What Tax Breaks Expired, Changed, or Were Added by the IRS?
Important: This page will be updated as the IRS releases new information about added and/or expired tax breaks.
It seems like every year the tax laws change. Well, that's because they often do! Depending on the actions--or inaction--of Congress, tax breaks change, tax cuts expire, tax rules are rewritten, and dollar amounts are adjusted every year.
What Is a Tax Break?
A tax break reduces your tax liability and may even increase your tax refund. Tax breaks are tax savings resulting from tax deductions, tax credits, exemptions, and other tax incentives.
How Do Changes in Tax Law and Expiring Tax Breaks Affect You?
Most of these changing tax breaks pertain only to business filers. But there are several that apply directly to individual taxpayers, and those are the tax breaks that we will be highlighting on this page. At efile.com, we will always keep you up to date on the latest tax cuts and tax breaks that affect the individual taxpayer.
Tax Breaks that Expired or Changed on January 1, 2014 (Changes in Effect for Tax Year 2014)
The tax breaks listed below will officially expire on January 1, 2014. This means that you can claim these breaks on your 2013 Tax Return, but not on returns for Tax Years beyond 2013.
- Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC): If you receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA, ATAA, or RTAA) or Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) payments, you may qualify for the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which may help you pay up to 72.5% of your health insurance premiums. The HCTC is a refundable credit, so it will be paid to you even if you do not owe any tax at the end of the year. For Tax Year 2013, you must have enrolled into the HCTC program by or on October 1, 2013 in order to qualify for the credit.
Tax Breaks that Expired or Changed on December 31, 2013 (Changes in Effect for Tax Year 2014)
The tax breaks listed below will officially expire on December 31, 2013. This means that you can claim these breaks on your 2013 Tax Return, but not on returns for Tax Years beyond 2013.
- Deduction for Charitable Donations from IRAs: Taxpayers age 70 1/2 or older, who may be required to take minimum distributions from their retirement plans or face penalties, may directly donate a certain amount of their IRA funds, tax-free, to qualified charitable organizations. Learn about other charitable tax deductions you may qualify to claim on your tax return.
- Educator Expense Deduction: Eligible educators (K-12 teachers, counselor, aide, or principal who worked in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year) were able to deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses (up to $500 if filing jointly and both spouses were educators) as an adjustment to gross income by claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. On 2014 and later tax returns, qualified educators may be able to claim their expenses as miscellaneous, itemized deductions (above the $250 limit, but subject to 2% rule).
- Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit: This tax credit is worth up to 10% of the purchase price of qualified home energy-efficient products between $50 and $500. In order to claim this credit, you must have purchased the qualified improvements and placed them into your existing, primary residence (not a new home) during the year. Learn about the home energy improvements that qualify for the credit.
- Tuition and Fees Deduction: The Tuition and Fees Tax Deduction is worth up to $4,000 for qualifying tuition and fees you paid for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent. You may deduct any qualified expenses, (tuition, fees, books, supplies, equipment, and other required course materials, but not room and board), even if you paid the expenses with a loan. It's an above-the-line deduction, so you do not need to itemize to claim it on your tax return.
Tax Breaks that Expired or Changed on December 31, 2012 (Changes in Effect for Tax Year 2013)
The tax breaks listed below officially expired on December 31, 2012. This means that you cannot claim these breaks on your 2013 and later Tax Returns.
- Credit for Qualified Plug-in Electric Cars and Hybrids: Though you cannot claim the credit on your 2013 and later Tax Year returns, you may still claim the credit on an amended 2012 tax return if you purchased the car in 2012 and did not claim the credit on your original, accepted 2012 return. However, you can still claim the Alternative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit on your 2013 return if you placed a new and qualified fuel cell vehicle in service during 2013.
- Refundable portion of the Prior-Year Minimum Tax Credit: Though you can still claim the credit on your 2013 Tax Return, you can no longer claim the refundable part of the credit.
Tax Breaks that Expired or Changed on December 31, 2011 (Changes in Effect for Tax Year 2012)
The tax breaks listed below officially expired on December 31, 2011. A number of these tax breaks were retroactively extended or changed by Congress to apply to the 2012 Tax Year, but each of these provisions has already expired under current law.
- Plug-In Vehicle Conversion Credit
- If you plan on converting an older car into an electric hybrid, make sure you are doing it to save gas and not to get a tax break. As of 2012, there is no longer a tax credit for converting a non-hybrid car into a plug-in electric hybrid. If you bought a new plug-in hybrid or fully electric car, there is still an electric vehicle tax credit available for 2012.
- Adoption Tax Credit Refundability
- Adopting a child can be an expensive endeavor. Many adoptive parents have benefited from the Adoption Tax Credit, but it has just become a little less beneficial. Under current law, the Adoption Tax Credit is no longer refundable. So the credit will reduce your tax burden dollar-for-dollar, but it will not be refunded to you if your tax liability has been reduced to $0. However, you can "save" any unused portion of your credit and carry the amount forward for up to 5 years of future tax returns.
- Social Security Taxes
What Tax Breaks Were Extended, Expanded, or Added for Tax Year 2013?
There is plenty of good news for Tax Year 2013. Several tax benefits have increased in value during Tax Year 2012. Every year, by law, a number of tax breaks are adjusted for inflation. For 2012 and later, these numbers have all increased. The following figures will apply to 2012 and later Tax Returns.
- Tax Brackets
- The income range has increased for every tax bracket, meaning higher incomes will fit into lower brackets. See the 2013 federal income tax rates.
- Standard Deduction
- Earned Income Credit (EIC)
- The maximum value of the Earned Income Credit has increased, as has the income limit to qualify for the EIC.
- Education Credits
- The Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Credit begin to phase out (decrease in value) at higher income levels than in 2011. More students will now qualify for an education tax credit.
- Student Loan Interest Deduction
- For married couples filing jointly, the Student Loan Interest Deduction now begins to phase out at an income of $125,000, which is $5,000 more than in 2011.
- Employer-Provided Parking Benefits
- The tax-free amount by which an employer can reimburse you for parking has increased from $230 to $240.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
- The limit on contributions to an HSA have increased to $3,100 for individuals and $6,250 for families (plus $1,000 if age 55 or older by the end of the year).
- Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSA)
- The Archer MSA maximum deductible amount has increased. But so has the minimum amount, as well as the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount.
- Social Security Benefits
- Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits have increased by 3.6%.
- Retirement Plan Contributions
- The limits on contributions to several types of retirement plans have increased. The limits have increased for 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans, and for the Thrift Savings Plan. The new contribution limit for each of these plans is now $17,000, plus another $5,500 if you are 50 or older by the end of the year. See all pension plan contribution limits.
- Foreign Earned Income
- Estate Tax
- The Estate Tax exclusion amount (the amount of inheritance that is protected from the Estate Tax) has increased from $5,000,000 to $5,120,000.
Expired Tax Breaks Affecting Tax Returns for Previous Tax Years
ATTENTION: The following tax deductions and credits can only be claimed on amended tax returns for previous tax years. You cannot claim these tax breaks on your 2013 Tax Return.
Expired Tax Deductions
- The New Vehicle Sales Tax Deduction was eliminated for Tax Years after 2009, so you cannot claim it on your 2013 Tax Return. If you purchased a new car in 2009 but did not claim it on your 2009 Tax Return, you may qualify to claim it by filing a 2009 tax amendment.
Expired Tax Credits
- The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) expired in 2010, but you can file a 2010 tax amendment to claim any of the 2010 credits covered in the Act.
- Though the Car Tax Credit-Cash for Clunkers program ended in 2009, you may be able to claim the car credit on by filing a 2009 amended tax return (if you did not claim it on your 2009 Tax Return), but only if you meet the program's requirements.
- 2010 was the last year the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was available to all taxpayers, so it cannot be claimed on tax returns for later Tax Years. However, you may file an amendment to your 2008, 2009, or 2010 Tax Return to claim the credit (if you purchased a home in 2008, 2009, or 2010).
- There is no Making Work Pay Credit for Tax Years after 2010, but you can claim the credit by amending your 2009 or 2010 Tax Return.
What Can You Do about Changing Tax Breaks?
You can keep up to date on the latest information about what tax breaks are available with efile.com. We will always update our site with the most recent tax law changes.
When you prepare your tax return on efile.com, you don't have to worry about which tax breaks have changed. The online software will always apply the newest IRS data to your tax return. At efile.com, we guarantee a 100% accurate tax return and the biggest possible tax refund (or lowest tax balance due) allowed by law.