Making Work Pay Credit not likely to be extended

U.S. Capitol buildingCongress' effort to stimulate the economy included pushing through a series of tax breaks in 2009. The centerpiece of the legislation was the Making Work Pay Credit, which was intended to provide tax relief for working and middle class families. It may not last beyond this year.

The idea was to allow more taxpayers to have cash in their pocket during the year, as opposed to at tax time, by adjusting the amount of earned income withholding.



Under the current legislation, the maximum allowable credit is $400 for individuals and $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. The credit is figured at a rate of 6.2% of earned income. It phases out for individual taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income over $75,000 -- or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly; the phase out is at 2%, which means taxpayers who earn more than those limits still qualify for the credit, but will not receive the full amount. The credit is also refundable, so if you are due a credit that's larger than your tax liability, you qualify for a refund.

That's the good news. The bad news is that those taxpayers who benefited from the Making Work Pay Credit in 2009 and 2010 tax years should enjoy the extra dollars now, because the credit is likely not being extended to 2011 or beyond. As Congress battles it out over extending the Bush tax cuts, they also have to consider the cost of extending other tax credits. The Making Work Pay Credit is expected to cost an additional $600 billion over 10 years. The argument against extending the credit is that it's simply too expensive. Those in favor of extending the credit point out that the primary audience, the working middle class, has been the hardest hit during the recession.

It's not just a question of economics; it also boils down to political capital. The push to extend the so-called "Bush tax cuts" has gathered momentum over the past few months, while the notion of extending the "Obama tax cuts" has barely garnered any attention at all. The only thing that is clear is, semantics and politics aside, taxes are likely edging up next year.

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber’s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Video: The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Explained

Originally created to make sure the wealthy paid taxes even after using tax breaks and loopholes, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) has never been updated and continues to impact middle class Americans more and more each year as a result of inflation. To compensate for inflation, the AMT now includes an exemption amount. This exemption is indexed for inflation so it changes every year.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Should You and Your Spouse File Taxes Jointly or Separately?

Married couples have the option to file jointly or separately on their federal income tax returns. The IRS strongly encourages most couples to file joint tax returns by extending several tax breaks to those who file together. In the vast majority of cases, it's best for married couples to file jointly, but there may be a few instances when it's better to submit separate returns.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Tax Tips for New College Graduates

Before you climb that first rung of the career ladder, there are some basic rules to understand about income taxes. Think of it as Taxes 101.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story