The three most popular credits within the Federal Tax Return are:
- Earned Income Tax Credit (also known as EITC)
- Education Credit
- Child Tax Credit
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.
You qualify for EITC if:
- you have earned income and adjusted gross income within certain limits; AND
- you meet certain basic rules; AND
- you either:
- meet the rules for those without a qualifying child; OR
- have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you, or your spouse if you file a joint return.
Please see https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/do-i-qualify-for-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc for more information on the EITC
Child Tax Credit
Beginning with Tax Year 2018, you may able to claim the Child Tax Credit if you have a qualifying child under the age of 17 and meet other qualifications. The maximum amount per qualifying child is $2,000. Up to $1,400 of the credit can be refundable for each qualifying child as the Additional Child Tax Credit. A refundable tax credit may give you a refund even if you don’t owe any tax.
Your qualifying child must have a Social Security Number issued by the Social Security Administration before the due date of your tax return (including extensions) to be claimed as a qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.
Credit for Other Dependents
Dependents who can’t be claimed for the Child Tax Credit may still qualify you for the Credit for Other Dependents. This is a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. The qualifying dependent must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
More families may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit or the Credit for Other Dependents. Both credits begin to phase out at $200,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($400,000 for married couples filing jointly), compared with 2017 levels of $75,000 for single taxpayers and $110,000 for married couples filing jointly.
American Opportunity Tax Credit
The American opportunity tax credit (AOTC) is a credit for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education. You can get a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per eligible student. If the credit brings the amount of tax you owe to zero, you can have 40 percent of any remaining amount of the credit (up to $1,000) refunded to you.
The amount of the credit is 100 percent of the first $2,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for each eligible student and 25 percent of the next $2,000 of qualified education expenses you paid for that student. But, if the credit pays your tax down to zero, you can have 40 percent of the remaining amount of the credit (up to $1,000) refunded to you.
To be eligible for AOTC, the student must:
- Be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential
- Be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period * beginning in the tax year
- Not have finished the first four years of higher education at the beginning of the tax year
- Not have claimed the AOTC or the former Hope credit for more than four tax years
- Not have a felony drug conviction at the end of the tax year
* Academic Period can be semesters, trimesters, quarters or any other period of study such as a summer school session. The schools determine the academic periods. For schools that use clock or credit hours and do not have academic terms, the payment period may be treated as an academic period.
Claiming the credit
Generally, students receive a Form 1098-T Tuition Statement, from their school by January 31. This statement helps you figure your credit. The form will have an amount in either box 1 or 2 to show the amounts received or billed during the year. But, this amount may not be the amount you can claim. See qualified education expenses for more information on what amount to claim.
Check the Form 1098-T to make sure it is correct. If it isn’t correct or you do not receive the form, contact your school.
For more information regarding Credits & Deductions, please visit https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions-for-individuals