5 tax credits that could mean big bucks for you

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When it’s time to file your taxes, you want to reduce your tax liability and get the most money back, right?

Well, this info can help you!

RELATED: Here’s your 2018 estimated tax refund schedule

Check out these tax credits…

Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)

You probably know that the Child Tax Credit is up to a $1,000 credit that you can claim for each of your dependent children under the age of 17. (Editor’s note: While that limit has been raised by the new tax law, the change won’t materially affect your taxes until 2019.)

But if you don’t owe more in tax than the credit currently offers, you won’t get a refund from the Child Tax Credit.

That’s where the ACTC comes into play. The ACTC can make a portion a part of your unused regular Child Tax Credit refundable if you qualify. TurboTax has an explainer that fleshes out the details.

One thing to note about the ACTC — if you claim this credit, your refund will be delayed.

Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS is required to hold your entire refund until mid-February. In fact, the IRS says you shouldn’t expect to get your refund before Feb. 27, 2018.

American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

This credit can help defray the costs of tuition, fees and course materials in college up to $2,500 per year per eligible student. And because this credit can be claimed for expenses during the first four years of post-secondary education, it’s actually worth $10,000.

The AOTC has a refundable portion. So if claiming the credit reduces your tax liability to zero, 40% of any remaining amount of the credit is refunded to you — up to $1,000.

Income limitations do apply, so read the IRS briefing about this credit.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

The EITC could be worth up to $6,318 for working families. For single workers without qualifying children, a smaller credit of up to $510 is available.

If you made less than $53,930 or less in 2017, you need to check this credit out because you probably qualify!

But just like with the ACTC, your refund will delayed until at least Feb. 27 when you claim the EITC.

RELATED: 6 things to know about EITC

Premium Tax Credit (PTC)

If you bought health insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov, this tax credit may be for you. The PTC’s purpose is to help offset the cost of health coverage.

PTC eligibilty is based on both income and family size. According to TurboTax, an individual earning between $12,060 and $48,240 last year would meet the income criteria to qualify.

Those income limits steadily rise as you add more bodies to your brood. For example, a family of four could earn between $24,600 and $98,400 and still qualify.

Of course, the IRS makes the final determination on eligibility. Try their Interactive Tax Assistant tool to see if you qualify for this healthcare-related credit.

Saver’s Credit

This credit can give you free money to save for retirement — if you’ve taken the first step and already saved on your own!

The basic idea is that if you save $2,000 in a retirement plan and are a low-to-moderate income earner, the government will match your money by as much as 50%.

$1,000 is the maximum cap on the Saver’s Credit.

RELATED: Here’s what you need to know about the Saver’s Credit


Now that you know what tax credits are available to you, go out there and get them!

Getting started is easy because filing your taxes is free and simple to do. You can either do it through the IRS Free File program (incomes below $66,000) or through Credit Karma’s free offering (no income limits).

Both options offer free software to guide you through the filing process every step of the way.

5 reasons why you should file your taxes as soon as possible

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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