Gov. Newsom Wants to Give $12B Stimulus to Californians So, Who Will Get a Check?

Department of Finance clarified who will receive which payments under proposed plan

NBC Universal, Inc.

On Monday in the East Bay, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his proposal to expand stimulus dollars for Californians. His office explained the plan would include a total of $12 billion in direct cash payments, something they lauded as "the biggest state tax rebate in American history."

But who will actually receive the checks Newsom was referring to? And in what time frame will those checks be issued?

The new stimulus dollars Newsom referred to on Monday haven't been finalized yet. The State of California Franchise Tax Board acknowledged the governor's recent announcement on its website but noted, "these additional payments are not yet available and are pending legislative action."

"We are closely tracking developments regarding the Golden State Stimulus expansion proposal mentioned in the Governor’s press release. Because the proposal still needs to go through the legislative process, we do not have additional details to share at this time."

A spokesperson with the State of California Franchise Tax Board in an email to NBC Bay Area on May 11.

The State Department of Finance has a vision for how this expanded relief would be rolled out, once approved. H.D. Palmer, the deputy director for external affairs at the department, told NBC Bay Area that the new round of checks Newsom proposed would go to individuals or households with combined, adjusted gross income between $30,000 and $75,000 a year.

The state already made some stimulus checks available earlier this year to individuals or households who earn less than $30,000 per year. California is in the process of distributing those dollars. The governor's office said Monday that under Newsom's plan, "two-thirds of Californians would benefit from direct payments" and Palmer clarified this two-thirds calculation includes those in the earlier round of stimulus recipients plus those who would be eligible for the governor's proposed stimulus expansion.

To be eligible for any of these payments, you need to file your 2020 taxes.

The federal income tax filing deadline is approaching on May 17. The California Franchise Tax Board said the deadline to file California personal income tax returns has been extended to October 15, 2021. However, FTB added that those who owe taxes must still pay by Monday, May 17 to avoid interest or late fees.

The Department of Finance said that as long as Californians file their taxes by October 15, they will be eligible for state stimulus payments.

$600 Direct Payments

The governor's office said this new proposal would issue direct cash payments of $600 to "middle-class families that make up to $75,000."

Palmer explained that this $75,000 threshold would be measured by California Adjusted Gross Income, which means a person could make $80,000 per year but as long as they make less than $75,000 after deductions, they would still qualify for the check.

Palmer added that those who make less than $30,000 a year or who otherwise would have qualified for the earlier round of state stimulus won't receive this $600 payment.

NBC Bay Area asked: will this new stimulus funding be impacted by whether a couple filed their taxes jointly or individually?

"No," Palmer responded.

The Department of Finance said the $75,000 threshold applies whether taxpayers are filing as single or filing jointly. If married taxpayers file separately, their income threshold is then set at $37,500 and their credit amounts are cut in half to $300.

Under this proposal, a single individual who qualifies would get $600. A married couple whose combined income is less than $75,000 would also get one check for $600.

An additional $500 available

The governor's office explained that individuals who qualify for this proposed round of $600 stimulus may also be eligible for an additional boost in cash.

Eligible families with dependents would receive an additional $500 in their under this new stimulus proposal.

Palmer said the $500 addition would remain the same regardless of the number of dependents you have. So if an eligible family has one child they would receive the additional $500 and if an eligible family has five children they would also receive the additional $500.

If you have dependents and earn less than $30,000 but already received your state stimulus check, Palmer said you will be receiving an additional check for $500 in this second round of state stimulus.

The governor's office also noted that undocumented families will receive an additional $500 in direct payments under this proposed stimulus.

Earlier state stimulus options

The State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) said last week that 2.5 million Golden State Stimulus payments worth $1.6 billion have already been issued to eligible residents. FTB added that Californians must file their taxes by October 15 to be eligible, though FTB recommends filing as soon as possible.

The first round of state stimulus payments are already available to:

  • Californians who earn less than $30,000 a year and are CalEITC recipients
  • Californians who made $75,000 a year or less in Adjusted Gross Income and who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (a number issued to people who don't have and are not eligible to obtain a social security number)

FTB warned taxpayers that when they receive the state stimulus may depend on when they filed their taxes. For example, if you filed your tax return after April 23 and are eligible for this earlier round of state stimulus, FTB said you can expect your payment up to 45 days later for direct deposit, and up to 60 days later for paper checks.

Haven't filed your taxes yet? Californians can file their state tax returns online for free using FTB’s free CalFile program.  FTB also has a list of tax preparation options, some of which are free.

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