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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Joys of Parental Tax Benefits

OK. Tax credits for parents don't scratch the surface of how much it costs to raise a child, but every penny helps. Besides, the joy of watching a child grow into a fulfilled and wholesome person is priceless. So parents, while you have a moment to yourself, consider the following tax benefits as a government supplement to various costs at various stages of your child's life:

1. Dependents

In most cases, a child can be claimed as a dependent in the year they were born.

2. Child Tax Credit

You may be able to take this credit on your tax return for each of your children under age 17. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit.

3. Child and Dependent Care Credit

You may be able to claim the credit if you pay someone to care for your child under age 13 so that you can work or look for work.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit

The EITC is a benefit for certain people who work and have earned income from wages, self-employment or farming. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund.

5. Adoption Credit

You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. Taxpayers claiming the adoption credit must file a paper tax return because adoption-related documentation must be included.

6. Children with Earned Income

If your child has income earned from working they may be required to file a tax return.

7. Children with Investment Income

Under certain circumstances a child’s investment income may be taxed at the parent’s tax rate.

8. Higher Education Credits

Education tax credits can help offset the costs of education. The American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits that reduce your federal income tax dollar-for-dollar, unlike a deduction, which reduces your taxable income.

9. Student Loan Interest

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not need to itemize your deductions.

10. Self-employed Health Insurance Deduction

If you were self-employed and paid for health insurance, you may be able to deduct any premiums you paid for coverage after March 29, 2010, for any child of yours who was under age 27 at the end of 2010, even if the child was not your dependent.

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