Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) are tax credits for working people who have earned a low to moderate income. You may be eligible to receive a cash refund or reduce the amount of tax you owe.
There are two EITCs: the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The amount of CalEITC you get depends on your income and family size.
You may qualify for the CalEITC if:
- You’re at least 18 years old or have a qualifying child
- You have earned income of $30,000 or less
- Parents may qualify for other credits, too, such as the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC).
- ITIN holders only qualify for the CalEITC and the California Young Child Tax Credit.
- ITIN parents can claim the federal Child Tax Credit for citizen children.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for working people who have earned a low-to-moderate income. Unlike the CalEITC, only people with Social Security numbers qualify. If you qualify, you may see a reduced tax bill or a bigger refund. That’s more money in your pocket to pay for the things you need.
You can claim the credit whether you’re single or married, or have children or not. The main requirement is that you must earn money from a job.
You qualify for the federal EITC if:
- You (or your spouse if filing a joint return) are at least 19 or over
- You (or your spouse if filing a joint return) and any qualifying children have a Social Security number; AND
- You (and your spouse if filing a joint return) have your main home in the United States for more than half of the tax year; AND
- You (and your spouse if filing a joint return) cannot be claimed as a dependent or qualifying child on anyone else’s return; AND
- You are not married filing separately; AND
- Your tax year investment income is $10,000 or less; AND
- You earned at least $1 of income and no more than:
The Earned Income Tax Credit in Tax Year 2021
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 refundable credit. Review the chart below to see if you may be eligible and how much you may have qualified for in 2020.
Temporary Expansions to the EITC for Tax Year 2021 Only
There are two key temporary EITC expansions.
- If You Have No Qualifying Children: You may qualify for the EITC if you are 19 years old or older and not a student. There are two exceptions: If you are a student, you must be at least 24 years old to claim the EITC. If you are a qualified homeless youth or a qualified former foster youth, you are eligible for the EITC if you are at least 18 years old.
- If Your 2021 Income is Lower Than Your 2019 Income: If your income in 2021 is less than your 2019 income, you can use your 2019 earned income to calculate your EITC. Choose the year that gives you the bigger refund. If you are married filing jointly, the total earned 2019 income refers to the sum of each spouse’s earned income in 2019.
- The federal EITC has special rules for military members, clergy, and some people with disabilities.
- Tax credits like the CalEITC and EITC are not considered public benefits under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Learn more about the federal EITC here.