint tax filers with a dependent.

Similar to the pandemic-related Golden State Stimulus payment programs, recipients of the MCTR must be California residents and tax filers in order to qualify. The state will base relief payments on adjusted gross income found in 2020 tax returns.

On Nov. 7 the state told us the Franchise Tax Board still had 18 million payments to distribute between now and mid-January.

So far, Karen, who read an earlier story on the MCTR in our sister newspaper, the (San Jose) Mercury News, has yet to get her payment despite meeting the qualifications for the early distribution cycle.

The Franchise Tax Board says, don’t panic, more payments are coming.

If you were not a recipient of the previous state stimulus programs, expect the tax refund to land between Dec. 5 and January, according to a schedule posted on the tax board’s website.

The schedule as it stands, according to the FTB, following distribution for last names beginning with A-M:

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