Get Cash Refunds by Filing Your Taxes

Dear Constituent,

If you or a family member had earnings between $1 and $30,000 to $59,000, you could receive a substantial direct cash refund just by filing your federal and state income tax returns. It’s true — thanks to several important state and federal government tax programs that benefit low-income families and individuals, depending on the amount of income, number of dependents, and other factors.

However, you can only receive a cash refund or tax credit by filing a state and federal tax return. And the earlier you file, the sooner you are eligible to receive a cash refund or tax credit.

One of the main tax benefit programs that both California and the federal government offer is known as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Under the federal EITC, you could receive a cash refund or credit of up to $6,935. Under California's program, CalEITC, you could additionally receive up to $3,417.

California also has a separate Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) that provides refunds or credits of up to $1,083 to working families who qualify for CalEITC and have one or more child who was younger than age 6 as of Dec. 31, 2022.

In addition, as chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I’m pleased that California also established the Foster Youth Tax Credit that provides a cash refund or tax credit of up to $1,083 per eligible current or former foster youth.

If you need free tax help to determine your eligibility for some or all of the tax credit programs described above, there are numerous East Bay locations available to assist you. To find a free tax preparation and assistance site near you, please check my Senate website here. You can also check the CalEITC website for locations.

Here is more information on eligibility for the state and federal tax benefit programs:

  • You may qualify for CalEITC if:

    • You're at least 18 years old or have a qualifying child
    • You have earned income of $30,000 or less
    • You (or your spouse or domestic partner if filing a joint return) have a Social Security number or ITIN.
  • If you qualify for CalEITC and have a child under the age of 6 as of the end of the tax year, you may also qualify for CA's Young Child Tax Credit.
  • You may qualify for the federal EITC if:
  • You (or your spouse if filing a joint return) and any qualifying children have a Social Security number
    • You earned at least $1 of income and meet the income threshold, which varies based on family size
    • Note: The income thresholds for federal EITC are higher than for CalEITC.
  • You may qualify for the Foster Youth Tax Credit if:
  • You are a current or former foster youth, age 18 to 25 on Dec. 31, 2022
  • You qualify for CalEITC
  • Were in California foster care at age 13 or older and placed through the California foster care system.

If you are not eligible for any of the above programs, don’t worry, there’s still some good news for you this tax season: You have extra time to file your returns this year. Because of the severe winter storms and the widespread damage they caused, Governor Newsom recently announced that all residents of more than 40 California counties, including Alameda and Contra Costa, now have until May 15, 2023 to file their tax returns. To qualify for the May 15 extension, you do not have to have suffered storm-related damage — you just need to live in one of the affected counties. The IRS announced that the same May 15 extension deadline and eligibility requirements also apply for federal taxes.

Also, the IRS recently announced that California’s Middle Class Tax rebate from 2022 is tax free and not considered income for federal tax purposes. The same is true for your state tax return.

I hope this information is helpful to you. It is an honor to serve you in the state Senate.



Nancy Skinner
State Senator, District 9