Life Times Newsletter

Winter 2006
Vol. 8, No. 1

Tax Year 2005: Credits for people who work

Sandra McKinnon, MS
Family Financial Education Specialist

    Sizeable tax credits exist for working families—especially those with children—but as many as 10 percent of eligible Missouri families do not file for them.      
    Three Federal tax credits are available to low- and moderate-income families. The credits’ rules differ, but many families may qualify for all three by filing IRS Form 1040 or 1040A. Low-income families who are not required to file a tax return might greatly benefit from doing so.
    The Child Tax Credit is a federal tax credit worth up to $1000 per child. Millions of families became eligible last year even if they owed no taxes.
    Generally, the 2005 Child Tax Credit is available to a single or married worker who:

·    is able to claim a child under age 17 as a dependent.

·    has either a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

    The Child Tax Credit first is used to reduce or eliminate a family’s income tax bill. Any that remains comes back as a refund. The total size of the credit depends on the amount by which the family income is over $11,000.
    The Earned Income Credit is a tax benefit for low- to moderate-income workers raising at least one “qualifying child” at home—and some childless workers. The credit reduces tax burden,  supplements wages, and makes work more attractive than public benefits. The

credit can mean up to $2,662 for workers raising one child in their home, or up to $4,400 for workers raising more than one child. Although children must meet residency requirements, a child does not have to be claimed as a dependent to qualify a worker. A qualifying child must be under age 19, or under 24 if in school full-time, or totally disabled at any age.

Taxpayers can qualify who:

·      have one child and family income under $31,030 (or $33,030 for married workers); or

·      have more than one child and family income below $35,263 (or $37,263 for married workers).

Workers between ages 25 and 64 with income below $11,750 (or $13,750 for married workers) and do not have children can qualify for up to $399.

To claim the credit, you must:

·      file IRS Schedule EIC.

Many workers with stable, predictable incomes can benefit from receiving advance payments to help with groceries, paying rent or other day-to-day expenses. Visit your human resources office.
    The Child and Dependent Care Credit  helps families pay for childcare they need to work or look for work. It also helps workers pay for care of a spouse or adult dependent who is incapable of self-care. It can offset taxes taken out as payroll withholding and cover what is still owed at the end of the year, depending on the size of the credit. In most cases, the credit can only be claimed for a child who is claimed as a dependent, but special rules apply for children of divorced or separated parents.
      A credit up to $1050 for families with one child or dependent in care, or up to $2100 for families with more than one in care, is available. |

Families can claim this credit if:

Adapted from “Tax Credits for People Who Work,” by Brenda Procter, MS, Consumer & Family Economics, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 11/1/05,

For more information:

Internal Revenue Service., 1-800-TAX-1040.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Some Missouri communities have Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites where low- to moderate-income families can get tax returns filled out free and filed electronically. For a site nearest you, visit

More tax articles.


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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller