RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - W-2s are starting to arrive and if you're eager to get you refund, you'll want to file sooner than later. But don't rush it -- or you might miss some crucial deductions and tax credits that put money back in your pocket.
Starting with your home, if you made energy efficient home improvements you get a tax credit equal to 10% of what you spent, up to $500. Check energystar.gov to see what qualifies. If you installed any wind or solar, it goes up to 30%. If you moved more than 50 miles for work, you can deduct those moving expenses. Many homeowners refinanced their loan in 2014. The points paid on that loan are also deductible.
College is not cheap and there are ways to write it off. Students can deduct interest on their loans, up to $2,500 a year. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is available for the first four years of education with a maximum of $2,500 each year. The Lifetime Learning Credit helps those taking classes to acquire or improve job skills. There's no limit to how many years you can claim it and it's worth up to $2,000 a year. If parents are helping you pay for school, you can deduct it because it's your debt, not theirs. It's important to note you cannot be claimed as someone's dependent to get any of these credits for education.
If you paid for your kid's summer camp so you could work, deduct it, as long your child is under 13 and it wasn't overnight.
If you earned $52,427 or less, you can claim The Earned Income Tax Credit. Even if you don't need to file a return, you may qualify, but you have to put in the paperwork to get it.
And don't forget your good deeds. Whether you baked cookies for the school, drove meals to the elderly or took a foster animal to the vet, it's all deductible.
The IRS is very clear with what can and can't be claimed.