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Five Important Tax Credits

Authored By: Internal Revenue Service


Check it out! You might be eligible for a tax credit. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Some credits are even refundable. That means you might receive a refund rather than owe any taxes.

Here are five popular credits you should consider before filing your 2008 Federal Income Tax Return:

1. The Earned Income Tax Creditis a refundable credit for low-income working individuals and families. Income and family size determine the amount of the credit. For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.

2. The Child and Dependent Care Creditis for expenses paid for the care of your qualifying children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, to enable you to work or look for work. For more information, see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

3. The Child Tax Creditis for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum amount of the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child. This credit can be claimed in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

4. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit,also known as the Saver's Credit, is designed to help low- and moderate-income workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is below a certain limit and you contribute to an IRA or workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. The Saver's Credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply. For more information, see IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

5. Health Coverage Tax CreditCertain individuals, who are receiving certain Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance, or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, may be eligible for a Health Coverage Tax Credit when you file your 2008 tax return.

There are other credits available to eligible taxpayers. Since many qualifications and limitations apply to the various tax credits, taxpayers should carefully check their tax form instructions, the listed publications, and additional information that is available on the IRS Web site at IRS forms and publications are also available by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).


  • 1040 Central
  • Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC) (PDF 281K)
  • Publication 972, Child Tax Credit (PDF 128K)
  • Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses (PDF 167K)
  • Publication 524, Credit for the Elderly and Disabled (PDF 140K)
  • Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education (PDF 368K)
  • Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) (PDF 449K)
  • Form 1040 Instructions (PDF 1,101K)
Last Review and Update: Mar 11, 2009
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