Don’t Pass Up the Earned Income Tax Credit

Anyone who works should see if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. While the EITC is most often associated with families, it can still work for certain people who are single and don’t have children. The reason it’s worth looking into this credit is it can reduce the taxes you owe. In fact, it will be refunded even if you don’t end up owing any taxes. Given that more than twenty percent of the people who are eligible for this credit fail to claim it (with single workers who have no children being the largest demographic within this group), looking into this topic is something that can pay off for you in a significant way.


2016 EITC Income Limits and Credit Amounts

As mentioned above, both single and married taxpayers may qualify for the EITC. The income limits we’re going to cover apply to both earned and adjusted gross income. This credit is available to an individual with no children who makes less than $14,880. The limit goes up to $39,296 for one child, $44,648 for two children and $47,955 for three or more children.

For a married couple filing jointly with no children, the limit is set at $20,430. It goes up to $44,846 for one child, $50,198 for two children and $53,505 for three or more children. Both individual and married filers can only have investment income of up to $3,400.

The amount of the EITC depends on how many children a filer has. This credit starts at $506 for those with no children, then increases to $3,373 for filers with one child. The maximum EITC for two children is $5,572 and $6,269 for those with three or more children.


A Quick Note About Delays

Because of the PATH Act, early filers who claim the EITC or Additional Child Tax Credit may experience a slight delay in getting their refund. For a full explanation of this issue, be sure to read our previous post – New Federal Tax Law May Affect Some Refunds Filed In Early 2017.


The Simplest Way to Check and Claim the EITC

If you have any questions about your eligibility for this credit or have concerns about making a mistake in claiming it, Donohoo Accounting Services can help. With over two decades of experience, our tax return preparation service will take care of checking your EITC eligibility, calculating the exact credit amount and ensuring all necessary information is filed out to claim it. You can also easily get in touch with our office by calling 513-528-3982.


Adjusting Your Withholding If You Receive a Large Refund

Although the experience of getting a large tax refund can be quite nice, many people don’t realize that it’s not optimal. The reason is receiving a large annual refund means someone is actually missing out on a larger total amount of money.

The simple explanation of why that’s the case is if you consistently receive a large refund, it means too much of what you make is being held out of your pay. So even though people often find getting a large refund convenient because they’re able to put it towards a large purchase or paying off a specific debt, it’s important to remember that this money belongs to that individual. By letting the IRS hold it for most of the year, people are turning over the opportunity to earn any interest from it.


The Why and How of Adjusting Your Withholding

A simple exercise for seeing the impact that adjusting your withholding can have on your monthly income is to take your most recent tax refund and divide it by twelve. That figure will give you a general estimate of what you could add to your monthly take-home pay. While you do eventually get the total amount back in the form of a refund, receiving it over the course of a year provides the opportunity to invest or at the very least earn a little interest from a savings account.

If you decide that it makes sense for you to adjust your tax withholding, you may have an opportunity if your employer asks about this issue in December or January. But even if they don’t, you can make a change at any time by filling out a new W-4 and then handing it in. The rule of thumb for anyone who consistently receives a big refund is to increase the number of personal allowances. And if you want to make this adjustment because you consistently end up owing taxes, decreasing personal allowances is generally the best way to go.

Since finding the right balance can be a little tricky, you may want to use a withholding calculator to help you out. It’s also worth noting that other times to review your current withholding are when you or your spouse get more than one job. The same is true if you have children, get divorced, buy a home or get married.

Knowing if you need to adjust your withholding is just one example of the type of issue that can directly affect your finances. If you want to be sure that your tax situation is fully optimized, be sure to take a look at our tax return preparation service.