The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits

Federal Income Tax
The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits

The 5 Most Popular Tax Credits: Can You Use Them, Too?

Tax credits are especially valuable, because unlike deductions, credits reduce your total tax bill dollar for dollar. Whenever you can qualify to take a tax credit, it’s always worth taking a close look to maximize its value and ensure that you remain eligible.

To help you home in on the credits that are most likely to help you, we looked at the latest data from the IRS — from the 2012 tax year — to see which credits people are most likely to take.

5. Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

More than 6.9 million taxpayers took the retirement savings contributions credit, which matches up to 50 percent of the first $2,000 in contributions that single filers make to an IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan at work, or $4,000 for joint filers. The dollar value of those credits was relatively low at just $1.2 billion, but that nevertheless saved an average of about $175 per taxpayer in tax liability.

The credit is only available to single filers making less than $30,000 or joint filers making less than $60,000, and the highest percentages apply only to those who meet even smaller income limits of $18,000 and $36,000, respectively. The purpose of the credit is to encourage everyone to save, and so if you set money aside, this credit is your reward for being financially prudent.

4. Foreign Tax Credit

About 7.1 million taxpayers claimed the foreign tax credit. But even though not many more people claimed it than the retirement savings contributions credit, the foreign tax credit had a much more significant financial impact, saving taxpayers $19.1 billion.

The foreign tax credit is intended to avoid double taxation on income earned from another country. It most often applies to international investments, where many brokers withhold foreign taxes automatically. For those whose only exposure to international investments is through mutual funds, it’s sometimes possible to take a full credit against your U.S. taxes for any foreign taxes you pay. Yet complex rules can apply in more complicated situations, so this is an area where a good tax advisor can be extremely helpful.

3. Education Credits

More than 10 million taxpayers took advantage of credits designed to offset college and other educational costs. The vast majority of those taking educational credits used the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which applies to the first four years of college and can reduce your tax bill by up to $2,500. In some cases, you can get a portion of the American Opportunity Tax Credit back as part of your refund even if you didn’t have enough tax liability to apply against it.

When you also combine the Lifetime Learning Credit, which pays 20 percent of up to $10,000 in annual educational costs for a wider range of schooling including graduate school and training classes, taxpayers collected about $19.3 billion from education credits, of which $8.8 billion was refundable. Those amounts make a huge difference to cash-strapped families sending kids to college.

2. Child Tax Credits

Families benefit from credits for having qualifying children, with 22.9 million taxpayers claiming the regular child tax credit and 20.5 million using the additional child tax credit as well. Combined, those two credits returned $55.4 billion to taxpayers.

The regular child tax credit pays up to $1,000 for qualifying children under age 17, of which there were more than 70 million, with phase-outs starting for singles earning $75,000 or more and joint filers with incomes of $110,000. Because the regular child tax credit is nonrefundable, the additional child tax credit fills in the gap for lower-income taxpayers, offering a refundable credit to those who have sufficient job income that makes up for any lost regular child tax credit amounts.

1. Earned Income Tax Credit

The most often-taken credit is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which appeared on 27.8 million returns. It’s also a hugely important credit for Americans, paying out more than $1.02 trillion, or almost $3,700 per taxpayer claiming the credit.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is aimed at low- and middle-income taxpayers, with the highest amounts paid to those who have eligible children. It’s also one of the few credits that is fully refundable, meaning that you can get a refund for up to the full amount of the credit even if you don’t have any tax liability against which to apply it.

Credits are extremely valuable for taxpayers, and you should do everything you can to find credits you qualify for. If you do, they’ll do a great job of reducing your tax liability as much as possible.



There has been so much progress made in the last couple of months toward keeping Our Children safe, while imposing tougher penalties.  Mr LaHood, the new DA in Bexar County Texas didn’t hesitate in going right to work and sending a message when he started a Child Abuse Division.

Wyoming is in the progress of a major overhaul of their Child Maltreatment Laws, while upping the minimums and maximums on a far too lax revolving door system.

Pennsylvania brought in new laws aimed at improving child abuse prevention and detection, and their reports have doubled already.

With all the good being done to bring laws and sentencing up to, NO I need to say bring them down to the level of sub-human that would ever consider harming a Child!!!!  Then I happen to notice Alan Fountain’s Post, and my heart hit the ground.  I would like to mention that Alan is a big part of Our Circle, and his blog is at:

How can a whole state like GEORGIA not want to protect Our Children????  If I remember right, “EVERYONE” seemed to be up-in-arms over the kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria by terrorist, and then selling them into slavery.  Yet here we have a bunch of “good ol’ boys” protecting a good friend, who just happens to be a CHILD PREDATOR.  Then you just happen to add in all the CHILD KIDNAPPINGS that seem to happen in that part of the CHILD SEX AND PORN CAPITAL OF THE U.S., and something is rotten in Georgia.


Missouri Man Charged In Death Of His 3-Month-Old Son

Physical Abuse
Cody Bunch

Tue, February 03, 2015

A Missouri man has been charged in connection with the death of his 3-month-old son, police confirmed Monday.

Jefferson County Sheriff Oliver “Glenn” Boyer told KSDK News that deputies were called to the apartment of 21-year-old Cody Bunch in Festus, Missouri, on Jan. 6 after receiving a call that a young child there was not breathing.

The baby, Aiden Bunch, was taken to a nearby hospital and later airlifted to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. The child died Jan. 10.

Doctors reportedly told detectives the boy suffered severe brain injuries caused by trauma.

“Through the course of the investigation we determined that there was some head trauma. We questioned the last two people to have custody, the mother and father,” Lt. Sgt. Jim Kausler told KTVI News.

Bunch reportedly told police he fell while getting out of a chair with his son cradled in his arms. Kausler said investigators didn’t believe the story.

“There was more than one injury that we found,” Kausler said. “It was just inconsistent with what he was telling us.”

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, Bunch told police that his son had been lethargic for a few days and then suddenly “gasped for air” while he was feeding the child on Jan. 6. He reportedly said attempts to the help the boy start breathing again were unsuccessful and woke the child’s mother, Brooke Besch, and told her to call 911.

Police investigators told KTVI the boy had at least seven bruises on the back and the middle of his head. Police said they found no bruises on Bunch’s body.

Bunch was charged with one count of abuse of a child resulting in death on Jan. 16.

Family members declined to be interviewed at length about the charges or the child’s death, though one aunt described the situation as a nightmare.

Bunch was last reported to be in the Jefferson County Jail Monday. He is being held on $500,000 cash-only bail.

Mother pleads guilty to leaving child home alone

Child Endangerment
Vanessa Ramirez

Vanessa Ramirez pleads guilty to leaving child home alone

We all have busy lives; working a full time job, running a household and taking care of our families. From time to time, we all need some adult time, but when we have children, we have to be responsible and put our children’s needs before our own.

According to reports, witnesses state a woman bragged about leaving her 2 year-old toddler at home, unattended, while she was out drinking at a bar.

Today, Vanessa Ramirez had her day in court and pleaded guilty to felony child abuse.

In October, the Omaha Police Department responded to a call in Millard to investigate the allegation of a child being left home alone. Officers then met with the Sarpy County deputies at the woman’s home. There they found Ramirez’ daughter alone in her crib. The toddler had been crying, displayed puffy watery eyes, wearing a soiled diaper.

Ramirez will be sentenced on March 30.

Child abuse is a growing epidemic around the globe. Statistics show a child is abused every 10 seconds and 5 children die each day due to abuse or neglect, but there is hope to end this growing epidemic.

Child abuse is 100% preventable.

Learn how to protect your children from child abuse by learning the signs and symptoms. One organization making a difference in the lives of children is Dreamcatchers for Abused Children. Dreamcatchers is a 501 (c) 3 Michigan based non-profit child abuse and neglect awareness organization, dedicated to educating the public on the signs, symptoms, statics, intervention, prevention to assist victims and survivors in locating the proper resources to help achieve and enable a full recovery.