FAQs

Top questions about the Earned Income Tax Credit.

If you’re 18 or older, or have a qualifying dependent (even if you are under age 18), and you made less than $30,000 in 2020, you may qualify for the CalEITC when you file your state tax return. 

For the first time, Californians who file their taxes with an ITIN -- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number -- including undocumented Californians, can qualify for the CalEITC and YCTC. Learn more here.

Use our free CalEITC4Me calculator to find out if you are eligible and to estimate the amount of your credit.

If you are eligible for the CalEITC and you have a child who is under 6 years old as of December 31, 2020, then you qualify for the Young Child Tax Credit. The YCTC amount is up to $1000.

California is supporting low-income residents with a one-time payment of $600 to everyone who claims the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) during the 2020 tax season. There is an additional $600 payment available to people who filed their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and made $75,000 or less in 2020.

If you earned under $30,001 in 2020, you likely qualify for the Golden State Stimulus. Find if you qualify for the CalEITC here. Make sure to claim the CalEITC this tax season to receive your payment. That’s all you need to do!

If you file taxes with an ITIN and you earned $75,000 or less in 2020, you can receive a $600 payment, even if you don’t qualify for the CalEITC. 

If you file taxes with an ITIN and qualify for the CalEITC, you can receive a one-time payment of $1200. Learn more about claiming the CalEITC as an ITIN holder.

Learn more about the GSS here.

Yes! If you earned income in 2020, you must file your 2020 tax returns by October 15, 2021 to ensure you receive your payment.

  • You qualify for a $1,400 stimulus check if you earned up to $75,000 in 2020 ($150,000 if married and filing jointly).
  • If you earned up to $80,000 in 2020 ($160,000 if married and filing jointly), you will be eligible for a reduced check. 
  • Each dependent on your tax return also qualifies for $1,400. 
  • Citizen spouses and children living in mixed-status families are also eligible.

Learn more here.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides a third round of stimulus checks to help people impacted by the pandemic recession. It includes direct financial relief for Americans including:

  • A $1,400 stimulus check for Americans earning up to $75,000 a year (up to $150,000 a year if married).
  • An additional $1,400 for each dependent claimed on your taxes. 
  • An expanded federal Child Tax Credit of $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under age 6. This amount will be paid in installments of up to $300 a month for at least one year beginning as soon as July. 
  • An expanded federal Earned Income Tax credit (EITC)

If you received unemployment benefits and less than $150,000 in 2020, the first $10,200 in unemployment payments are now nontaxable on your federal taxes. 

Note: Unlike California’s Golden State Stimulus [link], only people and dependents with Social Security numbers will qualify for federal relief. 

The ARPA also includes additional funding and tax credits for small businesses, rental assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the WIC program.

Yes, it’s not too late to file your 2019 tax return. Taxpayers who are due to receive a refund won’t face a penalty for filing after the deadline, which was July 15, 2020. In fact, if you haven’t filed returns for 2018 or 2017*, you can still file and collect a refund for up to three years after the filing deadline of that tax year. You can find resources to file now for free online here.

*You have until April 17, 2021 date to file your 2017 taxes.

ITIN -- Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers -- holders are not eligible for the federal EITC - however ITIN filers are eligible for the CalEITC credit for the first time ever. Learn more here.

If you file your taxes with a Social Security Number, in most cases, you will be eligible for the federal EITC if you are eligible for the CalEITC. If you are between the ages of 25 and 65, are single and have no dependents, you must make less than $15,820 to qualify for the federal EITC. 

If you are married filing jointly, are between the ages of 25 and 65, and have no dependents, you must make $21,710 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. 

Learn more about the Federal EITC here.

Yes! 1099 income counts for  the federal EITC, the CalEITC, and the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC). Read more about it here.

Join our mailing list or use our Free Tax Prep Finder tool to find free tax preparation services near you.

To protect yourself from fraud and to file your taxes for FREE, you can get your taxes done at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location by a certified tax preparer. 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 and to receive 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 household incomes up to $57,000, people with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers.

No! Claiming tax credits will not affect any of the other public benefits you might receive. Tax credits, like the CalEITC and EITC, are not considered public benefits under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public charge rule. Read more about public benefits.

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.

Below are the documents you need to when you file your tax returns:

  • Proof of income including W-2s and 1099
  • Documentation for deductible expenses
  • Government Identification
  • Social Security Card for each family member or ITIN - Individual Tax Identification Number
  • Account and routing numbers for checking or savings accounts to quickly direct deposit your refund
  • Health Insurance Marketplace Statement (1095-A, B, and/or C)
  • Copy of 2019 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 or an ITIN - Individual Tax Identification Number - when claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Eligibility requirements change each year, so it’s worth checking your eligibility when you file your tax returns each year.

No. If your parents claim you as a dependent, you are not 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.

The American Rescue Plan act made changes to the credit for 2021. 

  • You qualify for the federal child tax credit if you have a child, both you and your child have a Social Security number, and you made less than $200,000 a year ($400,000 if married and filing jointly). 
  • If your child is under 6, you qualify for a tax credit of up to $3600.
  • If your child is between 6 and 17, you  qualify for a tax credit of up to $3,000. 
  • If you earn over $75,000 a year ($150,000 if married and filing jointly), you will receive a smaller credit of $2,000 per child. 
  • Parents who have no income also qualify.