Too often, hardworking families on the South Shore miss the opportunity to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in federal and state tax credits. These tax credits are in place to help families make their hard-earned dollars stretch just a little further.
Current programs you may qualify for include:
• the Empire State Child Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $330 per child for ages 4-16;
• the Child and Dependent Care Credit, a tax credit based on a sliding income scale for working parents who pay for child care or those who live with a spouse or dependent who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care;
• the federal Child Tax Credit, a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 per child under the age of 17, or the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit; and
• the Real Property Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit worth up to $375 for eligible homeowners and renters.
Additionally, if eligible, you may be able to recoup portions of the income tax that were withheld from your paycheck throughout the year. Through an often overlooked tax break called the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), eligible taxpayers can get extra cash back from the IRS or New York State. These savings help many families cover their monthly bills and allow them to put some money away for the future.
To qualify for the New York State and federal EITC, you must:
• have worked full- or part-time at some point during the calendar year;
• have income below $38,511 ($43,941 if married) with one child;
• have income below $43,756 ($49,186 if married) with two children;
• have income below $46,997 ($52,427 if married) with three or more children; or
• be a worker between the ages of 25 and 65, earning less than $14,590 ($20,020 if married) with no children.
Tax season doesn’t need to be a stressful time of year, and assistance is available to help you prepare your taxes. The IRS-certified volunteers with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provide free tax-preparation services to individuals and families with annual incomes of $53,000 or less. For those 60 years of age and older, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program can also provide assistance at no cost to you. To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Find-a-Location-for-Free-Tax-Prep or call 800-906-9887. To learn more about the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit, visit irs.gov. For information or questions on New York State taxes and the state EITC, visit tax.ny.gov.