- Felicia Matlosz
(SACRAMENTO, CA) – California’s low-income individuals and families – many of them deemed “essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis but not allowed to claim tax credits – now will be eligible for the California Earned Income Tax Credit program, regardless of immigration status.
The final day of the 2020 State Legislative session on August 31 produced this significant revision approved by the State Assembly and State Senate. Assembly Bill 1876 now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom. With his signature, the change would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), a steadfast supporter to broaden the CalEITC program to these individuals and families, praised the change. He said the state’s most vulnerable communities have needed this eligibility – the coronavirus pandemic has escalated the urgency to bring some economic relief to them.
“I believe CalEITC is one of the best – if not the best – anti-poverty programs that we have,” Arambula said. “This change balances the scales of economic justice for these individuals and families, who are working hard but denied tax credits afforded everyone else for their labor. This change will correct previous policies that inadvertently or unintentionally cause harm. And, this effort will put money back into the pockets of working families, especially at a time when they need it most.”
The revision will allow qualifying individuals and families to apply for CalEITC with their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The change also includes the Young Child Tax Credit for households that have at least one child under 6 years of age.
An individual or parent who earned less than $30,000 in 2020 would be able to file with an ITIN and could, with at least one child under age 6, receive up to $2,982 through CalEITC and an additional $1,000 through the Young Child Tax Credit. The amount will depend on the income earned and the number of children in the household.
Arambula expressed his appreciation to all the advocates and organizations that fought to ensure ITIN filers would receive financial relief from a system that they pay into with their wages.
The California Immigrant Policy Center was a key proponent for the revision. Cynthia Buiza, Executive Director of CIPC, said the organization commended the Legislature, leaders in California, “and the champions of this campaign who worked tirelessly to make sure we live in a state that gives everyone the opportunity to live a dignified existence.”
“ITIN inclusion in the CalEITC corrects a historical and structural inequity in our safety net and is a lifeline in these times of great struggle and suffering for low-income immigrant families,” Buiza said. “It is an acknowledgment that when these multiple crises are over, we will be judged by the manner in which we treated those who have the least among us. Through this act, we chose to do what is right and just.”
For more information about the Cal EITC program, go online to caleitc4me.org