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Are you getting the most of your refund?
Saturday, March 16, 2013 5:00 AM
It's no secret that tax returns can be confusing. But it can be difficult to keep track of what refunds you should be getting. Here's a look at a few refunds
you may qualify for:
* Dependent exemptions. A dependent is defined as a relative, typically a child, parent or spouse, who relys on you for financial support. Exemptions for dependents are $3,800. But the exemption extends beyond those three types of relatives. Qualifying relaties can be included in this category, which could include a long-distance relative or a friend who has been sleeping on your couch.
* Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a credit for low- to middle- income workers. Certain requirements must be met before the tax credit can be applied. It's estimated that a family with three dependents who doesn't claim the Earned Income Tax Credit could lose out on $5,891.
* Child and dependent care credit. If you work and pay for child care for dependents younger than 13 years old, you may qualify for up to $2,100 in deductions.
* Charitable donations. Any donations made to charity can be deducted from taxes, but there are also other deductions that can result from charitable work. You can deduct 14 cents per mile, parking costs and tolls directly related to charity work. Non-cash donations such as furniture or vehicles are also tax-deductible.
* Job search expenses. If you were looking for a new job in 2012, you may be able to deduct costs related to job search, such as the cost of resumes, employment agency fees, postage, and even travel expenses. The expenses must be directly related to your job search and the positions you sought must be in the same line of work as your previous job.
* Moving expenses. Even though job-hunting expenses for your first job are not deductible, you can deduct your moving expenses for your first job. Your job must be at least 50 miles away from your old home. If you meet the time and distance test, you can deduct the cost of getting yourself and your household goods to the new area. You can even deduct the cost of moving your pet.
* Previous state tax liability. If you paid previous state tax liabilities in 2012, the amount paid can be added to the state income taxes withheld from your paycheck for an even larger tax deduction.
The IRS reports there is about $1 billion in unclaimed returns from 2009 that will be kept by the government if not claimed by this year's tax deadline.
This happens when people do not file their taxes because they believe they don't owe any money and will not be receiving a tax refund. There is no late penalty for filing a late return if you are owed a refund.
So there is about $1 billion in unclaimed returns that could vanish if not claimed.
If you haven't filed your 2010 or 2011 returns, the U.S. government could continue to hold those returns until the more recent returns are filed.
Current debts you may owe could also be paid off using any unclaimed refunds.
In Indiana, 20,300 people have unclaimed refunds from 2009. The median return is worth $592 and the total for the state is $17,547.
In Kentucky, 11,300 people have not claimed their refunds from their 2009 tax returns. The median refund for them is $578. Statewide there are $9,552 in unclaimed refunds.
Nationwide, 984,400 people have unclaimed refunds, with the median return being $569. The total in returns is $917,426.
If you are unsure whether or not you are owed any money, first be sure you have filed your taxes from 2009. If you still aren't sure, consult with a tax expert who can tell you whether or not you owe anything.
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