Filing taxes is something that I’ve always done myself, and to be honest I really rather enjoy it. While it does take a lot of work, it’s also a chance for me to see how well I’ve done financially in the previous year and how my business has continued to grow. But one of the things that does get difficult is keeping up with all the changing credits and benefits available, especially when doing an old-fashioned paper return.
That’s why this year I’m making the switch from paper to digital with help from TurboTax! While I’ve been tempted for years now to start filing my taxes online, the fact that I run a small business was always a deterrent because I wasn’t sure which digital filing method would work for me. Thankfully, TurboTax stepped in this year and helped me figure it out. Now I’ll be filing online with TurboTax Home & Business!
And as a mother with two minor children, I’ll also be taking advantage of some of the many credits and deductions available to families with children. These are five of the top tax benefits families with minor children should be investigating when filing their taxes this year:
1) Child Care Expenses Deduction
If you pay for childcare, you likely know how expensive it can be. That’s why the government offers a deduction each year for childcare expenses incurred so that parents can earn an income, go to school or conduct research. Starting in the 2015 tax year, the amount that families can claim has increased. Currently parents can claim up to $7000 per year for each child under seven years of age and $4000 per year for each child between seven and sixteen years of age. Both of those amounts have increased by $1000 for 2015.
2) Children’s Fitness Tax Credit
This credit is one that I’ve always loved since it promotes physical activity and allows children to pursue their love of a sport without putting too much financial strain on the parents. Now on your 2014 return, the amount that can be claimed has doubled! Parents can now claim up to $1000 per child for participation in eligible activities. Even better, starting in the 2015 tax year, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit will be upgraded from a non-refundable tax credit to a refundable one. That means you could actually receive money back from the government for the fees you paid for your child’s sport.
3) Enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit
The 2014 tax year will be the last year that parents claim a Child Tax Credit on their income tax return. In 2015, the credit will be replaced with an enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit. The new UCCB provides $1920 per year for children under the age of six and $720 per year for children between six and seventeen years of age.
4) Family Tax Cut
The new Family Tax Cut, which is available for the 2014 tax year, has been one of the most hotly debated changes to the current income tax program. Essentially, in a family with minor children, the parent with a higher income can transfer up to $50,000 of eligible income to their spouse or common-law partner in order to move to a lower tax bracket and minimize income tax payments. While not all families will be able to benefit from the Family Tax Cut, it does have the potential to save eligible families up to $2000 per year on their taxes.
5) Children’s Arts Credit
For children that participate in artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activities, parents can claim up to $500 per child in non-refundable tax credits. The credit is similar to the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and allows children to participate in valuable and sometimes expensive activities such as music lessons, art classes and theatre groups while minimizing the cost for parents.
While I’ve taken advantage of many of these credits for families in the past tax years, I’m looking forward to the process being quicker and easier now thanks to TurboTax. The advantages of the TurboTax software go beyond quick and easy filing. The program also uses simple questions about your life to determine whether or not you’re eligible for various credits. In fact, TurboTax even offers a maximum refund guarantee! If you get a larger refund or a smaller amount owing using another tax preparation method, TurboTax will refund the price you paid for the program.
No matter how simple or complicated your tax return is for 2014, TurboTax can help you get it filed quickly and expertly while finding all the possible deductions and credits you’re entitled to claim. Follow the TurboTax blog for more expert advice on filing your return and get ready to breeze through your taxes this year!