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Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Claim your Refund

The Federal and California Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) are special tax breaks for people who work part time or full time. This means extra cash in your pocket. If you have work income, you can file and claim your EITC refunds, even if you donít owe any income tax. Claiming your EITC is easy. Just file your state and/ or federal tax returns. Be sure to check both state and federal eligibility requirements.

FEDERAL EITC

Federal EITC requires filing of your federal return (form 1040EZ, 1040 or 1040A and Schedule Earned Income Credit). You can also file amended returns for three years back if you did not claim your EITC or CTC in prior years. There is no late filing penalty if you do not owe any tax in the prior year.

Federal Qualifying Chart
Number of
Qualifying
Children
Single, Head
of Household
or Widowed
Married
Jointly
Filing
Federal EITC
Maximum
Credits
None $14,820 $20,330 $503
1 $39,131 $44,651 $3,359
2 $44,454 $49,974 $5,548
3 or more $47,747 $53,267 $6,242

The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is for families with earned income. They may get up to $1,000 for each qualifying child under age 17. See your tax instructions and get Form 1040 or 1040A and Schedule 8812 .

IRS Update: Legalized same-sex couple marriages are recognized and will be treated as married for federal tax purposes (Revenue Ruling 2013-17). The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor including: filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming EITC or CTC. For more information, please visit www.irs.gov and see Publication 555.

CALIFORNIA EITC

California EITC requires filing of your state return (form 540 2EZ or 540) and having earned income reported on a W-2 form (i.e. wages, salaries, and tips) subject to California withholding. Self-employment income cannot be used to qualify for state credit.

California Qualifying Chart
Number of
Qualifying
Children
State EITC
Income
Limits
State EITC
Maximum
Credits
None $6,580 $214
1 $9,880 $1,428
2 $13,870 $2,358
3 or more $13,870 $2,653

The EITC refunds are not counted as income when your CalWorks, CalFresh or Medi-Cal benefits are calculated. For more details, please contact your eligibility worker.

Free resources to help you file your tax return

  • EITC Brochure in Spanish/English: This printable brochure provides information about the Federal and California Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) along with the eligibility requirements.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): For more information about the Federal EITC, please visit the EITC web site†or call 1-800-829-1040.
  • Franchise Tax Board (FTB): File your state tax return directly to FTB for free with CalFile . For more information, please contact FTB at 1-800-852-5711 or visit†the FTB web site.
  • WeConnect: Provides information about health (health care enrollment, local health centers and mental health), money, jobs, food, housing, taxes, education, and immigrant resources - a one-stop-shop connecting individuals and families to programs and services for which they may be eligible. Please visit the WeConnect web site.†
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): The VITA program offers free tax preparation help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. For more information, please visit the IRS Get Free Tax Prep Help web site†or call 1-800-906-9887.