How to

How to Cash California Middle Class Tax Refund Debit Card – Orange County Register

So you’re one of the 4.5 million California taxpayers who received a mid-range tax refund debit card.

You may have noticed that there are a few hurdles associated with redeeming the card.

Transaction hurdles, that is.

For review, the state is sending $9.5 billion in inflation-assistance money to about 18 million California taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of less than $500,000. Almost 7 million taxpayers have already received their refund via direct deposit. The state says it has issued 4,516,246 debit cards as of Nov. 25. The remaining 6.53 million payments will reach taxpayers by January 2023, also in the form of a debit card.

The Middle Class Tax Refund debit card must be redeemed at designated ATMs on the network to avoid a transaction fee.  (Courtesy of Money Network)
The Middle Class Tax Refund debit card must be redeemed at designated ATMs on the network to avoid a transaction fee. (Courtesy of Money Network)

The MCTR payment card has some limitations.

For those who put the card in their wallet and use it like any other Visa debit card, there are no fees for the process. For anyone who prefers to withdraw cash from the card and stow it in a bank account or wallet, a few extra steps are required to avoid the above fees.

Related: Tips and answers for incoming debit cards for median income tax refunds

The cards (stamped with a Golden State grizzly bear) are issued by New York Community Bancorp Inc. The toll-free “in-network” ATM providers are not traditional banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo or US Bank. Instead, the ATMs operate under the Allpoint and MoneyPass networks.

Transferring or withdrawing outside of these two networks will cost cardholders a minimum of $1.25 per transaction. Any non-network ATM will likely charge a fee as well. A traditional bank branch or credit union might also charge a fee for an over-the-counter (OTC) transaction. (At least one reader told us that US Bank would not process the MCTR card through the counter.)

To redeem the card, after you’ve activated it and assigned a PIN number (call 1-800-240-0223), you’ll need to go online and find your local ATM on the network. The search site for on-network ATMs is mctrpayment.com.

Using an orange zip code, we found that most of the ATMs on the list were in drugstores or supermarkets. (Think of those little ATMs you see near the entrance of stores designed to help those of us who forgot to bring cash or can’t use a particular credit card, say at Costco.) Next in ours Orange Search was at Walgreens less than a quarter mile from the home office.

Also worth noting, if you get an MCTR of an odd amount, say $350, watch out for machines that don’t dispense $5 or $10 bills. You will receive a credit on your debit card at the end. In that case we’d suggest buying 2 gallons of 87 octane gas (take that, gas rebate) or spend it at the grocery store on overpriced eggs and butter.

Eligible California taxpayers will receive a Mid-Range Tax Refund Debit Card between October and January 2023.  (Courtesy of Money Network)
Eligible California taxpayers will receive a Mid-Range Tax Refund Debit Card between October and January 2023. (Courtesy of Money Network)

Where’s my payment you ask?

We’ve received a number of emails from readers saying they should have received their payments by now. Here’s what most of them had in common: They owed the state money on their 2020 tax returns.

Remember: The Franchise Tax Board uses the 2020 tax returns as the MCTR qualifier. Why not the more recent returns for 2021? Because those tax returns were still being processed this fall when the refund distribution began.

So ask yourself, “Did I owe California 2021 money?” If you did, your payment will come later in the MCTR distribution cycle.

Here is the distribution plan, courtesy of the FTB website:

– Recipients of Golden State Stimulus I or II checks (last name begins with N – V) Nov 20 – Dec 3, 2022

— GSS I or II check recipient (surname beginning with W – Z) 4th-10th December

—Non-GSS recipients (last name starting with A – K) 5th-17th December

—Non-GSS recipients (last name starting with L – Z) 19-31 December

– Direct deposit recipients who have changed their bank details since filing their 2020 tax returns: Dec 17 – Jan 14, 2023.

For those still waiting, consider the state trying to avoid the $20 billion debacle that was an unemployment scam during the pandemic.

“There are limitations on the number of direct deposit and mailed debit cards that can be issued weekly,” Franchise Tax Board spokesman Andrew LePage told CalMatters. “Logistically, it takes time to effectively and accurately deliver approximately 18 million payments to Californians and protect both taxpayers and California.”

Other important things to remember

how much do i get Depending on a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, payments range from $200 for certain high-income individuals to $1,050 for married joint taxpayers with a qualifying dependent.

Loosen: For those who block their phone number from callers, unblock it by dialing (asterisk) *82 before dialing 1-800-240-0223 to activate the MCTR debit card.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button