What is the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)?
- CalEITC is a cash back tax credit that puts money back into the pockets of California’s working families and individuals.
- In its first year, CalEITC boosted the income of about 385,000 families, who shared almost $200 million from the cash-back credit.
- In 2019, more than 2 million people claimed the credit, totaling nearly $400 million.
Am I eligible?
You may be eligible for the CalEITC if:
- You are 18 years or older, AND
- You have earned income within certain limits, AND
- You, your spouse, and any qualifying children each have a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), AND
- You do not use the “married/RDP filing separate” filing status, AND
- You lived in California for more than half the tax year
Use the CAL EITC CALCULATOR so see how much you may be eligible for!
Was I eligible last year?
Did you know you can amend tax returns up to three years back if you find out you are eligible for tax credits you didn’t originally claim? Good news, you can still get this cash-back credit. Click here to learn how.
|Number of Qualifying Children||CA Maximum Income*||CalEITC (up to)**||Federal EITC (up to)**|
|3 or more||$30,000||$3,027||$6,660|
Use the EITC Calculator for more exact results by clicking here.
|Number of Children||CA Maximum Income||CalEITC (up to)*||Federal EITC (up to)*|
|3 or more||$30,000||$2,982||$6,557|
Top Questions About the Earned Income Tax Credit
If you’re 18 or older, or have a qualifying dependent, and you made less than $30,000 in 2020, you will qualify for the CalEITC when you file your state tax return. Use the free CalEITC4Me calculator to find out how much money you could get back.
Between the CalEITC, the federal EITC, and the Young Child Tax Credit the most a family could receive is $8,053.
If you are eligible for the CalEITC and you have a child under age 6 as of Dec. 31 2019, then you qualify for the Young Child Tax Credit, which could mean up to an additioanl $1,000 in your refund.
In most cases, yes. If you are single and have no dependents and are between the ages of 18 and 65, you must make $15,570 or less to qualify for the federal EITC. If you are married filing jointly, are between the ages of 18 and 65, and have no dependents, you must make $21,370 or less to qualify for the federal EITC.
If you have dependents and qualify for the CalEITC, you will also qualify for the federal EITC.
Yes! 1099 income counts for both the federal EITC, the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit.
A qualifying child or dependent must meet three criteria:
- Relationship – They must be the taxpayer’s child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or step sibling, or a descendant of any of them.
- Residence – Has the same principal residence as the taxpayer in California for more than half the tax year. Certain exceptions apply.
- Age – They must be younger than the taxpayer and either a) under the age of 19 at the end of the tax year, or b) under the age of 24 if a full-time student for at least 5 months of the year. A permanently and totally disabled child may be included at any age.
The child only qualifies for one return. If the child can be claimed by more than one taxpayer, the child’s qualification goes to:
- The taxpayer who is the child’s parent.
- If more than one taxpayer is the child’s parent, the child’s qualification goes to the parent with whom the child lived for the greatest amount of time during the year. If the child’s time was split equally between parents, the child’s qualification goes to the parent with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI).
- If no taxpayer is the child’s parent, the child’s qualification goes to the taxpayer with the highest AGI.
The federal income tax filing deadline is typically April 15. However, the CalEITC can be claimed throughout the year, so it’s never too late to file an income tax return and claim your refund.
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To protect yourself from fraud and to file your taxes for FREE you should get your taxes done at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location for free. VITA services begin February 1st, and you can use our free tax preparation locator to find a site near you.
If you qualify for the EITC, you are eligible to file for free, no-cost in-person tax help through the VITA program. Even if you aren’t eligible for the EITC, VITA is available for people with incomes up to $56,000.
No! Claiming tax credits will not affect any of the other public benefits you might use.
Yes! A criminal history does not impact your ability to claim the EITC, CalEITC or Young Child Tax Credit.
If you want to claim your EITC, you must file your tax returns. The federal EITC lowers the amount of federal taxes you may owe. By claiming the federal EITC, you could reduce what you owe in federal taxes.
Below are the documents you need to when you file your tax returns:
- Proof of income including W-2s and 1099
- Documentation of deductible expenses
- Form of Government Identification
- Social Security Card for each family member
- Account and routing numbers for checking or savings accounts for direct deposit and a faster refund
- Health Insurance Marketplace Statement (1095-A, B, and/or C)
- Copy of last year’s tax returns, if available
Yes! You’re still eligible for both the federal EITC, the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit.
If you participate in DACA and applied for a Social Security Number that allows you to work, you can use that number when claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Eligibility requirements change each year so it’s worth checking your eligibility before you file your tax returns each year.
No. If your parents claim you as a dependent, you won’t be eligible for the EITC.
Yes! You qualify. If you are age 65 or younger, do not have any dependents, and meet the income requirements, you are eligible. If you have dependents and meet the income requirements, your age is not a factor in eligibility.
The only way to get the federal and/or state EITC is to file your tax returns. So yes, you need to file your taxes to get the EITC.
For more information visit CalEITC4Me.org
Get Support Filing Your Taxes
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer programs provide free assistance to individuals who need help in completing federal and state income tax returns for FREE.
Schedule an appointment with an IRS-certified volunteer tax preparer at your local VITA site who can work directly with you to file your 2020 Federal and California state income tax returns. Assistance is generally available from February 1 through April 15th. Services are available in multiple languages.
The VITA program specializes in assisting those with low to limited income, and non-English speaking taxpayers.
Filing locations to be updated when available.
Can’t find a site in your area and earned $66,000 or less? File your taxes for free at www.myfreetaxes.org!
The TCE program provides free income tax assistance for middle- or low-income taxpayers, giving special attention to those aged 60 and older.
To find a local TCE site, visit AARP’S Tax-Aide Locator.