Monday, March 06, 2006

Don't Overlook Valuable Tax Credits

Category: Tax Law and Planning

Courtesy of James Jimenez, CPA of Fass and Associates in Parsippany, New Jersey:


Tax credits are one of the most powerful ways to lower your income tax bill. A tax credit reduces your taxes dollar for dollar. A tax deduction, on the other hand, only reduces your taxable income, so your benefit is determined by your tax bracket. For example, a tax deduction of $1,000 will lower your tax bill by $280 if you are in the 28% tax bracket. A $1,000 tax credit will lower your tax bill by $1,000. Here are some of the most common tax credits; most are subject to income limits.

Child credit. Taxpayers who have dependent children under age 17 may be eligible for a child tax credit of $1,000 per child.

Dependent care credit. Expenses paid for the care of dependent children under 13 and certain other dependents may qualify for a tax credit.

Education credits. Qualified college and vocational school expenses for eligible students may qualify for a credit. Under the Hope credit, up to $1,650 per student can be claimed for tuition and fees paid during the first two years of post-secondary education. Under the lifetime learning credit, up to $2,000 per family is available for post-secondary education expenses and for education expenses to acquire or improve job skills.

Earned income credit. This credit is intended for low-income taxpayers. The size of the credit depends on the amount of your earned income (wages and self-employment income), investment income, and your filing status.

Adoption credit. A credit of up to $10,960 per child is available for qualified adoption expenses.

Business credits. There are a number of credits that are specifically available to businesses.

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