Federal Tax Credits for Family, Children, Home, Work, and School

special tax credit for your tax return Keep a bigger slice by claiming more tax credits!

What is a Tax Credit?

A tax credit reduces your tax payments.

There are many federal income tax credits that will help reduce your tax burden. Take a little time to learn more about these tax credits now and you may save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on your Tax Return!

Tax deductions are similar to tax credits. Deductions can help you reduce your taxable income, as well as increase your tax refund. Learn more about tax deductions.

Different Types of Tax Credits

In order to claim most tax credits (except some retirement contributions) for the current Tax Year, the payments or expenses have to occur during the Tax Year or no later than Dec. 31.

ATTENTION: Please review these tax breaks, tax credits, or deductions that could expire or have expired.
Please review these major tax deduction areas as they might apply to your current life situation or circumstance:

  Tax Credits for Families and Parents   Tax Credits for Homeowners

  Tax Credits for Employees/Workers    Medical Tax Credits

  Tax Credits for Education                 Retirement Tax Credits

  Green Energy Tax Credits                 Miscellaneous/Other Tax Credits


Tax income deductions  Tax Credits for Families and Parents

Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit is worth up to $1,000 for each qualifying child. This tax credit is meant to provide help to parents with qualifying children. The Child Tax Credit is different from the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

Learn More about the Child Tax Credit

eFile Tax Tip: Use the FREE efile.com "KIDucator" child tax credit tax tool to find whether you qualify for the child tax credit or not.

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

Child and dependent care can be very expensive. However, there are certain cases where you may claim a deduction on family-related expenses if you are in the process of looking for a job. Depending on the particulars of the situation, you may reduce your tax by claiming the child and dependent care credit on your federal income tax return for any expenses related to payments made to someone to care for a child under the age 13, a qualifying spouse, or a dependent.

Learn More about the Dependent Care Tax Credit

Adoption Tax Credit

The adoption credit is designed to help parents with the expenses involved in adopting a qualified child. An eligible child is any child under 18 or a child with special needs that lacks the ability to care for him or herself. The maximum available Adoption Credit to $12,970 per qualifying child for expenses incurred in 2013.

Learn More about the Adoption Tax Credit

Tax Information for Parents with Children or Dependents

More information on children tax credits

More tax credits, deductions for parents with dependents, children

Credit for the Elderly and Disabled

You may be able to take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if you are 65 years of age or older, or if you retired on total and permanent disability and have taxable disability income. To take the credit, however, your income must not exceed certain limits.

Learn More about the Credit for the Elderly or Disabled


Tax return home deductions  Tax Credits for Homeowners

Home Energy Tax Credits

There is a tax credit available for installing a renewable-energy source in your home, such as solar panels or a geothermal heat pump. The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit can be worth up to 30% of your expenses.

Please be aware that a number of Home Energy Tax Credits expired on December 31, 2013. 
Please review these major tax deduction areas as they might apply to your current life situation or circumstance:

Learn More about Home Energy Tax Credits


Tax return work deductions  Tax Credits for Employees/Workers

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit for taxpayers who earn low to moderate incomes. EITC can reduce your taxes, and can mean a refund. Meaning more working families and individuals may keep more of what they work for.

Learn More about the Earned Income Tax Credit

eFile Tax Tip: Use our FREE "EICucator" earned income credit tax tool to find out whether or not you qualify to claim the credit on your Tax Return.

Foreign Tax Credit

The foreign tax credit was implemented to reduce a double tax burden for citizens earning income outside of the United States—once by the United States and again by the foreign country where the income is derived.

Learn More about the Foreign Tax Credit


tax related medical deductions  Medical Tax Credits

Health Coverage Tax Credit

ATTENTION: Please note that the HCTC expired on January 1, 2014 and the tax credit will not be avaliable for 2014 and later Tax Years.

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.

Learn More about the Health Coverage Tax Credit


Tax return student deductions  Tax Credits for Education

Student Tax Credits

There are two major tax credits available for both new and continuing students: the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. Each credit offers special advantages to students but both credits may not be claimed by the same student in the same year.

Learn More about Education Credits for Students

eFile Tax Tip: Our student page has a complete list of many student tax related topics. It's a must for any student.


Tax deductions for retirement  Retirement Tax Credits

Saver's Credit - Retirement Savings Contribution Credit

The Saver's Credit, formerly known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, helps middle-income families to save for retirement. If you contribute to a retirement plan, the Saver's Credit may allow you to reduce your income tax dollar-for-dollar by up to $1,000 ($2,000 for married filing jointly). The exact amount of the credit depends on your income, your filing status, and the total amount of your qualified contributions.

Learn More about the Saver's Credit


tax deductions for alternative energy  Green Energy Tax Credits

Hybrid / Electric Car Credit

There are two tax credits avaliable to individuals who purchased an energy-efficient car in 2013: 

  1. If you bought a new qualified fuel cell vehicle in 2013, you may be eligible for the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
  2. You may qualify for the Tax Credit for Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicles (worth up to $7,500) if you purchased a two- or three-wheeled vehicle after 2011 and before 2014.

ATTENTION: The Qualified Plug-in Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit expired at the end of 2012. Therefore, you cannot claim this credit on 2013 and later tax returns.

Home Energy Tax Credit

If you installed a renewable-energy source in your home, such as small wind turbines a solar water heater, you may qualify to claim the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit. This tax credit can be worth up to 30% of your expenses.

The Home Energy Tax Credit is currently available through 2016.

Learn More about Home Energy Tax Credits


  tax related miscellaneous deductionsMiscellaneous/Other Tax Credits

Tax Credits for American Citizens Living, Working Abroad

U.S. citizens and resident aliens from the United States working or living in a foreign country during the year are allowed the same tax credits as U.S. citizens and residents from the U.S. living in the United States. Check out our detailed summary on tax credits for Americans living or working abroad.


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, the online tax software will determine what tax credits you qualify for, and calculate how much they are worth to you. The software will 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 "FILucator" (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.

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