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Tag Archive for Child Tax Credit

How To Determine If You Are Eligible For A Child Tax Credit

You are eligible for the Child Tax Credit if you have a qualifying child/children and you have earned income, according to the IRS requirements, which are:

  1. Your child is aged 16 years or younger, as of December 31 of the tax year.
  2. Your child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. National or U.S. Resident Alien and has a social security number. There is an exception for an adopted child.
  3. You have $2,500 of earned income as an employee or from self-employment. This is down from $3,000 prior to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
  4. The amount of the credit is tied to the amount of your earned income.
  5. The credit is limited if your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount. The amount at which this phase-out begins varies, depending on your filing status.
  6. For individual filers, the phase-out begins at $200,000 ($400,000 for joint filers).

Starting with tax year 2018, the Child Tax Credit will allow you to reduce your federal income tax by up to $2,000 for each qualifying child.

$1,400 of which is a refundable credit, expats who managed to bring their tax owing down to zero by using the foreign tax credit would therefore receive a refund of $1,400. This amount will be adjusted for inflation after 2018.

Your child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, sibling, stepsister/brother or a descendant of any of these individuals. A legally adopted child is treated as your own child. The child must not have provided more than half of their own support and you need to claim them as a dependent on your federal tax return. The qualifying child should have lived with you for more than half of the tax year, and there are some exceptions to the residence test.

Have a tax question? Contact Olivier Wagner.

 

How To Prepare Taxes For Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients

On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would not deport certain undocumented youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the DHS secretary, these youths may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This article is designed to provide guidance for tax professionals preparing and filing tax returns for DACA recipients.

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The Child Tax Credit For Americans Living Abroad

American Expat parents can potentially take advantage of not just one but three U.S. Child Tax Credits, depending on their circumstances: the Child Tax Credit, the Additional Child Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. In this article we outline when and how all three can be used, and what conditions need to be fulfilled to claim them. Read more

Tax Changes Coming In 2017: What U.S. Expats Need To Know

Ephraim Moss

While the past year did not produce any monumental changes to U.S. tax law, there are a number of noteworthy changes that expats should keep in mind as we enter 2017. We also share a few highlights from President-elect Trump’s current tax plan.

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Earned Income Credit & Other Credits

Debra Thompson

Millions of Americans forgo critical tax relief each year by failing to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit for individuals who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.

Last year, an estimated 21 million taxpayers received approximately $37.5 billion in EITC. However, the IRS estimates Read more

Claiming The Additional Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit - Milton Boothe

If you cannot claim the entire amount of your child tax credit because it exceeds your tax, don’t be discouraged, because you may be able to claim the unused portion as an additional child tax credit. The additional child tax credit is a refundable credit, and is available to you whenever you cannot claim the entire amount of the child tax credit.

The amount of the refund, however, may differ depending on your total earned income. It may also be affected by the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes that were paid.

Figuring and Claiming the Credit:

The amount of the additional child tax credit that you can claim on your income tax is the lower of: Read more

Claiming The Child Tax Credit

The child tax credit is a credit given for each dependent child on your tax return, who is under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year. The child tax credit is a nonrefundable credit, and is intended to provide an extra measure of tax relief for taxpayers with qualifying children.
To qualify for this credit, you must have a qualifying child on your tax return. The rules for determining if your child is a qualifying child for the purpose of this credit are as follows:

• The child must be your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them. (This includes your niece, nephew, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc.)
• The child must not provide for over half of his or her own support for the year. Read more

Expatriates And New Trade Law

New trade laws were recently enacted after President Obama signed them into law recently.

One of the provisions is affecting child tax credit claimed by certain expatriates. Under the provisions of new law, expatriates claiming foreign earned income exclusion under IRC 911 will no longer be entitled to claim refundable child tax credit. The change is effective from the tax years beginning after December 31, 2014.

Pertinent to note here that IRC 911 exclusion limit for 2015 tax year is $100,800.

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Are You Leaving Tax Money On The Table?

Each year the IRS reports about $1 billion in unclaimed refunds for individuals who did not file a tax return. The IRS estimates that approximately half of the unclaimed refunds are for amounts greater than $600. You may not have filed, thinking that because you don’t itemize and your employer is withholding tax that you don’t need to file. But there is a good chance you are leaving money on the table by not filing. Consider the following:

• Over-Withholding – Your employer may have withheld more than you owe, as withholding is not an exact science. But you have to file to get the excess back.

• Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – An EITC is a credit for lower-income taxpayers. If you worked and earned less than $52,427 last year, you could receive the EITC as a refund if Read more

Nonrefundable Tax Credits vs. Refundable Tax Credits

A nonrefundable tax credit is a credit that can reduce the amount of an individual’s tax liability to zero, but cannot exceed the total amount of income taxes owed. In other words, you would not receive a tax refund if the credit exceeds the amount of your tax liability. For example, if you have a nonrefundable tax credit of $5,000 and a tax liability of $3,000, the credit will eliminate the tax liability, that is, reduce it to zero. The remaining $2,000 of the credit, however, will be lost, because the IRS will not send you a refund for this amount.

Nonrefundable credits for tax year 2014 include the following:

• Credit for child and dependent care expenses.
• Child tax credit. Read more

2014 Tax Fears & Advice

With my family snugly content amidst a long holiday season I felt compelled to pen some thoughts regarding the ubiquitous United States Tax Code and all its myriad of seemingly scary changes looming around the proverbial corner. This post lists ten tax matters to be aware of in the new year that have come up in conversations with clients. It also offers four recommendations to minimize tax obligations that I’ve found myself repeatedly trumpeting whenever asked. And finishes with some quick reference tax facts.

Be Aware:

1. For 2013 the self-employment tax has reverted back to its normal 15.3% rate, and the limit for the Social Security portion of the tax has increased to $113,700. Read more

Developments in Individual Taxation – Part I

• The IRS issued proposed regulations permitting deductions for certain local lodging expenses.

• In Veriha, the Tax Court held that the Sec. 469 self-rental rule applied to a taxpayer who owned three companies, a trucking company and two truck-leasing companies, and thus the income from the S corporation truck-leasing company should be recharacterized as nonpassive, while the losses from his LLC truck-leasing company should remain passive.

• In Quality Stores, Inc., the Sixth Circuit held that severance payments paid to terminated employees as a direct result of a workforce reduction are not subject to FICA tax.

• In Rev. Rul. 2012-18, the IRS issued guidance about FICA taxes imposed on tips and the procedures for notice and demand for those taxes under Sec. 3121(q). Under Announcement 2012-50, the rules distinguishing between tips and service charges in the revenue ruling will not apply until 1/1/14.

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This article covers recent developments in individual taxation. The items are arranged in Code Section order and will be presented in Parts I, II and III.
Sec. 1: Tax Imposed

The First and Second Circuits found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional (1). The effect of Section 3 is to deny federal income tax benefits, such as filing joint income tax returns, to same-sex couples. The First Circuit stayed its mandate that Section 3 not apply pending a likely Supreme Court review. The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the Second Circuit case and will hear arguments on March 27.

Sec. 24: Child Tax Credit

Children of a U.S. citizen and her Israeli spouse, who were born and living in Israel, did not qualify as dependents under Sec. 152(b)(3), which states a dependent must be a citizen or resident of the United States (2).  Therefore, the child care and child tax credits under Sec. 21 and Sec. 24 were denied. The taxpayer also claimed that the IRS’s alternative argument that the credits were being denied because she did not file a joint return, as required by Sec. 21(e), was prohibited by Sec. 7522 because the notice of deficiency did not mention Sec. 21(e). The Tax Court noted Sec. 7522 does not require the IRS to identify all of the Code sections applicable to each tax adjustment.

Sec. 61: Gross Income Defined

In Notice 2012-12 (3) the IRS provides that mandatory restitution payments that victims receive from defendants under 18 U.S.C. Section 1593 (4) are excluded from income.

Sec. 104: Compensation for Injuries or Sickness

In Blackwood, (5) the taxpayer was terminated from her job for accessing her son’s medical records at the hospital where she worked. In the taxpayer’s unlawful termination suit, she indicated she suffered from a relapse of depression symptoms. The taxpayer received $100,000 and a Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, reporting the payment, but the taxpayer did not report it on her tax return because she believed it was excludable under Sec. 104.

The Tax Court held for the IRS that the damages were not excludable under Sec. 104(a)(2) even though the underlying action was based on a tort or tort-type right. The taxpayer was unable to show she received damages for physical injuries. A letter from her doctor did not note any physical symptoms. The flush language of Sec. 104(a) also did not help the taxpayer’s case because it states that “emotional distress shall not be treated as a physical injury or physical sickness.” She was also unable to benefit from Sec. 104(a) because she did not show that she used any of the damages for medical care for emotional distress.

Sec. 107: Rental Value of Parsonages

The Supreme Court declined to hear the taxpayer’s appeal in Driscoll (6).  This case involved how the word “a” in the Sec. 107 exclusion from gross income for the rental value of a parsonage should be interpreted when used in the phrase “a home.” Does that mean one home or could it mean two homes? The Tax Court held for the taxpayer, noting that “a home” could have a plural meaning. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit held for the IRS, noting that “home” has a singular meaning and that income exclusions should be construed narrowly.

Sec. 108: Income From Discharge of Indebtedness

In a case decided by the U.S. Tax Court, the taxpayers did not qualify to exclude income from discharged credit card debt under the exclusion for insolvency in Sec. 108(a)(1)(B) due to a lack of credible evidence presented regarding the fair market value (FMV) of their assets immediately before the discharge (7).  The evidence they submitted was insufficient to establish FMV for federal tax purposes because the documents (tax bills and loan documents) did not describe the property or explain the methodology used to determine the value, and their testimony regarding comparable sales was uncorroborated and was not based on contemporaneous sales.

Rev. Rul. 2012-14 (8) amplifies Rev. Rul. 92-53 (9)  and explains how partners treat a partnership’s discharged excess non-recourse debt in measuring insolvency under Sec. 108(d)(3). To the extent discharged excess non-recourse debt generates cancellation of debt (COD) income that is allocated under Sec. 704(b) and its regulations, each partner treats its part of the discharged excess non-recourse debt related to the COD income as a liability in measuring insolvency under Sec. 108(d).

In Letter Ruling 201228023, (10) the IRS found that a parent corporation’s bankruptcy plan was considered a liquidation plan for tax purposes. None of the debtors will recognize COD income with respect to any of the allowed claims until all distributions are made or if the bankruptcy plan ceases to be a liquidation plan.

Sec. 162: Trade or Business Expenses

After the IRS denied a taxpayer’s deduction for moving expenses, the taxpayer agreed but then tried a uniquely different approach in Tax Court (11).  He tried to claim meals, lodging, and lease cancellation fees as business expenses related to his employment as a restaurant chef. The IRS and the court both agreed that he had changed his tax home when he moved himself and his family and therefore no deduction was allowed.

The IRS issued proposed regulations (12) that would allow a deduction under Sec. 162 for certain local lodging expenses incurred by employers or their employees. The deduction would be allowed under a facts-and-circumstances test. One factor considered in the test is whether the expense is incurred to satisfy a bonafide requirement imposed by the employer. In addition, the regulations contain a safe harbor allowing the deduction in the following circumstances: (1) The lodging is necessary for the person to fully participate or be available for a bonafide business function; (2) it does not exceed five calendar days or occur more frequently than once a quarter; (3) the individual is an employee, and his or her employer requires him or her to remain at the function overnight; and (4) the lodging is not lavish or extravagant and provides no significant personal pleasure or benefit. A simplified version of these rules was already in effect under Notice 2007-47 (13) [which was made obsolete by these regulations].

DeLima (14) could be used as a teaching tool for all the ways taxpayers can fail to substantiate their Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, trade or business expenses. The court went through a top 10 list of problems with the claimed expenses including:

• Failure to provide credible evidence on the relative amount of business vs. personal use of her vehicles;

• Failure to establish a business purpose for various expenses, including insurance costs, furniture rental, or lawn maintenance;

• Failure to provide receipts or other proof of equipment purchases and rentals;

• Admitting that her rented home and apartment were entirely mixed personal/business use; and

• Failure to meet the strict substantiation requirements of Sec. 274(d) for travel and entertainment or listed property expenses.

In addition, the taxpayer tried to claim that the IRS examination was barred by statute, even though she had signed a Form 872, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax. This argument and her claim that she had signed the Form 872 under false pretenses were not raised until after the actual trial, and the court rejected them both.

Sec. 163: Interest

In Abarca, (15) the petitioner claimed mortgage interest expense deductions for various rental properties on Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss, some of which were purportedly owned in partnership with others. The petitioner was neither named as the borrower for any of the mortgages on these properties nor was he able to prove he was the properties’ legal or equitable owner. In addition, it was unclear whether the properties had been contributed to the various partnerships. It was also apparent that the partnership form was not respected as the petitioner reported the properties as if he owned them individually. In addition, the petitioner was unable to prove that he personally paid all of the interest that he claimed. The petitioner was denied the deductions for any of the mortgage interest claimed on Schedule E for the subject properties. The Tax Court held in Chrush (16) that the petitioner failed to substantiate payments of mortgage interest on Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, and home mortgage interest not reported on Form 1098. The petitioner co-owned the house with a close friend, but the amount reported on the Form 1098 issued to them was far lower than the deduction the petitioner claimed on his tax return, and no bank statements, canceled checks, or other evidence was produced to substantiate that he paid the claimed interest that was not reported on the Form 1098. In addition, the petitioner was unable to prove that he, and not his co-borrower, paid the interest reported on the Form 1098.

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by Karl L. Fava, CPA; Jonathan Horn, CPA; Daniel T. Moore, CPA; Susanne Morrow, CPA; Annette Nellen, J.D., CPA; Teri E. Newman, CPA; S. Miguel Reyna, CPA; Kenneth L. Rubin, CPA; Amy M. Vega, CPA; Donald J. Zidik Jr., CPA.

Edited and posted by Harold Goedde, CPA, CMA, Ph.D. (taxation and accounting)

Footnotes

1 Massachusetts v. United States Dep’t of Health and Human Servs., 698 F. Supp. 2d 234 (1st Cir. 2012); Windsor, No. 12-2335-cv(L) (2d Cir. 10/18/12), cert. granted, Sup. Ct. Dkt. 12-307 (U.S. 12/7/12).

2 Carlebach, 139 T.C. No. 1 (2012).

3 Notice 2012-12, 2012-6 I.R.B. 365.

4 Added by Section 112(a) of Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, P.L. 106-386.

5 Blackwood, T.C. Memo. 2012-190.

6 Driscoll, 669 F.3d 1309 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, Sup. Ct. Dkt. 12-153 (U.S. 10/1/12).

7  Shepherd. Memo. 2012-212.

8 Rev. Rul. 2012-14, 2012-24 I.R.B. 1012.

9 Rev. Rul. 92-53, 1992-2 C.B. 48.

10 IRS Letter Ruling 201228023 (7/13/12).

11 Newell, T.C. Summ. 2012-57.

12 REG-137589-07.

13 Notice 2007-47, 2007-1 C.B. 1393.

14 DeLima, T.C. Memo. 2012-291.

15 Abarca, T.C. Memo. 2012-245.

16 Chrush, T.C. Memo. 2012-299.

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