Important Tax Credits You May Qualify For

Many taxpayers that fall into the lower income brackets are not required to file a return. For the 2014 tax year, a single person under age 65 with an income of $10,150 or less is not required to file, and a married couple (both spouses under 65) filing jointly with an income of $20,300 is not required to file. The threshold is slightly higher for taxpayers 65 and older. Tax Return

While those under the threshold are not required to file a tax return, there is a strong possibility you may be leaving money on the table. Even if you claim full exemption at work and have no income tax withheld, there are still certain tax credits available that could qualify you for a refund.

Here are four of the most often overlooked tax credits for families, workers and college students:

Earned Income Tax Credit: The earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit, meaning it is available even to taxpayers that did not pay any taxes during 2014. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen and/or U.S. permanent resident for the entire tax year, have a valid Social Security number, receive earned income from either an employer or self-employment, and file either single or married filing jointly. Married filing separately status does not qualify.

The income threshold to qualify for the EITC depends on your filing status and number of qualifying children you have. Here are the general income guidelines:

  • Single with no children: $14,590 or under
  • Married filing jointly with no children: $20,020 or under
  • Single with one qualifying child: $38,511 or under
  • Married filing jointly with one qualifying child: $43,941 or under
  • Single with two qualifying children: $43,756 or under
  • Married filing jointly with two qualifying children: $49,186 or under
  • Single with three (or more) qualifying children: $46,997 or under
  • Married filing jointly with three (or more) qualifying children: $52,427 or under


Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit is $1000 per child and is at least partially refundable for the 2014 tax year so long as your earned income is at least $3000. The child tax credit has the same general qualification guidelines as the EITC with a much higher income threshold. For single filers and heads of household, the credit begins to phase out when your adjusted gross income reaches $75,000. For married filing separately, the phase out begins at $55,000. For married filing jointly, that figure is doubled to $110,000. Also, if you had an earned income of at least $3,000 and your overall credit exceeds the amount you owe in federal taxes, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).

Medical Tax Credit: Under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), you are now required to purchase health insurance for you and your family. If you purchased a plan from the public exchange (state or federal), you may qualify for a refundable Premium Tax Credit. Some choose to receive the credit in advance to help subsidize the cost of the premium. However, if you did not choose this option (or were unaware that you qualified for this credit), you must file a tax return to receive it.

Education Tax Credits: There are two major tax credits available to students seeking higher education: The American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. The American Opportunity Credit offers students in the first four years of post-secondary education up to $2,500 to cover qualified expenses. The credit is 40% refundable, so even if you owe no federal income tax, you can still claim up to a $1,000 credit for qualified expenses. The Lifetime Learning Credit offers students up to $2,000 per year for any (and all) years of post-secondary education. Unfortunately, this credit is non-refundable, so you can only claim it if you paid federal taxes during 2014.

There are other tax credits that may be available for taxpayers in various circumstances; such as the elderly and disabled, families with dependent care expenses, those who adopted children, homeowners that installed solar panels and other types of renewable energy, and many others. If you are unsure which tax credits you may be eligible for, speak with a local accounting firm.

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