California stimulus checks: October tax deadline looms for payment eligibility

California

Californians who may be eligible for a Golden State Stimulus II check but haven’t yet filed a 2020 tax return are at risk of missing out on the payment altogether.

But there’s still some time left to file last year’s taxes and qualify for the California stimulus program.

The deadline for potential Golden State Stimulus recipients to file their 2020 tax return is Oct. 15. Because the payment is based on that tax return, people who don’t file submit it on time will not be considered for the payment — even if they meet the qualifying threshold.

Under Golden State Stimulus II (also known as GSS II), eligible Californians will receive a payment of $600, while those who claimed at least one dependent on their 2020 tax return will get an additional $500.

To qualify, residents must have earned between $1 and $75,000 last year (adjusted gross income plus wages), have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and can’t be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.

Social security beneficiaries will not receive the payment if that is their only source of income, according to the state.

For those unsure if they qualify for the program, California has an online tool to help residents determine whether they are eligible and how much they could receive.

Users are prompted to answer a series of questions, including their tax filing status, reported adjusted gross income for 2020 and whether they have any dependents. The tool then projects whether the user is eligible and, if yes, provides an estimated amount.

(The online tool can be accessed here.)

So far, more than 2.5 million payments have been distributed to Californians through direct deposit. The first batch of mailed out checks are estimated to go out as early as Oct. 5, according to the California Franchise Tax Board.

Overall, an estimated two-thirds of the state’s population is expected to benefit from the payments.

The California tax agency has a schedule of estimated payment dates on its website, although it notes that people who filed or file their taxes after Sept. 1 can expect a delay of up to 45 days for direct deposit and up to 60 days for mailed checks.

In addition to being the deadline for Golden State Stimulus II eligibility, Oct. 15 is also the date the IRS set for people who previously asked for an extension on their taxes to file a 2020 return.

Those who sought the later tax payment date should do so on or before Oct. 15, or else they face a penalty, according to the IRS.

Some federal taxpayers may receive another extension, however: specifically military members and others serving in combat zones, and residents who already had a valid extension and live in a federally declared disaster area.

For those who are due a refund, there usually isn’t a penalty for not filing; however, that individual could lose out on the funds if they wait too long to file and claim the payment, the IRS warns.

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