Tax time can be extremely stressful, particularly for single parents that need every tax credit they can take. There are a number of ways that single parents can take advantage of credits on their federal income taxes to reduce the tax burden of which they may not be aware.
Head of Household
Claim head of household to receive a higher standard deduction. Individuals will also pay fewer taxes overall. Generally, the filer can claim this if they were single on the last day of the year, the child(ren) lived with them the majority of the year, and they provided more than 50 percent of the child’s financial support.
Earned Income Credit
This is one of the most often claimed credits by single parents and couples. It’s designed for working families of low- and moderate-income, even if they don’t owe taxes. However, the IRS is required to hold the entire amount of any refund until mid-February if they claim this.
Child Care Credit
A single parent is eligible for this credit if they paid someone to care for their child so they could work. The child and the one caring for them must meet certain requirements. The credit is available when children are cared for by a licensed childcare center. Parents that pay someone to care for a child in their own home may be subject to the “Nanny Tax” as an employer.
Child Tax Credit
The child tax credit shouldn’t be confused with the child care credit. Up to $2,000 can be deducted from tax liabilities for each child under the age of 17 on Dec. 31, provided the parent has earned at least $2,500. The amount that can be refunded begins to diminish once individuals reach the $200,000 mark for income.
Extensive medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of an individual’s adjusted gross income can be deducted. It will require an itemized return and itemized returns are more likely to be audited.
The federal government gives individuals a tax credit when they adopt a child. Adopting a spouse’s child doesn’t count for the credit.
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