Empowering Californians: CalEITC Awareness Week - United Ways of California

Empowering Californians: CalEITC Awareness Week

Monday, January 29, 2024

Reading time: 3 minutes

January 26 – February 2 is CalEITC Awareness Week! This week was developed to spread awareness about the California Earned Income Tax Credit (#CalEITC) and how it can help uplift eligible Californians across the state. Governor Newsom has even issued a proclamation acknowledging the week and its importance. 

We’ll be sharing information about tax credits, the CalEITC, and free tax prep during events throughout the week. Here is a little background to get the learning started:   

What Is a Tax Credit?

Tax credits are cash-back refunds designed to support households in need of a financial boost. They are based on a variety of factors, like income and whether you have children. Tax credits help reduce the amount of taxes you owe when you file each year. Even if you aren’t required to file taxes because of your income, filing can help you unlock these credits and put money in your pocket. 

What Is the CalEITC?

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit for people whose income falls below a certain amount. The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) is the California state version of the EITC. Households may be eligible for both the federal EITC and the state CalEITC. 

United Ways of California collaborated with organizations across the state in advocating to make the CalEITC a reality. The credit was established in 2015 and has since expanded to make more Californians eligible. 

Why Is the CalEITC Important?

Tax credits are the most targeted and effective tools we have to support families who are struggling to afford basic necessities. Tax credits help reduce poverty, empower families, and strengthen communities. 

Our Real Cost Measure study found that about one-third of Californians struggle to make ends meet. Furthermore, 97% of those households had at least one working adult. The CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit – another important state tax credit – put more than $1.3 billion in hard-earned cash back in the pockets of more than two million California households last year. 

In 2020, thanks in large part to continued advocacy by United Ways of California and partners, people who file their taxes using an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) became eligible for the CalEITC. This is important because it ensures that Californians can benefit from tax credits regardless of their immigration status. It is also critical because ITIN filers are not eligible for federal tax credits.  

Learn More During CalEITC Awareness Week 

Throughout CalEITC Awareness Week, join us at 12:30 PM each day as we gather live with special guests to answer your questions and discuss the ins and outs of tax credits like the CalEITC. We will also talk about the state’s role in making tax credits accessible to all. Check out the events here, follow us on Instagram, and register today for the February 2 webinar, “Every Californian Empowered: Free Tax Help for All.”

During CalEITC Awareness Week and beyond, learn more about tax credits as well as how to file your taxes for free at MyFreeTaxes.org

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