Frequently Asked Questions
Earned Income Tax Credit
& Young Child Tax Credit
Am I eligible for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)?
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.
Am I eligible for the California Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC)?
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.
I work two jobs and get Form 1099s to report my income—does that count?
Yes. 1099 income counts for the federal EITC, the CalEITC, and the Young Child Tax Credit. Read more about eligibility here.
Will my benefits (such as CalWorks, CalFresh, or disability) count as income?
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.
Will I still qualify for this credit if I have any prior convictions on my record?
Yes. A criminal history does not impact your ability to claim the EITC, CalEITC, or Young Child Tax Credit.
Should I file for the credit even if I have not filed my tax returns for many years and likely owe back taxes?
If you want to claim your EITC, you must file your tax returns.
What documents do I need to file?
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
If I have both 1099 and W-2 income, am I still eligible?
Yes. You’re still eligible for both the federal EITC, the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit.
If I am DACA protected, am I eligible for the EITC?
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.
I applied to get the federal credit last year and was not eligible. How will I know if I am eligible now?
Eligibility requirements change each year, so it’s worth checking your eligibility when you file your tax returns each year.
If I am a student and my parents claim me as a dependent on their taxes, am I eligible for the EITC?
No. If your parents claim you as a dependent, you are not eligible for the EITC.
I am a senior and meet the income threshold; do I qualify 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.
If I’m not required to file my tax returns because I am under the income threshold, do I need to file now to get the EITC?
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.
Do I qualify for the federal child tax credit?
You qualify for the federal child tax credit if you have a child, both you and your child have a Social Security number, and you made less than $200,000 a year ($400,000 if married and filing jointly). If your child is under 6, you qualify for a tax credit of up to $3600. If your child is between 6 and 17, you qualify for a tax credit of up to $3,000. If you earn over $75,000 a year ($150,000 if married and filing jointly), you will receive a smaller credit of $2,000 per child. Parents who have no income also qualify.
Federal Child Tax Credit
What is the Child Tax Credit?
The Child Tax Credit is a tax benefit to help families who are raising children
How will the Child Tax Credit give me more help this year?
The American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, expanded the Child Tax Credit for 2021 to get more help to more families.
- It has gone from $2,000 per child in 2020 to $3,600 for each child under age 6.
- For each child ages 6 to 16, it’s increased from $2,000 to $3,000.
- It also now makes 17-year-olds eligible for the $3,000 credit.
- Previously, low-income families did not get the same amount or any of the Child Tax Credit. Under the American Rescue Plan, all families in need will get the full amount.
- To get money to families sooner, the IRS began sending monthly payments (up to half of your total amount) this year, starting in July.
- It is broken up into monthly payments, which means payments of up to $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child ages 6 to 17.
- You’ll get the remainder of the credit when you file your taxes next year.
Will I keep getting the expanded credit amounts and the advance payments next year?
The American Rescue Plan enacted these historic changes to the Child Tax Credit for 2021 only. That is why President Biden and many others strongly believe that we should extend the increased Child Tax Credit for years and years to come. President Biden proposes that in his Build Back Better agenda.
When is the deadline to sign up for Child Tax Credit payments?
The deadline to sign up for monthly Child Tax Credit payments this year was November 15. If you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit but did not sign up for monthly payments by the November 15 deadline, you can still claim the full credit of up to $3,600 per child by filing your taxes next year.
Do I qualify for the Child Tax Credit?
Nearly all families with kids qualify. Some income limitations apply. For example, only couples making less than $150,000 and single parents (also called Head of Household) making less than $112,500 will qualify for the additional 2021 Child Tax Credit amounts. Families with high incomes may receive a smaller credit or may not qualify for any credit at all. For more detail on the phase-outs for higher income families, see “How much will I receive in Child Tax Credit payments?”
If you have any questions about your unique circumstances, visit irs.gov/childtaxcredit2021.
I received the Child Tax Credit for a child on my 2020 taxes (filed in 2021), but they no longer live with me. What should I do?
If you will not be eligible to claim the Child Tax Credit on your 2021 return (the one due in April of 2022), then you should go to the IRS website to opt out of receiving monthly payments using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal. Receiving monthly payments now could mean that you have to return those payments when you file your tax return next year. If things change again and you are entitled to the Child Tax Credit for 2021, you can claim the full amount on your tax return when you file next year.
If you have any questions about your unique circumstances, you should visit irs.gov/childtaxcredit2021.
What is CHILD CTC?
Deposits for the Child Tax Credit are labeled as CHILDCTC in your bank account. Read more about CHILDCTC.
I haven’t filed taxes in a while. How can I receive this benefit?
You may be eligible for Child Tax Credit payments even if you have not filed taxes recently. Not everyone is required to file taxes. While the deadline to sign up for monthly Child Tax Credit payments this year was November 15, you can still claim the full credit of up to $3,600 per child by filing a tax return next year.
If I sign up for the Child Tax Credit, will it affect my other government benefits (like SSI, SNAP, TANF, or WIC)?
No. Receiving Child Tax Credit payments is not considered income for any family. Therefore, it will not change the amount you receive in other Federal benefits. These Federal benefits include unemployment insurance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, SSDI, TANF, WIC, Section 8, or Public Housing.
How do I apply for public assistance benefits?
Applications for public assistance programs are processed by your county social services/human services agency. You may request an application for public assistance benefits from your local county social services/human services agency by phone, in person, by fax or by mail. You can locate the address and telephone number for your county social services/human services agency here.
It is possible to download and complete an application for public assistance from the California Department of Social Services website. However, you must return the application either in person or by mail to the appropriate county office. Certain counties in California are now accepting public assistance applications online. To see which counties accept public assistance applications online, please visit the C4Yourself website.
How do I check the status of my public assistance application/case?
The California Department of Social Services does not process public assistance applications or maintain case file information. If you would like to check the status of your application and/or case, please contact your county social services/human services agency for further assistance. You can locate the address and telephone number for your county social services/human services agency here.
When will I receive my public assistance benefits?
Under the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program, benefits are paid between the first and third calendar days of the month.
Under the CalFresh Program, benefits are available on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card based on the last digit of the individual’s county case number. For example, if a case number ends in the number “5,” the day the benefits are available on the EBT card is the 5th day of each month.
For further information regarding the status of your benefits, please contact your local county social services/human services agency. You can locate the address and telephone number for your county social services/human services agency here.
What kind of food can I purchase with my CalFresh benefits?
Households CAN use CalFresh benefits to buy:
- Foods for the household to eat, such as:
- Bread and cereals
- Fruit and vegetables
- Meat, fish and poultry; and
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
Households CANNOT use CalFresh benefits to buy:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Any nonfood items, such as
- Pet foods;
- Soaps, paper products; and
- Household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods
How long will it take for my application for CalFresh benefits to be approved?
The county social services/human services agencies shall provide eligible households that complete the initial application process an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but not later than 30 calendar days following the date the application was filed as stated in the CalFresh Manual of Policies and Procedures, Division 63, Section 63-300 through 63-301.
However, in emergency situations a person/household may receive Expedited CalFresh benefits no later than the 3rd calendar day following the date the application is filed (Saturday and Sunday are considered 1 day). If you would like to discuss the CalFresh Program in more detail with program staff and/or to find out how to apply for benefits, please contact your county office. You can locate the address and telephone number for your county social services/human services agency here.
Can bottle deposits (CRV) be paid with EBT food benefits?
EBT food benefits can cover the entire cost of items such as eligible drinks in returnable bottles, where the price includes a specific bottle deposit. This is true even if the deposit is not included in the shelf price. CRV is payable with EBT food benefits.
No Social Security number? No problem! California expanded access to the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) beginning in the 2020 tax year to filers with an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) including undocumented workers. ITIN holders may now qualify for the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC).
The amount of your refundable tax credit depends on your income and the size of your family.
- Individuals can get up to $243.
- If you have any children or dependents, you can get more. If you have one child, you can get up to $1,626. Larger families qualify for more.
- If your children are younger than 6 years old, you may get up to an additional $1,000 from the Young Child Tax Credit.
Note: Tax credits, like the CalEITC and EITC, are not considered public benefits under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public charge rule.
If you do not yet have an ITIN or need to renew one, the procedure for requesting or renewing an ITIN is:
- Complete Form W-7: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-7
- Provide original supporting documentation to establish identity
- Include the completed Form W-7 with the U.S. Tax Return and mail to:
Internal Revenue Service ITIN Operation
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
For assistance with completing the W-7 ITIN form along with your tax return, find a Free Tax Preparation provider near you.