A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Some tax credits are refundable meaning if you are eligible and claim one, you can get the rest of it in the form of a tax refund even after your tax liability has been reduced to zero.

Here are four refundable tax credits you should consider to increase your refund on your 2011 federal income tax return:

  1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is for people earning less than $49,078 from wages, self-employment or farming. Millions of workers who saw their earnings drop in 2011 may qualify for the first time. Income, age and the number of qualifying children determine the amount of the credit, which can be up to $5,751. Workers without children also may qualify. For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.
  2. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is for expenses paid for the care of your qualifying children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, while you work or look for work. For more information, see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  3. The Child Tax Credit is for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child. You can claim this credit in addition to the Child and Dependent Care Credit. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.
  4. The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, also known as the Saver's Credit, is designed to help low-to-moderate income workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is below a certain limit and you contribute to an IRA or workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. The Saver's Credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply. For more information, see IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

There are many other tax credits that may be available to you depending on your facts and circumstances. Since many qualifications and limitations apply to various tax credits, you should carefully check your tax form instructions, the listed publications and additional information available at www.irs.gov. IRS forms and publications are available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov and by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

TaxACT walks you through these credits and hundreds of other tax breaks for your biggest federal refund – guaranteed. Start your return or order your software now.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

August 10 Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during July, report them to your employer - Details

August 10 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the second quarter of 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

August 12 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of July.

August 14 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of July.

August 17 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in July.

August 17 Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in July.

August 26 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of July.

August 28 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of August.

August 31 Heavy highway vehicle use tax
File Form 2290 and pay the tax for vehicles first used in July.

August 31 Wagering tax
File Form 730 and pay the tax on wagers accepted during July.

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