California Earned Income Tax Credit

For the third year in a row, California is offering an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working low-income families and individuals. This year, the eligibility thresholds were lowered so that more people could qualify.

If you qualify for the CA EITC and the amount of the credit is greater than the tax you owe, you will receive a refund.

The credit is available to California households with adjusted gross incomes of up to $15,008 if there are no qualifying children, up to $22,322 if there is one qualifying child, up to $22,309 if there are two qualifying children, and up to $22,302 if there are three or more qualifying children.

Qualifications

  • You must file a state tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not otherwise required to file.
  • You must have earned income from W-2 wages, salaries, tips, or other employee compensation subject to California withholding. (For the CA EITC, earned income does not include income from self-employment.)
  • You, your spouse, and any qualifying children must each have a social security number issued by the Social Security Administration that is valid for employment.
  • You must file using the single, married/registered domestic partner (RDP) filing jointly, or head of household filing status. The "married/RDP filing separately" status may not be used.
  • You must either:
    • Meet the rules for those without a qualifying child ; or
    • Have an individual that meets all of the qualifying child rules for you or your spouse if you file a joint return.
  • Your principal residence must be in California for more than half the tax year.
    • Both your adjusted gross income and earned income (defined above) must be no more than:
    • $15,008 if there are no qualifying children
    • $22,322 if there is one qualifying child.
    • $22,309 if there are two or more qualifying children.
    • $22,302 if there are three or more qualifying children.

Free help is also available at free tax return prep sites around the state, beginning in late January and running through Tax Day in April. Find a free tax prep location near you at CalEITC4Me.org.

If you filed your 2015 and 2016 state returns and think you may qualify for CalEITC, you may amend your return. Consider contacting your professional tax preparer, or follow these instructions (20152016) to fill out a Form 540X (20152016) and Form 3514 (20152016) to claim the credit.