March 17, 2014
There’s no disputing the fact that raising children today is a costly endeavor. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) has eased parents’ tax burden and put a few dollars back in their pockets with the Child Tax Credit, which ATRA made permanent. This tax credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon a parent’s income.
Because it is a tax credit rather than a tax deduction, which simply reduces taxable income, the Child Tax Credit reduces a parent’s tax liability dollar for dollar with the amount of the allowable credit. However, the credit cannot be taken for more than the amount of tax owed to the IRS.
To see if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit, the IRS provides the following seven tests:
It is important to note that your filing status and income may reduce or eliminate the Child Tax Credit. If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $110,000 (married filing joint), $55,000 (married filing separately), or $75,000 (single, head of household) you cannot claim the credit.
If you qualify to claim the Child Tax Credit, you will need to file IRS Form 8812 with your income tax return. Please contact our office if you have any questions about this tax credit.
If you’re claiming deductions for business meals or auto expenses, expect the IRS to closely review them. In some cases, taxpayers have incomplete documentation or try to create records months (or years) later. In doing so, they fail to meet the strict substantiation requirements set forth under tax law. Tax auditors are adept at rooting out inconsistencies, omissions and errors in taxpayers’ records, as illustrated by one recent U.S. Tax Court case.
If you’ve ever yawned your way through a wordy, boring document, you might have wondered if your own writing was as hard to understand. Luckily, there’s a great tool to measure the readability of your writing, and it’s as close as your word processor. (Note: For this article, we use Microsoft Word as our example. Details will vary if you use another application.)
Over the past year, we’ve all spent more time than usual at home—which may mean you’ve paid more attention to your utility bills than in previous years. If you’ve noticed a creep upward, here are some easy ways to help keep your energy costs down.