California taxpayers are about to get gas refunds; here’s what you need to know

A bicycle rider maneuvers around motorists stuck in traffic in downtown Los Angeles
A bicyclist maneuvers around motorists at Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles on June 1, when gasoline neared $8 a gallon at this Chevron station.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The $9.5 billion California tax refund program will provide one-time payments of up to $1,050 for some families.

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After several months of waiting, Californians who qualify for the state’s gas price relief program could begin seeing payments in October.

The $9.5 billion tax refund program will provide one-time payments of up to $1,050 for some families, expected to be sent out between next month and January 2023.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers reached a deal for the refunds in June amid record-setting gas prices and rising costs for other goods.

Newsom had aimed to get the payments out by summer, when gas averaged over $6 per gallon, but debate among lawmakers over who would receive refunds and how much they would receive delayed the program by months.

Now, funds will be received as gas prices continue to tick down closer to the $5 mark. According to AAA, the average price for gas is $5.439 per gallon in California as of Thursday. The average in Santa Cruz County stood at $5.515.

To be eligible, residents must have filed their 2020 tax returns by Oct. 15, 2021, lived in the state for six months or more in 2020 and could not be claimed as a dependent in 2020. Recipients must also be a California resident on the date the payment is issued.

Individuals whose adjusted gross income in 2020 was up to $75,000 will receive a $350 refund, which doubles to $700 for joint filers earning as much as $150,000. Households will receive another $350 if they claimed any dependents, for a maximum of $1,050.

Single filers who earn up to $125,000 will receive $250, doubling to $500 for joint filers earning as much as $250,000. Households with dependents will get an additional $250, making families in this income bracket eligible for as much as $750.

Individuals earning up to $250,000 will get $200, and joint filers with income up to $500,000 will receive $400. Dependents will qualify taxpayers in this bracket for another $200, for a maximum payment of $600.

Individual or separate filers who made $250,000 or more are ineligible, as are heads of household or joint filers making $500,000 or more.

The Franchise Tax Board has launched a “Middle Class Tax Refund Estimator” for residents to check how much money they could be eligible for.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.