Federal Tax Credit Planning Tips

When Should I Plan to Claim These Tax Credits on My Tax Return?

It is important to act and plan now during the year. These tax breaks provide a financial boost for many taxpayers in various life situations.

Are There Tax Credits That Have Expired?

Every Tax Year, the tax laws often change. As a result of rewritten tax rules, tax breaks change or expire. In addition, dollar amounts are adjusted every year to adapt to the new laws.

Review our comprehensive list of expired or changed tax laws that could affect your current year Tax Return or previous year Tax Return(s).

How Will I Know Which Tax Credits Are Right For Me?

When you prepare your tax return on efile.com, we will determine what tax credits you qualify for, and calculate how much they are worth to you. We will then generate the correct tax forms for you, to make sure you get all the tax credits you deserve.

Before you prepare your tax return and as a tax preparation planning tool, please learn more about the common tax credit and tax deduction options listed here. Remember that every eligible tax deduction or tax credit will either increase your tax refund or reduce the taxes that you owe.

eFile Tax Tip: Use our tax return preparation and tax credit checklist to line up all the deductions you're claiming on your Tax Return.

General Tax Credit Tips & Ways to Save Money, Pay Taxes, File Tax Returns

FREE efile Tax Educator and Estimator Tools

To help you find out which tax credits you qualify for, we offer an assortment of free, online tax tools. All of the following easy-to-use tax educator and tax estimator web tools are FREE of charge! These tools are great to optimize your tax return. Simply answer a few easy questions and get results immediately.

  • Use our "DEPENDucator" (qualifying child dependent tax tool) to help you determine whether a qualifying child can be a dependent on your tax return or not.
  • Did you know that you could claim a qualifying relative (stepchild, grandchild, significant other, etc.) as a dependent on your tax return? Use our "RELucator" (qualifying relative tax tool) to find out if someone counts as your qualifying relative.
  • Are you a HOH (Head of Household)? Our "HOHucator" (head of household qualifying person tax tool) will assist you in determining if you have a qualifying person to use for the HOH tax return filing status.
  • If you work for a living but earn a low or modest income, you might qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC or EITC). The "EICucator" (the Earned Income Credit tool) will let you know whether or not you can claim it.
  • You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit if you have dependent children. Use our "KIDucator" (Child Tax Credit tool) to find out if you qualify for the credit.
  • Confused about which tax filing status to choose? Answer a few simple "Yes" or "No" questions on our "STATucator" (Tax Filing Status tool) to find the right filing status for you!
  • After you have used all of the above Tax Educator Tools, you can either estimate your 2013 tax refund or your IRS tax payment by using our "TaxStimator" (tax estimator, tax calculator).

Taxucate and Taximate with our eFile Tax Tools for easier tax return preparation!

Claim Tax Exemptions

Tax exemptions reduce your adjusted gross income, making sure that not all of your income is taxed. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and dependent exemptions.

Learn more about tax exemptions.

Adjust Your Paycheck Withholding with a W-4 Form

Make sure you are not having too little or too much tax withheld from your paycheck by completing Form W-4.

Not sure what you should enter on your W-4 form? Learn more about adjusting your paycheck withholding for tips!

Neat Ways to Save Money on Taxes

Anyone can take advantage of tax loopholes; they are not just for big businesses and savvy tax attorneys. Read about ways to save money on taxes, from charitable giving to income deductions that the IRS cannot tax.

Use a Tax Return Preparation Checklist

Have you figured out what tax credits, exemptions, and deductions you qualify to claim on your return? Use our tax return preparation and tax credit checklist to organize them!

Choose the Right Tax Return Filing Status

You must select your income tax filing status before you can calculate your correct tax rate, credit amounts, and filing requirements. In general, your filing status generally can either be Married or Unmarried (Single, Widow, or Head-of-Household). Whether you may file as married or unmarried depends on your legal marriage status on the last day of the tax year, December 31. There are five filing options, each with its own specific qualifications and consequences.

Learn more about tax filing statuses

Determine Whether or Not You Have to (or Want to) File a Tax Return

Find out which income amounts, age requirements, and filing statues require you to file or efile a tax return and why you might want to even if you owe no taxes.

Learn more about the requirements for filing a tax return

Make Sure You Receive Your Tax Refund

For the last few years, over 100,000 tax refund checks have been returned to the IRS as undeliverable each year. Generally, this happens because they were sent to outdated or incorrect mailing addresses. The average amount of these checks is more than $3,000. Is one of these tax refund checks for you? If you are the intended recipient of one of these returned checks, all you have to do is update your address with the IRS. The IRS encourages taxpayers to efile their returns and use direct deposit to receive their refunds. Electronic filing and direct deposit help reduce errors, increase the speed of tax refunds, and eliminate the problem of undeliverable refund checks.

Owe Tax? Having Difficulty Paying Your Tax Owed?

The IRS continues to assure taxpayers that it will balance its responsibility to enforce the tax laws with the realities of the current economic climate. All IRS staff has been given a greater degree of flexibility to help taxpayers who are struggling to pay their income tax.

Learn more about owing taxes and how to pay tax

Are There Other Ways I Can Save Money on Taxes?

Besides claiming tax credits, you can decide to claim a tax deduction. Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, and your total deductions are subtracted from your taxable income in order to determine your total tax bill for the year.

Review our up-to-date list of tax deductions.

More Information on Tax Breaks and Savings

Different Types of Tax Credits

Qualify for Tax Deductions

Free Tax Educator Tools-see if you qualify for tax credits and deductions!

All-Year Tax Planning Tips