Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day Highlights Valuable Opportunity

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For Immediate Release

01.29.2016

Sacramento —  California’s families may get a larger refund this year because of the new California Earned Income Tax Credit, which now can be used in combination with a similar federal credit. Both credits can easily be claimed by simply filing federal and state income tax returns.

“Not only is January 29th the tenth anniversary of the federal EITC Awareness Day—it marks the first year of California’s own EITC,” said Betty T. Yee, State Controller and Chair of the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). “I encourage Californians to take full advantage of this credit, which yields an average refund of $900 per qualifying family.”

Local communities also benefit from the money received by families. Last year, the Internal Revenue Service reported 3.1 million Californians got more than $7 billion in refunds through the federal EITC, with an average refund of $2,401. At the same time, about a quarter of California taxpayers who are eligible fail to claim the credit, leaving billions of dollars on the table.

Free tax preparation is available during the tax season through two programs, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly, at more than 1,000 centers statewide. Some offer services in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. For locations throughout California, visit ftb.ca.gov and click on the free tax help link.

"Join us at one of the Free Income Tax Preparation and Family Resource Fairs, where certified tax preparers will help seniors and low-to-moderate income working families claim this free refundable tax credit,"  said FTB member and Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton. "It's your money, let us help you claim it."

EITC Awareness Day is a national effort spotlighting this valuable refundable federal tax credit. If the credit is more than taxes owed, the taxpayer receives the excess. At the federal level, people earning less than $53,267 from wages, self-employment, or farming in 2015 may qualify for the credit, which can total as much as $6,242.

California’s EITC (CalEITC4me.org) is available to households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $6,580 if there are no qualifying children, less than $9,880 if there is one qualifying child, or less than $13,870 if there are two or more qualifying children.

Taxpayers qualify for Cal EITC if:

  • You have wages and adjusted gross income within certain limits, AND
  • You, your spouse, and any qualifying children each have a Social Security number valid for employment, AND
  • You do not use the “Married/Registered Domestic Partner Filing Separately” filing status, AND
  • You lived in California for more than half the tax year.

FTB administers two of California's major tax programs: the Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax. FTB also administers other non-tax programs and debt collection functions, including delinquent vehicle registration on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and court–ordered debt. Annually, FTB’s tax programs collect more than 70 percent of the state’s General Fund. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit taxes.ca.gov.

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