Tax credit program expanded for 2017 tax returns

CalEITC program

The California Franchise Tax Board wants the public to be aware of a few changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as the filing season for 2017 taxes kicked off Monday.

Spokesman Jason Montiel said the program was expanded last year with a higher income cap and now includes self employed wages.

CalEITC may be available for anyone earning about $22,300. Last year that cap was only $14,000. Statewide 385,910 CalEITC credits were issued for a total of $204,881,901. More than $4,000,000 came from the Northstate.

Montiel said the requirements vary based on the number of dependents in the household but on average results in $500 more in your state tax return.

"Basically both credit are designed to help working families. It's extra money they can use for food, for rent, whatever they need. On top of regular refund that they might get," said Montiel.

The state estimates with the expansion around 1.5 million people will be eligible for CalEITC. Montiel said those that qualify may also be eligible for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

They should also be eligible for free assistance preparing those returns with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Each VITA volunteer must be certified by the IRS to complete tax returns. In the past the VITA location for Shasta County was Goodwill but for 2018 that has changed to the United Way of Northern California.

Communications & Outreach Specialist, Christina Gutierrez said, "They were unable to take it on for whatever reason and we were very, very happy to step up and take it to the plate. It fits in line with our mission of financial stability for our families here," said Gutierrez.

For a list of VITA locations near you click here. Help through the United Way of Northern California is only available with an appointment starting February 6 through April 17.

Full qualifications for CalEITC can be found on their website. The deadline to file your state and federal 2017 income tax return is April 17. That is two extra days because April 15 falls on a weekend and Washington D.C. observes Emancipation Day on Monday April 16.

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