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Demystifying Federal Tax Credits: Understanding Their Mechanics and Contrasting with Deductions


It’s almost time for tax season. For some individuals, it could be their initial experience submitting.
For individuals who have been filing taxes for years, the process can still be challenging. 

Understanding tax terms can be challenging, from credits to deductions.

Here’s a breakdown of tax credits, including their definition, functionality, and distinguishing features compared to deductions: 

Could you explain what a federal tax credit is?

In general, a tax credit is the amount of money that taxpayers subtract directly from the income taxes they owe. There are various kinds of tax credits available, such as:  

  • This purchase is nonrefundable.
  • Can be refunded.
  • Refundable in part.

Both federal and state governments provide tax credits like the Child Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit to support and boost the economy. The federal government grants a tax credit.

Comparing tax credits and tax deductions 

Although they may seem alike, tax credits and tax deductions are distinct concepts. 

When it comes to tax credits, they are essentially deductions from the amount a person owes. For instance, if a tax credit of $2,000 is applied to a $4,500 tax bill, the amount owed would decrease to $2,500.

Conversely, a tax deduction decreases the portion of your income subject to taxation. For instance, if you have a taxable income of $60,000 and receive $10,000 in deductions. This adjustment would lower your taxable income to $50,000.

One key distinction lies in how tax credits influence the overall tax amount, as opposed to deductions which solely impact the taxable income. 

Tax Tips for New Parents: Credits, Social Security, and Benefits

It’s almost time for tax season. For some individuals, it could be their initial experience submitting.
  • Guide for new parents during tax season: 

If you’ve recently welcomed or adopted your first child, dealing with your taxes might not be at the top of your to-do list.

Even if you’re feeling exhausted and have been staying indoors for a while, it’s important to make time to file your return.

Having a new child will make your taxes more complex. On the other hand, you might be eligible for a variety of new tax credits and deductions. 

Attention new parents: Important information for the 2024 tax season!

Obtain a Social Security card for your child

Ensuring your child has a Social Security number is the first step, according to John Karls, a tax partner at Armanino, a national tax advisory firm.

“Your child must have a Social Security number for you to be able to claim them as a dependent on your tax return.”

  • Does the IRS tax Social Security income? Here is an estimate of your potential benefits payment

During tax season, a multitude of complex forms and intricate calculations can be overwhelming.

Organizing your personal finances can seem like a daunting challenge, especially if you’re unsure of the rules.

If you are a recipient of Social Security benefits from the government, that income is taxable.

Payment amounts depend on your income and whether you are filing jointly or individually. 

Let me guide you through the process with a breakdown of the formula used by the Internal Revenue Service to calculate the amount you’ll owe on your benefits:

Do Social Security benefits get taxed?

Of course. According to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service, individuals who receive Social Security benefits may be required to pay income tax on those funds. 

Your payment is based on a calculation that includes what the IRS refers to as “combined income.”

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