WAIT! Don't Forget these Tax Benefits!

A discussion of some of the most common overlooked tax benefits before you file.

Education Tax Beneifts

You could save tons of money with the following education credits and deductions:

  • American Opportunity Credit or Hope Credit — You can claim either the American Opportunity Credit or the Hope Credit. The American Opportunity Credit is equal to 100% of the first $2,000 and 25% of the next $2,000 per student for tuition and related fees, with a credit maximum of $2,500 per student. It's restricted to the first 4 years of college and can be claimed only 4 times per student. Up to $1,000 of the credit may be refundable.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit — A credit of 20% of your annual tuition and related fees, with a credit maximum of $2,000 per return. The tax credit may be claimed for an unlimited number of years.
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction — You can deduct up to $4,000 per student for tuition and fees.
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction — Deduct up to $2,500 per return for interest paid on student loans.

Saver's Credit

If you qualify, you could get a tax credit for up to half of what you contribute to a qualified retirement plan or IRA. Claim the Saver's Credit if you meet all the qualifications:

  • You're age 18 or older.
  • You aren't a full-time student.
  • You aren't claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
  • Your AGI doesn't exceed $27,750 ($55,500 if Married Filing Jointly, or $41,625 for Head of Household).
Child Tax Credit

You can claim $1,000 for each child. The 2009 Child Tax Credit begins to phase out when your AGI is more than these limits:

  • $75,000 if Single, Head of Household or Qualifying Widow(er)
  • $110,000 if Married Filing Jointly
  • $55,000 if Married Filing Separately

If your income tax is reduced to zero and your earned income is more than $3,000, you may be eligible to claim the additional Child Tax Credit.

Out-of-pocket Job Expenses

Keep track of job expenses not reimbursed by your employer. You could deduct these costs:

  • Driving expenses (the non-commuting kind)
  • Travel expenses
  • Uniforms
  • Union dues
  • Continuing education expenses

Moving Expenses

Even if you don't itemize income tax deductions, you could deduct moving-related expenses. Your move must meet the following qualifications:  

  • Your move must be job-related.
  • Your new job would have increased your commute by more than 50 miles if you hadn't moved.
  • You must be employed full time for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months after you move. If you're self-employed, the applicable figures are 78 weeks and 24 months, respectively, and at least 39 of the weeks must be in the first 12 months.
  • Your moving expenses can't be reimbursed by your employer.

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