Child Care Tax Credit
Do you qualify? If you paid someone outside your family to care for one or more of your children while you worked, or looked for work, you can reduce your income taxes by a portion of the amount you paid by claiming the child care tax credit. Before starting the calculation, though, be aware that you can only claim the credit if you have earned income–that is, income from work.
To calculate the child tax credit, you’ll need to know a few numbers. First is how much you spent on child care for the year. However, the IRS limits the claimable amount to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more. If you paid for care of two or more kids, the amount you spent does not have to be divided equally between them. So if you spent $3,500 on care for one child and $1,500 on care for another, you can still claim $5,000 worth of child care expenses.
Few people would expect a book about taxes to take The New York Times bestseller list by storm, but that’s exactly what The Fair Tax Book has done. For decades, Americans from every point on the political spectrum have moaned about April 15th and the maze of ridiculous instructions and high confiscatory taxation that accompanies that day. The current tax code is a labyrinth of over nine million pages of indecipherable jargon only a federal bureaucrat could fully appreciate. So is there anything we can do about this monstrosity?
You bet. The Fair Tax Book, authored by Georgia Congressman John Linder and nationally syndicated talk radio host Neal Boortz, lays out a perfect case for why the current tax code should and can be replaced by a simple and easy to understand tax system that slashes the current nine million pages of red tape in favor of a 133-page gateway to prosperity.
The concept is simple. All current federal taxes – income taxes, medicare taxes, social security taxes, gasoline taxes, capital gains taxes, etc. – will be eliminated overnight. In their place, the federal government will levy a single 23% sales tax on all retail goods. Workers will finally get to take home 100% of their paychecks. Investors will finally be able to invest without having worry about the tax consequences. And April 15th will become just another ordinary day. Sounds simple right? Well, you’ll probably have more than a few questions and concerns. But The Fair Tax Book performs a stellar job in addressing the most commonly asked questions. Questions such as the following:
If we do this, won’t prices go up 23%? No. The elimination of all current federal taxes will also eliminate the embedded tax costs inherent in all products currently sold. Since the Fair Tax will only be applied to final retail products, and not the inputs used in the manufacture of those products, prices will drop an average of 22% across the economy. So prices will remain the same!
What about the poor, won’t they get hammered by the Fair Tax? Absolutely not. In fact, the Fair Tax is the only tax reform bill before Congress that totally eliminates the tax burden of the poor. Under the Fair Tax, every American (from the richest among us to the poorest among us) will receive a monthly rebate check from the federal government that covers the cost of the 23% sales tax up the poverty level. So a check for approximately $450 will be deposited in everyone’s bank account to cover the 23% tax on the basic necessities of life (such as food, gasoline, clothing, etc.)
Ask any new parent, and they will tell you that the costs associated with a new baby are many, everything from bottles to diapers to cribs, strollers, and high chairs, and all of this before the child even learns to walk and talk and beg you for a pair of $500 designer jeans. Parenting is one of the most rewarding, and important jobs that a person can have, in addition to being one of the most expensive. The good news is that there are two tax breaks offered by the federal government that the majority of parents can qualify for, which are the dependent exemption and the child tax credit.
The dependent exemption is a tax break that allows you to receive an additional tax deduction of as much as $3,000 each year until your child turns 19. This is addition to the standard tax exemption that the IRS allows per person to cover basic living expenses. Single people are allowed one exemption, while married couples have the option of taking two of these exemptions per year.
The amount that you will save with this exemption depends on your current tax bracket, and generally, the higher the tax bracket, the more money you will receive, unless your income is too high to claim an exemption, but again, most people will qualify. This dependent exemption is only phased out for married couples filing jointly with an adjusted gross income of more than $300,000. Limits for single parents exist as well, and it is important to research these limits, both for married and single parents, to be sure that your income does not exceed them. If you qualify for this exemption, you can simply fill out the required lines on your tax form, including an adoption taxpayer identification or social security number for each child.
The child tax credit is available for married couples filing jointly with a reported gross income of below $13,000, although again, it should be noted that income limits for both single and married parents are revised frequently. With this credit, it is possible to receive up to $1,000 per child.
Determining the amount of credit that an individual can claim requires the completion of the child tax credit worksheet, which can be downloaded from the IRS website. You will need to provide a social security or adoption taxpayer identification number for each child in order to qualify. As with all tax information you should always check with a professional because tax laws can change every year.
You’ll probably have more questions than can possibly be addressed in this short article, but I have no doubt they’ll all be answered if you simply take the time to read The Fair Tax Book. Authors Neal Boortz and John Linder brilliantly lay out their case for tax reform in an easy to read format that’s also quite entertaining. And with powerful and influential Americans such as Tom Delay, Alan Greenspan, and Sean Hannity all trumpeting their support for the Fair Tax, it seems certain to dominate the realm of political discourse in the months and years ahead.
Once you’ve read it, you’ll probably agree that The Fair Tax Book is probably the most important book to hit the American political landscape since Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The FairTax is simple and easy to understand. More importantly, it returns America to the original intent of the Founding Fathers by creating a system of voluntary taxation that unleashes the true potential of free individuals. The explosion in wealth creation certain to follow will fuel America’s position as the world’s leading superpower for decades to come and solidify our nation’s future for our children and grandchildren.
As a result, The Fair Tax Book will probably launch a political revolution. With the 2006 mid-term elections drawing near, take the time to educate yourself about the Fair Tax Act of 2005. You might well decide to become a minuteman in this modern day American tax revolt!
Next thing you need to know is your earned income for the year; if you’re married, you also need to know the separate amount of your spouse’s earned income. This is the amount you made in wages, salaries, tips or self-employment income. It does not include interest or other non-work income.