Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Save Hundreds of Dollars with Tax Credits


Tax Credits
Awareness of Tax Credit

Being unaware of tax credit is like losing on a pay check and sad to say, several individuals are not aware of it. Each dollar of credit is equal to a dollar in tax savings, for instance in a federal income tax bracket of 28% and getting a buck’s worth of additional write-off could save one with 28 cents. Individuals tend to miss out on tax credits mainly due to the fact that they seem to be in a hurry when the dreaded tax filing deadline is near. Credits tend to fall through these cracks since they panic resulting in making complicated calculation or filling out additional forms. Setting aside more time on your return could help you to net several hundred dollars or could be more. For example –

Foreign Tax Credit - If a person has worked in a foreign country or would be having substantial income outside U.S, they must be well aware about the foreign tax credit which is intended to save you from being taxed by the two different countries on the same income. If the person tends to invest in some international mutual funds they could collect credit due to the fact that it is likely you paid foreign taxes the previous year – knowingly or not. A closer look at the statement on the fund summary of the previous year will provide you with some calculations in order to know the exact amount of foreign taxes which should show up on Forms 1099-DIV and 1099-INT. Presuming that the foreign taxes are from these sources totalling to or less than $300, one can claim the credit on Form 1040, Line 48 and have around $600 of foreign taxes and continue to follow the easy procedure if filed jointly. In other cases, one could file Form 1116 to claim your credit, though it could be a bit nasty.

Dependent Care Credit - When a person is paid to take care of an under-age child of 13 while the parents are out at work, one could be eligible for the dependent care credit where the credit percentage could range from 20% to 35% based on qualifying expenses and depending on adjusted gross income – AGI. Maximum credit possible for a child could range from $600 to $1,050 and for two or more the range would be $1,200 to $2,100. One should also be eligible if expenses were incurred in taking care of any other dependent that could be physically or mentally incapable of taking care of themselves, a disabled person. For high income taxpayers, the credits have not been phased out though lower dollar limits mentioned could be applicable. Form 2441 – Child and Dependent Care Expenses could be filled and credits claimed on Form 1040, Line 49 on furnishing the name as well as the Social Security number of the care provider failing which the IRS would disallow the credit with recomputed tax and would either reduce the claimed refund or sent a bill for the difference.

Moreover the Form 2441 also informs the IRS if one owes the Nanny Tax if they have an in-home care provider. One needs to be careful in taking credit if they have also contributed to a pre-tax dependent care flexible spending account – FSA the previous year through their employer. The pre-tax FSA is usually a process since it could reduce the taxable salary cutting federal as well as state income taxes together with Social Security and Medicare taxes as well. The tax saving rate could exceed the 20% effective tax savings rate which could apply to several people claiming the dependent care credit.

Elderly/disabled Credit – is applicable to individuals who have reached the age of 65 at the end of a particular year or one who has retired on permanent and total disability. Strict income limits are applicable and the credit is not available to most of them. Credits could be claimed on Form 1040, Line 54.

Adoption Credit - is when an underage of 18 years in adopted, you could qualify for a 2014 tax credit up to $13,190 for the adoption expenses and if married, a joint return to qualify could be filed. Phase-out rule, for 2014 could cause the credit to vaporize between AGI of $197,880 and $237,880. On qualifying for the same, credit could be claimed by furnishing details on Form 8839 – Qualified Adoption Expenses, with one’s 1040 with the credit amount on Line 54.

Credit for Overpaid Social Security Taxes – is where there has been more than one employer in 2014 and the earnings have crossed over $117,000 with combined salary, one has withheld too much Social Security tax. Recovery of the excess can be done by reporting the overpaid amount on Form 1040 Line 72 which is treated as a tax repayment and the effect on the tax bill is that of a credit.

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