Mommy Minute: How parents can maximize their tax return

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The tax deadline is looming, as returns must be filed by April 17.
 
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you are making the most of your deductions and tax credits, especially tax credits that relate to kids.
 
Did you adopt a child in 2017?  You can get a tax credit for expenses like adoption fees, attorney fees and any travel expenses.  The tax credit is $13,570 per child but make sure you keep receipts and good records as this tax credit is highly scrutinized.
 
Did you need child care in 2017?  You may qualify for this tax credit as well, up to $3,000 per child under the age of 13 and $6,000 for two or more children.  The credit is a percentage of the amount spent on child care and decreases as income increases.
 
Do you have kids under the age of 17?   You may qualify for the Child Tax Credit.  It’s up to $1,000 per child, but being eligible for the tax credit is based on your income.
 
Did you have kids in college in 2017?  You may qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit.  The credit is worth up to $2,500 per student for each of the first four years of college, but again, eligibility is based on income.
 
The good thing about tax credits versus deductions; a tax credit is more valuable than a deduction because it delivers a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax bill.
 
Experts also warn not to overlook student loan interest deductions.  Parents can deduct interest payments on certain student loans. 
 
These kid-friendly tax breaks can greatly reduce your tax bill so you get to keep the cash instead of giving it to Uncle Sam.  Tax returns are usually due on April 15 but since the 15th falls on a Sunday this year and Washington, D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16, the tax filing deadline has been bumped to April 17.

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