Everything a nonresident needs to know about the Californian ‘Golden State’ Stimulus Checks

Everything a nonresident needs to know about the Californian ‘Golden State’ Stimulus Checks

California has joined fellow states and cities such as Florida, New Orleans, Maine, and Maryland (among others) in providing a financial boost to qualifying residents.

Up to 800,000 Californian residents who meet the requirements will receive as much as $1,100 as part of the Golden State Stimulus Check scheme.

A first round of payments were also delivered earlier in 2021 in order to provide relief to taxpayers who have been affected by the pandemic.

While these checks are designated exclusively for California residents, many nonresidents in the state have received the payments in error.

In this guide, we will take a closer look at the Golden State Stimulus Checks and outline the important steps a nonresident should take if they receive this pandemic payment.

What are the Golden State checks?

The checks were introduced as part of an initiative to help low and middle-income people in California, particularly those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘Golden Gate Stimulus II’ follows on from the ‘Golden Gate Stimulus I’, which began to roll out in January 2021.

Over 800,000 people can expect to receive this payment by 17 December, most in the form of paper checks.

These payments range from $600-$1,100, and so far 3.5 million checks and 3.8 million direct deposits have been sent to qualifying individuals.

Who is entitled to receive this money?

There are a number of factors that enable you to qualify for the second Golden Gate Stimulus.

The second check has broader coverage than the first, some who did not qualify for the first can qualify for the second.

To qualify for this payment, you must have:

  • Filed your 2020 taxes by October 15, 2021
  • Had a California Adjusted Gross Income (CA AGI) of $1 to $75,000 for the tax year of 2020. For this information refer to:
    • Line 17 on Form 540
    • Line 16 on Form 540 2EZ
  • Had wages of between $0 and $75,000 for the tax year of 2020
  • Been a California resident for more than half of the tax year of 2020
  • Been a California resident on the date payment is issued
  • Not been claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer

*A dependent is a qualifying child or qualifying relative. Go to FTB Publication 1540 for more information about a qualifying child and qualifying relative.

There are a number of scenarios that will affect how much you will receive in this payment. These include:

Scenario 1

You qualified for Golden State Stimulus 1 (GSS1)

Claimed a credit for 1 or more dependents

Stimulus amount Golden State Stimulus 2 (GSSII) = $500

Scenario 2

You did not qualify for GSS I

Did not claim a credit for 1 or more dependents

Stimulus amount GSSII = $600

Scenario 3

You did not qualify for GSS I

Claimed a credit for 1 or more dependents

Stimulus amount GSSII = $1,100

Scenario 4

You qualified for GSS I

Did not claim a credit for 1 or more dependents

Stimulus amount GSSII = You do not qualify for GSS II

If you feel that you received it by accident, you should know what to do.

man filing an amended return

I’m a nonresident and I received the Golden State Stimulus Payment. What should I do?

If you received the Golden State Stimulus payment, but you think you received it in error, it is important that you take your time to review the eligibility qualifications that we have outlined to ensure that it is in error.

If you do, however, find that the payment shouldn’t have been made to you, there are a number of things you can do, depending on your situation:

Direct deposits made to you:

In this situation, you should contact the bank you are with and advise that you are rejecting the payment.

Paper checks you have received but you have not cashed:

  1. Make sure the ‘stub’ is still attached to the check – this should be attached to your check, and it details the amount paid
  2. Write a letter of explanation which should include your name and identification number (this will be your SSN or ITIN) and outline that you believe you received the check in error
  3. Mail the check and your explanation letter to:
    ATTN: Golden State Stimulus Fund,
    Franchise Tax Board,
    PO Box 3070,
    Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-3070.

Paper version checks that have not yet been cashed:

  1. Send a check or money order that is payable to the California Franchise Tax Board.
  2. Be sure to state “Erroneous GSS payment” on the check/money order
  3. Write a letter of explanation which should include your name and identification number (this will be your SSN or ITIN) and outline that you believe you received the check in error
  4. Mail your personal check/money order and your explanation letter to:
    ATTN: Golden State Stimulus Fund
    Franchise Tax Board
    PO Box 3070
    Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-3070

The ultimate US tax guide for J-1 participants

How to file an amended tax return

It is a common occurrence that nonresidents accidentally file as residents when they are completing their tax return.

It’s always a good idea to double-check whether you filed correctly on your previous return.

After all, filing incorrectly can lead to complications why applying for a US Visa or Green Card in the future.

The Substantial Presence Test, which determines your tax residency, is easy to do and you can do it for free using Sprintax Returns.

If you discover that you did in fact make an error on your tax return, you will need to amend it as soon as possible and file form 1040X.

It’s easy to amend your tax return online using Sprintax Returns.

Who can help me with my US taxes?

Sprintax Returns!

US tax can be especially confusing for nonresidents who are used to dealing with taxes in their home country.

That’s why our team is happy to help any time.

We can assist you in preparing both Federal and State tax returns and help you claim your maximum legal US tax refund!

You’ll be asked a few straight-forward questions and based on the information you provide, you will then be able to download your fully completed and compliant 1040NR (nonresident tax return).

As well as this, our Live Chat team can assist in any of your tax-related queries 24/7!

Hey I'm Stacy! I'm dealing with US taxes and can't wait to help you prepare your tax return! I've been working with taxes for like forever, so you can totally trust my expertise. Sprintax can make things much easier for you. Check out my blog posts and feel free to ask me any questions.

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