Unlock financial peace as a single mom with these 5 essential tax tips. Learn how to maximize deductions, claim eligible credits, and navigate the tax season with confidence. Ensure you're making the most of your tax situation to secure your financial well-being.

5 Essential Tax Tips for Single Moms

Unlock financial peace as a single mom with these 5 essential tax tips. Learn how to maximize deductions, claim eligible credits, and navigate the tax season with confidence. Ensure you're making the most of your tax situation to secure your financial well-being.

5 Essential Tax Tips for Single Moms

As a single mom tackling tax season, it's important to explore the various tax credits and deductions that can help trim your taxable income and lighten your tax load. There are plenty of strategies, credits, and deductions at your disposal to help reduce your taxable income and possibly even secure refunds, regardless of your initial tax payments. Let's dive into some helpful tips to make tax time a bit easier for you.

You might be aware of the potential adjustments to the Child Tax Credit, but fret not – Vincere Tax has got your back. We stay current with the latest tax regulations, ensuring that you can confidently file your taxes and accurately avail the Child Tax Credit if you meet the eligibility criteria. No need to procrastinate – file now to secure your maximum refund promptly.

In the event that legislators enhance the Child Tax Credit, the IRS has assured that they will automatically update your return and inform you of any modifications, along with any extra refund owed to you. Rest assured, there's no need for you to take any additional steps.

File as head of household

Opting for the head of household filing status typically offers a more favorable tax rate compared to filing as single or married filing separately. Additionally, it provides a higher standard deduction. To be eligible for head of household status, you must be unmarried on the tax year's final day. Moreover, you should contribute over 50% towards your home's financial support, and your children must reside with you for more than six months annually.

Vincere Tax is here to assist you in assessing your eligibility for head of household status and optimizing your tax situation.

Establish qualifying dependents

Determining eligibility to claim your child as a dependent involves specific conditions, often assessed through the custodial residency test employed by the Internal Revenue Service. In cases where a non-custodial parent exists, they may have the right to claim your child as a dependent if the following conditions are met:

Claim the dependent exemption or dependent credit

In tax years preceding 2018, the IRS offered a valuable tax exemption aimed at alleviating the financial strain of raising a child. Bill Symons, President of Computer Accounting Systems in Oswego, N.Y., highlights the significance of this benefit for single moms, stating that claiming an exemption for each child can substantially decrease taxable income, potentially resulting in a larger tax refund, depending on the tax bracket. It's crucial to note that this deduction diminishes as a single mother's adjusted gross income surpasses a specific threshold.

However, starting in 2018, dependent exemptions have been discontinued and replaced with a more substantial standard deduction and an increased child tax credit (refer to the details below).

Claim the child tax credit

For those tackling their 2023 taxes, it's essential to understand the nuances of the Additional Child Tax Credit. Single moms earning less than $200,000 have the opportunity to claim a $2,000 child tax credit for each qualifying child, applicable for single or head of household filers. This credit directly reduces your tax bill, and if the credit exceeds your owed taxes, you may receive a refund.

To be eligible, the child must:

  1. Be 16 years old or younger, and fall under categories such as son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, sibling, grandchild, niece, nephew, or legally adopted child.
  2. Have lived with you for more than six months.
  3. Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
  4. Be your dependent.
  5. Have received over half of their support from you.

For the year 2023, the Additional Child Tax Credit allows up to $1,600 of the Child Tax Credit to be refundable for qualifying families.

In instances where your dependent child doesn't meet the criteria for the child tax credit, possibly due to age, you may still be eligible to claim the other dependent credit, albeit at a lower value.

Vincere Tax Tip:

If you incur daycare expenses while employed or actively seeking employment, and your dependent child is 12 years old or younger during the care period, you could qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. This credit is valued at a maximum of 35% of childcare costs, up to $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for two or more children.

Impact of Stimulus on Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit in 2021

Advance Child Tax Credit Payments:

The American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March 2021, introduced an expanded and advanceable Child Tax Credit. Families generally received advance payments without additional action, as the IRS calculated these based on their 2020 tax return. Eligible families received these advance payments through direct deposit or check.

It's important to note that these payments represented an advance of the 2021 Child Tax Credit. When preparing your 2021 tax return in 2022, you'll need to reconcile the amount received with your eligibility. Most families received approximately half of their tax credit through these advance payments. If you received too little, you'll be entitled to an additional amount on your tax return. In the rare instance of receiving too much, repayment may be required, contingent on your income level.

Child Tax Credit Changes:

The American Rescue Plan elevated the maximum 2021 Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for qualifying children under 6 and $3,000 per child for those aged 6 to 17. This marked an increase from the previous credit, which capped at $2,000 per eligible child, with 17-year-olds excluded.

The alterations to the Child Tax Credit for 2021 introduced lower income limits than the original credit. Families not meeting these limits can still claim the $2,000 per child credit using the initial Child Tax Credit income and phase-out criteria.

Moreover, for 2021, the entire credit is fully refundable for most filers. This means eligible families can receive it, even if they owe no federal income tax. Unlike before 2021, there is no earned income requirement for the refundable portion, and the previous limit of $1,400 per child has been lifted.

Deducting Childcare Expenses:

If you're incurring daycare costs while actively working or seeking employment, and your dependent child is 12 years old or younger during the care period, you might qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. To be eligible, you should have earned income, be a full-time student, or be physically or mentally unable to care for yourself.

Certain criteria for this credit include:

  1. The care provider must be at least 19 years old, and if they are also your child, they cannot be the parent of the qualifying child.
  2. You need to identify the care provider on your tax return.

The credit amount can be up to 35 percent of childcare costs, depending on your income. It's important to note that any contributions to childcare expenses from your employer should be subtracted from the total expense.

Whether you opt for Vincere Tax's Full-Service option, where our experts take care of your taxes from beginning to end, or choose to navigate the filing process independently with our assistance, Vincere Tax guarantees unlimited help and advice from tax professionals. Even if you decide to file on your own, Vincere Tax offers a step-by-step guide to enhance your confidence in accurately completing your taxes. Irrespective of your chosen filing method, our commitment stands at ensuring 100% accuracy and striving for your maximum refund.

I hope this information was helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us here. I’d be happy to chat with you.

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This post is just for informational purposes and is not meant to be legal, business, or tax advice. Regarding the matters discussed in this post, each individual should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor. Vincere accepts no responsibility for actions taken in reliance on the information contained in this document.

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