January 30th was the start of tax season for many Americans, and IRS officials reminding tax-payers about credits and deductions to be aware of this season. For WYSO, Jerry Kenney reports.
Jennifer Jenkins with the IRS says several tax deductions got a two year extension during the latest so-called fiscal cliff deal. Among those getting a two year extension are the State and local sales tax itemized deduction for Schedule A [Form 1040] filers, and a Teacher-Educator Expense deduction.
Jenkins says, “Teachers who pay money out of their own pocket to buy supplies and such for their classrooms, if they have receipts to back up this expense, they can put in a claim that would be worth up to two hundred-fifty dollars to them to reduce their tax liability.”
The Home energy tax Credit is also available for people who invested in new energy saving appliances like refrigerators and stoves. Jenkins says other energy efficient improvements like insulation or installing new windows for their house will also qualify you for this credit.
According to Jenkins, the credit is “a lifetime five hundred dollar credit. So, if someone has used this credit and maxed it out in a previous filing season, earlier tax year, they’ve used up their lifetime credit.” She adds, “But, if they haven’t used up to the five hundred dollar credit, they should look into writing off part of their expenses, uh, for their 2012 federal income tax.”
The IRS has begun processing tax returns today, and they say the average turn around for returns should be 21 days.
The Earned Income Tax Credit, introduced in 1975 was designed as a work incentive and offers people working at close to minimum wage. The credit maxes out at close to 6000 dollars, but the average credit taxpayers receive is $2100 dollars
In 2011, the IRS says in Green County more than 11000 residents claimed the earned income credit, and got back about 24 million in federal funds. In the more heavier populated Montgomery County, 48000 residents claimed the earned income tax credit and got back more than 113.6 million dollars.