FAQs

Top questions about the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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.

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.

The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) are state tax credits for working Californians. If you qualify, you may see a reduced tax bill or a bigger refund.

The amount of the credit varies based on income and family size. Use our free calculator to find out how much you are eligible for.

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.

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.

A qualifying child or dependent must meet three criteria:

  1. 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.
  2. Residence – Has the same principal residence as the taxpayer in California for more than half the tax year. Certain exceptions apply.
  3. 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.

A child only qualifies for one return. If a 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.

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.