Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature created the first-ever California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). California joins 24 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting a state EITC to supplement the federal EITC.

  • CalEITC is a cash back tax credit that puts money back into the pockets of California’s working families and individuals.
  • In its first year, CalEITC boosted the income of about 385,000 families, who shared almost $200 million from the cash-back credit.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for the CalEITC if you have earned income within certain limits:

  • Eligible sources of earned income are from: W-2 wages, salaries, self-reported income, tips or other employee compensation subject to California withholding.
  • Your investment income, such as interest, dividends, royalties, and capital gains cannot exceed $3,400 for the entire tax year.

You, your spouse, and any qualifying children each have a social security number (SSN).

Child/Children must meet three criteria:        

  1. Relationship – Is the taxpayer’s child or stepchild (whether by blood or adoption), foster child, sibling or stepsibling, 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 – 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.

The child only qualifies for one return. If the child can be claimed by more than one taxpayer, the child’s qualification goes to:

  • The parent
  • If more than 1 taxpayer is the child’s parent, the one with whom the child lived for the longest time during the year, or if the time was equal, the parent with the highest adjusted gross income (AGI).
  • If no taxpayer is the child’s parent, the taxpayer with the highest AGI.
  • You do not use the “married/RDP filing separate” filing status, AND
  • You lived in California for more than half the tax year

Review the chart below to see if you may be eligible and how much you may qualify for when filing your 2017 tax return.

Number of Children Maximum Income CalEITC* Federal EITC*
None $15,008 $223 $510
1 $22,322 $1,495 $3,400
2 $22,309 $2,467 $5,616
3 or more $22,302 $2,775 $6,318

*Up to

Use our EITC Calculator for more exact results by clicking here.

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 cash-back credit. Click here to learn how.

But first, review the chart below to see if you may be eligible and how much you may qualify have qualified for in 2016.

Number of Children Maximum Income CalEITC* Federal EITC*
None $6,717 $217 $506
1 $10,087 $1,452 $3,373
2 $14,161 $2,406 $5,572
3 or more $14,161 $2,706 $6,269

*Up to

How will the CalEITC and the federal EITC work together?

  • Both credits will be available this tax season and may provide you with a refund or reduce the amount of money you might owe.
  • Californians that qualify for the CalEITC will likely also qualify for the federal EITC. This will significantly boost household income for eligible families and individuals.
  • Not eligible for the CalEITC? Check out the federal EITC.

How will Californians benefit from the state credit?

Working families have the chance to get ahead. Studies show that young children in households that receive the EITC do better in school, are more likely to attend college and earn more, brightening the future of the next generation.

Struggling families living paycheck to paycheck will have funds to start a savings account, purchase a used car, catch-up on bills, or invest in education.