Earned Income Tax Credits

The United States federal income tax credit or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit for low-to-moderate income working individuals and couples, particularly those with children. It is the largest anti-poverty cash assistance program in the United States and may drastically improve health, particularly the health of single mothers and children. The amount of EITC benefits depends on a recipient’s income and number of children you may have. There are four different types of credits that you may qualify for. Read more about available tax credits below:

Federal EITC

Individuals and families with incomes up to $63,398 with a valid Social Security number may be eligible for up to $7,430 for families and $600 for workers without children. Individuals 19 or older or have a qualifying child may be eligible for this credit too.

California Tax Credit

California workers and families who earn less than $30,950 and file their taxes may qualify for up to $3,529 if you have children, and up to $285 for workers without children. Individuals at least 18 years older over or have a qualifying child are eligible. Filers with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) may qualify too. 

Child Tax Credit

The American Rescue Plan significantly increased the amount of Child Tax Credit a family could receive for 2023. Families with children 17 and younger may be eligible to receive up to $1,117 per child when you file your taxes. 

Young Child Tax Credit

California families who earn less than $30,950 and have at least one child under 6 may qualify for up to $1,117 when you file your taxes. Tax filers with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) may qualify too. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What qualifies as income according to EITC eligibility guidelines?

    To qualify for EITC, you must have one of the following:​

    • Income from wages, salary, or tips; or
    • Money from self-employment; or
    • Benefits from a union strike; or
    • Disability benefits or combat pay which includes all military pay—including wages earned as well as any reenlistment or other bonuses, etc.
  • What determines the credit amount I qualify for?

    Your eligibility is determined by your income and family size. 

    There are two EITCs: the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Parents may qualify for other credits, too, such as the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC). 

    Check your eligibility by visiting: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eitc.

  • Do you only qualify for EITC if you have children? What if they aren't your own children, but you are their primary guardian?

    No, you can still qualify for EITC with or without children. A child qualifies for EITC if they meet all four of the following requirements:

    • Relationship – Child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child or foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepsister or stepbrother, grandchild, and niece or nephew; and
    • Residency –Child must live in the same home as you in the United States for more than half of the tax year; and
    • Age- Child is under age 24 and a full-time student and younger than the taxpayer (or spouse if filing jointing), or any age and permanently and totally disabled
    • Joint return tests - If your child can file a joint return with another person (for example, their husband or wife), you may not be able to claim them.
  • If you're not an American citizen, can you still receive money back from the EITC?

    You may be eligible for EITC even if you're not a U.S. citizen. 

    If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you can also get an income boost through EITC when you file your taxes. If you don’t have an SSN and your child/children do, you could get a Child Tax Credit worth up to $3,600 per child. In this case, you will need to file your tax return with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN is a number from the IRS that is given to individuals who do not have, and or are not eligible to obtain an SSN to file their taxes. With ITIN you can qualify for CalEITC, a separate tax credit, that is open to individuals without an SSN. 

  • Does EITC affect my other public benefits?

    Generally, EITC has no effect on most public benefits and is not used to determine eligibility. 

    If you apply for or get benefits or assistance using a program that uses federal funds, the refund you get when you claim the EITC does not count as income. 

  • How do you claim the credits that you are eligible for?

    You need to file your taxes by Monday, June 17, 2024, to claim your credits.

    If it is your first-time filing taxes and you would like help filling out forms, there are FREE resources and volunteers who can assist you! Learn more at myfreetaxes.org

  • What should I bring to my tax preparation appointment?

    You should bring:

    • Photo ID 
    • Social Security Card or ITIN for yourself and any dependents
    • Income documents including any W2s or 1099s
    • Bank account information for direct deposit
    • School tuition or student loan interest statements
    • Dates and proof of health coverage for yourself and any dependents
  • How can I become a volunteer tax preparer?

    The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program provides free tax-preparation services for households with low to moderate incomes.


    • Help low-income families avoid expensive tax preparation fees
    • Learn a new and useful skill to add to your resume
    • Training materials and class training are provided to ensure you are ready to volunteer
    • Tax Preparation Volunteer
    • Program Intake and Support Volunteer

    Volunteer opportunities are available 7 days a week, throughout San Diego County at various times. Email volunteer@dreamsforchange.org or call 619-497-0236 to learn more. 

EITC Educational Materials

Additional Resources

Brought to you by the San Diego County EITC Coalition

The EITC Coalition is anchored by a partnership among United Way of San Diego County, 211 San Diego, the IRS and the County of San Diego. Its partner organizations and providers provide a clear pathway to tax assistance for our community and together, they ensure San Diego County families can prepare their taxes and claim federal and state tax credits they earned.

If you are an organization interested in participating with the EITC Coalition, please reach out to James McConchie at james.mcconchie@uwsd.org.