California Earned Income Tax Credit



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California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)

Former 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.

What is the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC)?

  • 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.
  • In 2018, more than 1.4 million people claimed the credit, totaling nearly $400 million.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for the CalEITC if:

  • You have earned income within certain limits (see chart below), AND
  • You, your spouse, and any qualifying children each have a social security number (SSN), AND
  • You do not use the “married/RDP filing separate” filing status, AND
  • You lived in California for more than half the tax year
  • You must be 18 or older at the end of the tax year


Review the chart below to see if you may be eligible and how much you may qualify for when filing your 2018 tax return.

# of Children

Maximum Income CalEITC* Federal EITC*
None $16,750 $232 $519
1 $24,950 $1,554 $3,461
2 $24,950 $2,559 $5,716
3 or more $24,950 $2,879 $6,431

*Up to

Use CalEITC4me’s Calculator for more exact results by clicking here.

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.

Impact Statement

To help 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.


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