What to know about tax credits

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Recovery Discount Credit

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The most recent round of relief included stimulus checks of up to $ 1,400 per person.

But it also allows people to request earlier rounds of payments for economic impact that they may have missed.

The first two tranches – up to $ 1,200 and $ 600, respectively – were technically prepayments for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit.

Taxpayers who received the full amount of the check are not entitled to any additional money. However, some may be eligible for more help if they haven’t received a first or second round of payments, or if they have received less than full amounts.

For example, this could have happened if the IRS did not have a current tax return. The income on deposit can exclude households from checks that are not available to higher earners.

Let’s say someone lost income in 2020 and is now eligible for checks for $ 1,200 and $ 600. The IRS may not have made payments to this person because the agency had a 2019 tax return that showed a higher income.

Such a person can apply for a refund credit for the payment during the tax season that year. It will come in the form of a tax refund.

You’ll need to file a 2020 tax return, even if they usually don’t file a tax return.

The same rules apply to the most recent checks for $ 1,400 when Americans file their taxes in 2022.

In general, individuals with adjusted gross income up to $ 75,000 for singles, $ 112,500 for heads of household, and $ 150,000 for married couples filing together are eligible for full payments. The checks expire above these limits.

Child tax credit

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The American bailout plan has made several changes to the child tax credit, both in amount and timing.

About 80% of families with children will receive a tax cut with oversized low-income benefits as a result of the new regulations, according to Elaine Maag, a research fellow at Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center who studies income support programs.

The bottom 20% will receive an average federal tax cut of $ 3,270, she said.

Previous rules allowed taxpayers to claim a child tax credit of up to $ 2,000 per child under the age of 17.

The American rescue plan increases this amount to $ 3,600 for children under 6 and to $ 3,000 for older children. The legislation also expands the ages of qualified children to allow credit for 17 year olds.

It’s a big change in the way we distribute to low-income households.

Garrett Watson

Senior Policy Analyst at the Tax Foundation

The full tax break is available to individuals earning up to $ 75,000 per year, householders earning up to $ 125,000, and married couples filing a joint tax return and earning up to $ 150,000. The credit expires for higher earners.

Higher-income families generally receive the same benefits as under previous law, according to the Congressional Research Service (unless they have an eligible 17-year-old, in which case they would receive more).

The tax credit for children will also be fully reimbursed as a result of the relief measure. It had been partially refundable – taxpayers could only get back up to $ 1,400.

This structure mainly benefited wealthy families. A low income earner with no tax liability could only get back up to $ 1,400, while a higher earner could generally claim higher value.

According to the Congressional Research Service, about 19% of taxpayers eligible for the loan had too little income to reach the maximum.

“It’s a big change in the way we distribute to low-income households,” Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, said of changes in credit.

The changes would apply during next year’s tax season when families file their 2021 returns.

In addition, lawmakers are trying to convert the loan into a predictable stream of income as early as July this year through prepayments.

This would help low-income earners offset the volatility in their income, possibly if they work seasonally or part-time, and better manage their monthly bills, Maag said.

The advance would be half the value of a family loan; The other half would be reimbursed at tax time next year. Individuals filing a return for 2020 are eligible for the prepayment.

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Payments are expected to be monthly, but can ultimately be quarterly depending on what the IRS can manage, according to experts.

Monthly payments could go up to $ 300 per child, Watson said.

“It’s similar to the stimulus checks that bring forward a payment based on this year’s tax return,” said Watson.

There is one caveat: families can owe money back if they receive a larger advance than they can claim – which can occur due to changes in income, enrollment status, or the number of children. However, there are some safeguards for low paid workers.

Prepayments are estimates based on 2020 (or 2019 if not available) income tax data. Families will be able to update this information on an IRS web portal later this year.

Earned Income Tax Credit

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Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit for lower income families. The amount depends on the income and the number of children.

For the most part, according to experts, changes to the loan will benefit workers without children. Their maximum benefit has tripled from $ 543 to around $ 1,502, according to the Tax Foundation.

This is a function of increasing the level of income at which taxpayers can get the maximum credit and at which the maximum credit expires. (These values ​​are now $ 9,820 and $ 11,610 for non-shared filers, respectively.)

The minimum age for use has been reduced from 25 to 19 years. The upper age limit (previously up to 65 years of age) has been deleted.

Despite the changes, most of the benefits of the loan (around 85%) are intended to go to families with children, Maag said. However, that’s a decrease of around 97%.

About 9% of taxpayers will receive a tax cut as a result of the changes, almost all of them among the bottom 20% of the workforce, Maag said. The average tax cut is estimated at around $ 700.

Loan for children and people in need of care

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The American Rescue Plan allows taxpayers to offset a greater portion of the cost of looking after children and dependents.

The amount of Paid Spending Eligible for Credit has been increased to $ 8,000 for one child or dependent and $ 16,000 for two or more. (That’s an increase of $ 3,000 and $ 6,000, respectively.)

The law also allows households to write off 50% of these expenses instead of 35%.

This means that taxpayers can get a maximum credit of $ 4,000 for one child or dependent child and $ 8,000 for two or more. (That’s an increase of $ 1,050 and $ 2,100, respectively.)

The law also made the loan fully recoverable.

However, not many taxpayers will benefit from it. About 13% of all families with children will receive a tax cut, Maag said.

And benefits are tending towards the upper-middle class, she said, as low-income families tend to rely on informal care and there are no childcare costs.

The loan will expire once income reaches $ 400,000.

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