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The 8 Most Popular Tax Credits You’ll Need to Take Advantage Of

Written by David Jones on April 1, 2017

Nobody likes tax season, but you can take the sting out of your return—and possibly end up with a bigger refund—if you know what to look for. Tax credits exist to incentivize certain actions, or to stimulate the economy by putting more money in taxpayers’ hands, but many of these tax credits aren’t common knowledge, and even the ones that are come with pitfalls you’ll need to understand before proceeding.

How Tax Credits Work

First, you need to understand what tax credits are and how they function in your tax return. According to E-File, tax credits are similar to, but distinct from deductions. Tax deductions work by reducing the amount of taxable income you have, while tax credits reduce your overall tax liability. Two people who qualify for the same tax credit will see the same reduction in amount of taxes owed, regardless of how much money they make.

You can claim these credits on your return using the corresponding paperwork (there are usually specific forms to use); however, you’ll need to be prepared with facts and documentation if you want to legally qualify.

The Most Popular Tax Credits

So what are the most popular tax credits?

1. Retirement savings. It’s important to save for your retirement, through retirement accounts like IRAs, or through work-related plans like a 401k or 403b. The IRS has a useful chart to determine how much this credit is worth; you may qualify for a credit of up to 10 percent, 20 percent, or 50 percent of your total contribution, depending on your household income. The credit does not apply if you make more than $31,000 (single) or $62,000 (married, filing jointly) per year.

2. Earned income. One of the best-known tax credits is the earned income tax credit, or EITC. Taxpayers qualify for this credit if they make below a certain amount of income; for single tax payers without children, this comes out to $14,880 per year. However, the rules and limitations for this tax credit are somewhat complex, and it’s easier to qualify if you have multiple dependents. For more information, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a helpful guide to walk you through the subject.

3. Education tax credits. The United States wants to support students pursuing a college education, so there are actually multiple separate tax credits you can qualify for if you’re currently enrolled in a university or are paying back student loans. The American Opportunity credit is one of the most popular you’ll need to consider, but familiarize yourself with the IRS’s entire tax policy for education-related expenses before you file.

4. Child and dependent care. If you currently have a child (or other dependent), and you paid to have them watched or cared for while you went to school or work, you may qualify for a tax credit. Depending on your income level, you may be able to claim up to 35 percent of the child care expenses you paid.

5. Advanced premium (healthcare) credit. The advanced premium credit is a tax credit you can take proactively through Healthcare.gov to lower your monthly insurance premiums. The credit works on a sliding scale and takes a number of factors into consideration. If you’ve taken less than you qualify for, at the end of the year, you’ll receive a refund for the difference.

6. Child tax credit. If you have a child, you qualify for an additional tax credit. Easy, right? You could easily qualify for up to $1,000 here, but you must meet a list of criteria. The child must be qualified as your dependent, must be under 17, must be related to you, and must live with you a certain percentage of the time.

7. Elderly and disabled credit. Certain individuals over the age of 65, or those who have retired on permanent disability, may qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 (if they have taxable income). However, the income limits for this credit are very low, making it hard to qualify for.

8. Energy saving credits. Finally, you may consider taking advantage of energy saving credits, through the Energy Star program. Many of these tax credits have either expired or been scaled back, so there are only a handful remaining. Take advantage of them while you still can!

Hopefully, these tax credits will serve you well in reducing your tax liabilities, leaving you with more money to spend or save in 2017. However, do note that tax credits are often introduced and taken away on a revolving basis, so do your research for the current tax year, and pay special attention to credits that may be

On-Demand Workspace, Who It Is For And Why It’s Gaining Popularity

Written by David Jones on March 29, 2017

As work turns flexible, communication becomes mobile and tech entrepreneurs and freelancers increase in number, the workspace is adapting itself to the new environment. The millennial workers who grew up with digital devices for their toys are mobile and look at work not as a physical structure but as an experience. The traditional office building that houses nine-to-five employees must now share landmass with workspaces leased out to individuals on a short-term basis – as short as an hour, a day or a week. (more…)

LG Skins: Protection That Doesn’t Come at a Cost

Written by David Seah on February 16, 2017

The LG G5 is no Galaxy S7. Though it’s certainly one of the better phones released in 2016, it hasn’t quite turned out to be the darling of the tech world like Samsung’s flagship mobile. It still makes it on the year’s top 10 list of best phones, but it’s nowhere near the number one position. A lot of people were disappointed with the G5, including critics. They’ve docked the smartphone significant points for not living up to its full modular potential. But say what you will about the latest LG, as an owner of the G5, you know it’s still the most customizable smartphone on the market today. Though its modular design is limited compared to critics’ imaginations, you can still add and subtract cool accessories to the phone — which is more than any other phone. So until Google releases the Ara, you’ve got an innovative cellphone in your pocket. (more…)

Must-Use Online Tools for Small Businesses

Written by 9rules Blog on June 27, 2016

online business tools

Small businesses are the drivers of the economy of many countries today and more are being launched. But in order for one to become competitive, they must keep up with the latest technology and use them for their advantage. Many digital and mobile technologies available today are ideal for businesses and when entrepreneurs embrace them, they can be sure to succeed in the future.

Online tools are in demand these days and depending on one’s preference, a business owner can use the free plan or the paid plan. The free tools, however, may have limited features hence, the paid plans are best if you want to use a particular service for the long term. (more…)

How Digital Security Escapes Businesses

Written by 9rules Blog on May 24, 2016

digital security

Every business and individual knows that it’s critical to secure investments of value. We all devote considerable money and effort in making sure that the other things in which we’ve invested remain in our possession.

Most businesses are well aware of the need for physical security. They dutifully install alarms, manage key issuance, and regularly update access codes. But cyber security can be woefully lacking, and a weak point in this system can be far more devastating than an unlocked door or unsecured piece of equipment. (more…)