you must OWE CA state taxes and be low income. The money is applied against your debt.
- You must have been a resident of California in the previous tax year
- You must have a California Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, of less than a certain amount. At the time of writing this article (2012), single filers must earn less than $35,659 and married people filing jointly, heads of household, and qualified widows or widowers must earn less than $71,318.
- You must have paid rent for at least half of the previous year for property that was your principal legal residence. This property must be in California.
- You must not have lived with another person who is claiming you as a dependent, like a parent, for more than half the year.
- You must not be a minor who is living with your parent, foster parent, or legal guardian.
- Your rented property for more than half the year must not be one that was exempt from California property tax in that year.
- Married filers must not have been granted a homeowners property tax exemption. Your spouse must also not have been given this exemption, unless you maintained separate residences for the entire year.
It is possible to receive this credit even if you did not not live in a rented unit for the entirety of the year, so long as you lived there more than six months. People who are receiving money through the Renter Assistance Program are also still eligible to get the California Renters Credit as long as they qualify in all other ways.
If you rent a home or apartment in California and don’t make a lot of money, this credit can be very helpful. Being able to take any deduction on your taxes decreases the amount that you will have to pay that year. We all want to save money on our taxes. People who rented their homes in California for the past tax year have the option of taking a deduction that will allow them to do just that. Investigate whether or not you will qualify, or talk to your tax preparer if you have one about getting the California Renter’s Credit.