tax breaks — January 10, 2019

Boost Your Refund Like Never Before

by Susannah McQuitty

Illustration of three growing indoor plants

Who doesn’t want to save money on their tax return? Maxing out your refund and minimizing any taxes owed is the goal, but how do you do that exactly?

Lucky for you, integrates tax breaks, refund-boosting credits, and qualifying deductions in the background as you answer simple questions during our interview process. No need to worry over missed savings opportunities—we’ve got your back.

If you’re just dying to know how saves you so much money, though, here are some commonly-missed tax breaks that others often overlook.

Tax breaks for parents and caregivers

Babysitters, daycare and visiting-care expenses can add up quickly, but the Child and Dependent Care Credit can pay you back for at least part of these expenses. It’s worth up to 35 percent of the qualified costs for care, up to $3,000 for one child or dependent, or $6,000 for the care of more than one person. Read more for qualifications.

There’s also the Child Tax Credit, which is similar but not the same. This credit is for taxpayers with a dependent child under age 17. It can be worth up to $2,000 for each qualifying child and up to $1,400 of that amount is refundable. Plus, there's a new $500 credit for dependents who are 17 or older.

Graphic of commonly missed tax breaks

Tax breaks for low-income taxpayers

The Earned Income Credit, or EIC, is aimed at low- and moderate-income taxpayers who earn income throughout the year—and that income can be from a W-2 job or self-employment. Single taxpayers and working families alike can qualify, because the biggest qualifying factor is that you have to be earning money somehow. Without earned income, there’s no EITC. The amount of the credit varies with the amount of income, the number of qualifying dependents, and the age of the taxpayer—read on for more info.

Tax breaks for savings, donations and green energy

If you’re putting away money for retirement, you may be able to boost your refund! The Saver’s Credit gives you a bit more incentive to save for retirement with a credit worth up to $1,000 (twice that for married couples). You qualify by contributing to a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or IRA.

Then there’s charitable donations, and they qualify you for tax breaks too. Deduct cash or property contributions to a qualified charity or non-profit organization, and even deduct expenses from volunteering, like mileage expenses from driving around. You cannot deduct the worth of your volunteer labor or services, but just about any expense you incur in the course of volunteering may qualify, as long as you are not reimbursed by the organization.

Check out the Energy Saving Tax Credit if you've installed an energy-producing system in your home, like a solar, wind, or fuel cell. The credit is limited to 10 percent of the installed property costs and is capped at $500 total lifetime credit. That means if you claimed $300 with this credit last year, $200 is all you can claim this year.

The biggest tax break—filing with!

You won’t have to research all the credits and deductions you might qualify for if you file with We check your financial situation for thousands of tax breaks as you answer simple questions about your income and expenses throughout the year.

New to Sign up or log in to file again this year, and let’s get your taxes done!

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