Take Advantage of the California Earned Income Tax Credit

We are in the middle of tax season with the deadline of Monday, April 18th fast approaching! There are two important tax credits that all California working families should be aware of: the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and the Young Child Tax Credit. These credits, in addition to the federal (EITC), can actually give eligible families thousands of dollars back when they file their tax return.

To simplify these credits, we’ve provided answers to some of the most asked questions. We’ve also provided recommend websites with free tax filing options.

What is the California Earned Income Tax Credit?

The CalEITC is a credit that refunds or reduces the taxes owed by those 18 and up who earned an income within a specific range in 2021.  The Young Child Tax Credit is for folks who qualify for the CalEITC and have a child under the age of 6.

Qualifications for the Cal EITC and Young Child Tax Credit?

You are eligible if you:

  • Earned less than $30,000 in 2020
  • Lived in California for at least half of the year (2020)
  • You or your husband/partner/wife get paid in cash or are self-employed. (If married, please make sure you do not file “married filing separately”.)
  • File your taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Have a child under 6 for the Young Child Tax Credit
  • Important note: The child must be the filer’s child or step-child, have lived in the same residence for 6 months, and cannot be claimed as anyone else’s dependent.

Even if your employment status changed in 2021, you may still be eligible for cash-back credits!

What is an ITIN?

An ITIN is a number issued by the IRS so people working in the U.S. can file a federal tax return, or Social Security Number (SSN). Families can qualify for these tax credits regardless of immigration status. When you file, your information is protected. The IRS cannot share your information or immigration status with other agencies.

How much money could I get from the EITC?

You could get hundreds or even thousands back! Because the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit are in addition to the federal tax credit, families can receive on average around $3,000. Some families could receive as much as $8,000.

What documents do I need when filing for the credits?

Proof of income may be shown through W-2 wages, self-employment, salaries or tips.

The following documents do not qualify as proof of income: social security, unemployment benefits, alimony or child support, interest and dividends, any pay received as an inmate in a penal institution.

This information was provided by the First 5 Association of California and the California Franchise Tax Board.

Need more information about the CalEITC?

Head over to www.myfreetaxes.org to plug your information into the tax calculator for an estimate of how much you may get back and/or to file your taxes safely and for free.

Text the word “taxes” to 211-211

Visit the tax calculator for the federal EITC here

Scroll to Top