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What Credits and Deductions Am I Missing on My 2011 Tax Return?

These credits and deductions could get you a refund back for 2011 taxes

You can still get a refund from 2011 with the help of these credits and deductions

With the 2013 tax season in full swing, everyone’s worried about 2012 taxes. But don’t forget about 2011 taxes, especially if you forgot about them last year!

Did you know you could still get a refund from 2011? That’s right. Think of how wonderful this month would be if you got back two refunds instead of one.

The only way to get your maximum 2011 refund is with the help of credits and deductions. But with the tax code changing – often dramatically – from year to year, they can be hard to keep track of. Here are the most important credits and deductions you need to worry about for 2011.

Dependents

Everyone knows that dependents can be a valuable addition to your tax return because they give you an additional personal exemption. But they can also get you these valuable credits:

  • Child Tax Credit – You can claim a credit worth $1,000 for every qualifying child who was under age seventeen at the end of 2011. The credit starts to phase out at $75,000 for single filers, $110,000 for married filing jointly, and $55,000 for married filing separately.
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit – If you paid money for someone to take care of your kids under age thirteen while you worked or looked for work then you can get a credit for 20-35% of those expenses up to $6,000. Exactly how much you get depends on your level of income.

Education

  • American Opportunity Credit – If you were a student in your first fours years of college during 2011, you can claim a credit of up to $2,500 for what you spend on tuition and other educational expenses. You get 100% of the first $2,000 you spend and 25% of the next $2,000 for a grand (possible) total of $2,500. This credit phases out starting at $80,000 for single filers and $160,000 for married filing jointly.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit – If you were in a different phase of post-secondary education or in courses to acquire or improve job skills you could get a credit of up to $2,000. As with many other credits, this one phases out at $60,000 for single filers and $120,000 for married filing jointly.
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction – If you can’t take the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit, you may be able to deduct $4,000 worth of tuition and fees. For a MAGI between $65,001 and $80,000 for single filers and $130,001 and $160,000 for married filing jointly the deduction is reduced to $2,000.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions

  • Medical Expenses – Only people with fairly huge medical expenses will be able to take advantage of this one. In order to claim a deduction your medical expenses must be greater than 7.5% of your AGI.
  • Mileage – You can deduct a certain amount for the miles you drove for business, medical, moving, and charitable expenses.

You can only claim a refund for your 2011 taxes until April 15, 2015. After that your money’s gone forever, so don’t procrastinate. File your 2011 tax returns now.

Photo via Vince Alongi on Flickr.

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