Guide to Claiming the Middle Class Tax Refund: Step-by-Step Instructions

Californians are still unclaimed $125 million in inflation relief payments from the Middle Class Tax Refund initiative, with 624,000 residents not activating their debit cards.

Guide to Claiming the Middle Class Tax Refund: Inflation relief payments amounting to a substantial $125 million remain unclaimed by hundreds of thousands of Californians. 624,000 residents have yet to activate the debit cards that were mailed to them as a component of the Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR) initiative, which sought to alleviate the strain of escalating living expenses, according to an analysis.

From October 2022 to September 2023, the MCTR program provided one-time payments of $200 to $1,050, depending on the circumstances. These funds helped most Californians but excluded the wealthy.

9.6 million Californians received $5.2 billion via prepaid debit cards, while 7.2 million received $4 billion straight into their bank accounts.

Despite these efforts, only 90% of these cards are activated, and 3.5 percent are converted to checks, leaving 624,000 cards and $125 million unclaimed.

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Procedure for Requesting a Middle Class Tax Refund

It is possible for recipients to activate the cards and retrieve their funds by April 30, 2026. They may do so by dialing 1-800-240-0223 to reach the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

Additionally, reminder letters are being sent by the FTB to cardholders who have not yet activated their cards. The above number is valid for card replacements due to loss or theft or for those who fear they have not received their card.

As only 46% of activated cards have zero balances, many still have underused funds. This shows that many recipients have not fully utilized their advantages.

The process of activating an MCTR debit card

Prior to using your MCTR Debit Card, you must call 1.800.240.0223 to activate it. You may set your 4-digit PIN and verify your card balance during this call. Signing the reverse of your card and reviewing the Cardholder Agreement, Fee Schedule, and Transaction Limits are essential.

Visa Debit Cards accept MCTR Debit Cards wherever they are accepted, including over-the-phone, in-store, and online.

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