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taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink1000176264

Credits(p14)


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After you have figured your taxable income and tax liability, you can determine if you are entitled to any tax credits. This publication discusses the making work pay credit, first-time homebuyer credit, child tax credit, earned income credit, and credit for excess social security tax withheld. For information on other credits, see your tax form instructions.
taxmap/pubs/p3-006.htm#en_us_publink1000238078

Making Work Pay Credit(p14)


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You may be able to take this credit if you have earned income from work. For purposes of this credit, your earned income includes any nontaxable combat pay you received. In other words, even though the combat pay is nontaxable, it is treated as earned income when you figure your making work pay credit. You cannot take the credit if:
Even if the federal income tax withheld from your pay was reduced because of this credit, you must claim the credit on your return to benefit from it.
The credit is 6.2% of your earned income but cannot be more than $400 ($800 if married filing jointly). The credit is reduced if your modified AGI is more than $75,000 ($150,000 if married filing jointly).
To take the credit, complete Schedule M (Form 1040A or 1040) and attach it to your Form 1040 or 1040A. Enter your credit on Form 1040, line 63, or Form 1040A, line 40. If you are filing Form 1040-EZ, you can take the credit on line 8 of that form and do not have to file Schedule M.
For more information, see the Schedule M instructions (or the instructions for Form 1040-EZ if you file that form).
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First-Time Homebuyer Credit(p14)


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In general, you can claim this credit if:
No credit is allowed for a home bought after April 30, 2010 (after June 30, 2010, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010). However, if you (or your spouse) are on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days after 2008 and before May 1, 2010, you have an extra year to buy a home and claim the credit. In other words, you must buy the home before May 1, 2011 (before July 1, 2011, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2011).
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Special rule for long-time residents of same main home.(p14)


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Even if you are not a first-time homebuyer, you may be able to claim the credit if:
  1. You buy a main home in the United States after November 6, 2009, and before May 1, 2010 (before July 1, 2010, if you entered into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010), and
  2. You (and, if you are married, your spouse) owned and used the same home as your main home for any period of 5 consecutive years during the 8-year period ending on the date of purchase of the home described in (1).
If you (or your spouse) are on qualified official extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days after 2008 and before May 1, 2010, the above dates are extended to May 1, 2011, and July 1, 2011, respectively.
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Amount of the credit.(p14)


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Generally, the credit is the smaller of: However, if the Special rule for long-time residents of same main home described earlier applies, the credit can be no more than $6,500 ($3,250 if married filing separately).
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Repayment of credit.(p14)


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If you bought the home in 2009 or 2010, you generally must repay the credit if you dispose of the home or the home stops being your main home within the 36-month period beginning on the purchase date. You repay the credit by including it as additional tax on the return for the year the home stops being your main home. If the home continues to be your main home for at least 36 months beginning on the purchase date, you do not have to repay any of the credit.
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Exceptions.(p14)
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The following are exceptions to the repayment rule.
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Home bought in 2008.(p15)
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You generally must repay any credit you claimed for a home you bought in 2008 and sold in 2009. There is an exception for members of the uniformed services or Foreign Service and for intelligence community employees if the home was sold in connection with Government orders received by that person (or his or her spouse) for qualified official extended duty service.
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How to take the credit.(p15)


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To take the credit, complete Form 5405 and attach it to your Form 1040. Enter your credit on Form 1040, line 67.
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How to repay the credit.(p15)


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If you are required to repay the credit, complete Parts III and IV of Form 5405. Attach the form to your Form 1040. Include the repayment on Form 1040, line 60. On the dotted line to the left of line 60, enter the amount of repayment and "FTHCR."
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More information.(p15)


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For more information, see Form 5405 and its instructions.
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Child Tax Credit(p15)


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The child tax credit is a credit that may reduce your tax by as much as $1,000 for each of your qualifying children.
The additional child tax credit is a credit you may be able to take if you are not able to claim the full amount of the child tax credit.
EIC
The child tax credit is not the same as the credit for child and dependent care expenses. See Publication 503 for information on the credit for child and dependent care expenses.
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Qualifying Child(p15)


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A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who:
  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild),
  2. Was under age 17 at the end of 2009,
  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for 2009,
  4. Lived with you for more than half of 2009 (see Exceptions to time lived with you, later),
  5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return,
  6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only as a claim for refund), and
  7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child, later.
For each qualifying child you must check the box on Form 1040 or Form 1040A, line 6c, column (4).
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Exceptions to time lived with you.(p15)


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A child is considered to have lived with you for all of 2009 if the child was born or died in 2009 and your home was this child's home for the entire time he or she was alive. Temporary absences by you or the child for special circumstances, such as school, vacation, business, medical care, military service, or detention in a juvenile facility, count as time the child lived with you.
There are also exceptions for kidnapped children and children of divorced or separated parents. For details, see Publication 501.
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Qualifying child of more than one person.(p15)


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A special rule applies if your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person. For details, see Publication 501.
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Adopted child.(p15)


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An adopted child is always treated as your own child. An adopted child includes a child lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national and your adopted child lived with you as a member of your household all year, that child meets condition (5) above to be a qualifying child for the child tax credit.
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Amount of Credit(p15)


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The maximum amount you can claim for the credit is $1,000 for each qualifying child.
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Limits on the credit.(p15)


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You must reduce your child tax credit if either (1) or (2), below, applies.
  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 46, or Form 1040A, line 28, is less than the credit. If the amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no tax to reduce. However, you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. See Additional Child Tax Credit, later.
  2. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status.
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Modified AGI.(p15)
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For purposes of the child tax credit, your modified AGI is the amount on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040A, line 22, plus the following amounts that may apply to you.
If you do not have any of the above, your modified AGI is the same as your AGI.
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Claiming the Credit(p16)


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To claim the child tax credit, you must file Form 1040 or Form 1040A. For more information on the child tax credit, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
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Additional Child Tax Credit(p16)


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This credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.
For more information, see the instructions for Form 1040 or Form 1040A, and Form 8812, Additional Child Tax Credit.
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Earned Income Credit(p16)


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The earned income credit (EIC) is a credit for certain persons who work. The credit reduces the amount of tax you owe (if any). It may also give you a refund.
EIC
If you claim the EIC and it is later disallowed, you may have to complete an additional form if you want to claim the credit in a following year. See chapter 5 in Publication 596 for more information, including how to claim the EIC after disallowance.
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Persons With a Qualifying Child(p16)


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Persons With a Qualifying Child

If you have a qualifying child (defined later), you must meet all the following rules to claim the earned income credit.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than:
    1. $43,279 ($48,279 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children, or
    2. $40,295 ($45,295 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children,
    3. $35,463 ($40,463 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child, or
    4. $13,440 ($18,440 for married filing jointly) if you do not have a qualifying child.
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. Your qualifying child cannot be used by more than one person to claim the credit. If your qualifying child is the qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person who can treat the child as a qualifying child. For details, see Rule 9 in Publication 596.
  6. You cannot file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, to exclude income earned in foreign countries, or to deduct or exclude a foreign housing amount. See Publication 54 for more information about these forms.
  7. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year. If you need more information about making this choice, see Resident Aliens, earlier.
  8. Your investment income must be $3,100 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  9. You must have a valid social security number for yourself, your spouse (if filing a joint return), and any qualifying child.
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How to report.(p16)


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If you meet all these rules, fill out Schedule EIC and attach it to either Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
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Qualifying child.(p16)


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Your child is a qualifying child if your child meets four tests. The four tests are:
  1. Relationship,
  2. Age,
  3. Residency, and
  4. Joint return.
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Relationship test.(p16)
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To be your qualifying child, a child must be your:
An adopted child is always treated as your own child. The term "adopted child" includes a child who was lawfully placed with you for legal adoption.
For the EIC, a person is your foster child if the child is placed with you by an authorized placement agency or by judgement, decree, or other order of any court of competent jurisdiction. An authorized placement agency includes a state or local government agency. It also includes a tax-exempt organization licensed by a state. In addition, it includes an Indian tribal government or an organization authorized by an Indian tribal government to place Indian children.
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Age test.(p17)
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Your child must be:
  1. Under age 19 at the end of 2009 and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly),
  2. Under age 24 at the end of 2009, a full-time student, and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), or
  3. Permanently and totally disabled at any time during 2009, regardless of age.
A full-time student is a student who is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance.
To qualify as a student, your child must be, during some part of each of any 5 calendar months during the calendar year:
  1. A full-time student at a school that has a regular teaching staff, course of study, and regular student body at the school, or
  2. A student taking a full-time, on-farm training course given by a school described in (1), or a state, county, or local government.
The 5 calendar months need not be consecutive.
A school can be an elementary school, junior or senior high school, college, university, or technical, trade, or mechanical school. However, on-the-job training courses, correspondence schools, and schools offering courses only through the Internet do not count as schools for the EIC.
Students who work in co-op jobs in private industry as a part of a school's regular course of classroom and practical training are considered full-time students.
Your child is permanently and totally disabled if both of the following apply.
  1. He or she cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.
  2. A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.
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Residency test.(p17)
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Your child must have lived with you in the United States for more than half of 2009.
The United States includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It does not include Puerto Rico or U.S. possessions such as Guam.
U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States during that duty period for purposes of the EIC. Extended active duty means you are called or ordered to duty for an indefinite period or for a period of more than 90 days. Once you begin serving your extended active duty, you are still considered to have been on extended active duty even if you do not serve more than 90 days.
A child who was born or died in 2009 is treated as having lived with you for all of 2009 if your home was the child's home the entire time he or she was alive in 2009.
Count time that you or your child is away from home on a temporary absence due to a special circumstance as time the child lived with you.
A kidnapped child is treated as living with you for more than half of the year if the child lived with you for more than half the part of the year before the date of the kidnapping. The child must be presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or your child's family. This treatment applies for all years until the child is returned. However, the last year this treatment can apply is the earlier of:
  1. The year there is a determination that the child is dead, or
  2. The year the child would have reached age 18.
If your qualifying child has been kidnapped and meets these requirements, enter "KC," instead of a number, on line 6 of Schedule EIC.
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Joint return test.(p17)
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To meet this test, the child cannot file a joint return for the year (unless the joint return is filed only as a claim for refund).
Even if your child does not file a joint return, if your child was married at the end of the year, he or she cannot be your qualifying child unless:
  1. You can claim the child's exemption, or
  2. The reason you cannot claim the child's exemption is that you gave that right to your child's other parent under the Special rule for divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart described in chapter 2 of Publication 596.
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Social security number.(p17)
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Your qualifying child must have a valid social security number (SSN) unless the child was born and died in 2009. You cannot claim the EIC on the basis of a qualifying child if:
  1. Your qualifying child's SSN is missing from your tax return or is incorrect,
  2. Your qualifying child's social security card says "Not valid for employment" and was issued for use in getting a federally funded benefit, or
  3. Instead of an SSN, your qualifying child has
    1. An individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), which is issued to a noncitizen who cannot get an SSN, or
    2. An adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN), which is issued to adopting parents who cannot get an SSN for the child being adopted until the adoption is final.
If you have more than one qualifying child and only one has a valid SSN, you can claim the EIC only on the basis of that one child.
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More information.(p18)


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For more information, see Publication 596.
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Persons Without a Qualifying Child(p18)


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Persons Without a Qualifying Child

If you do not have a qualifying child, you can take the credit if you meet all the following rules.
  1. You must have earned income (defined later).
  2. Your earned income and adjusted gross income must each be less than $13,440 ($18,440 for married filing jointly).
  3. Your filing status cannot be married filing separately.
  4. You cannot be a qualifying child of another person. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be a qualifying child of another person.
  5. You must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year. If filing a joint return, either you or your spouse must be at least age 25 but under age 65 at the end of the year.
  6. You cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return. If filing a joint return, your spouse also cannot be claimed as a dependent by anyone else on that person's return.
  7. Your main home must be in the United States for more than half the year. (U.S. military personnel stationed outside the United States on extended active duty are considered to live in the United States.)
  8. You cannot file Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income, or Form 2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
  9. You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien all year unless:
    1. You are married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien, and
    2. You choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year.
  10. Your investment income must be $3,100 or less during the year. For most people, investment income is taxable interest and dividends, tax-exempt interest, and capital gain net income.
  11. You (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) must have a valid social security number.
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How to report.(p18)


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If you meet all of these rules, fill out the EIC worksheet in your tax form instructions to figure the amount of your credit.
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More information.(p18)


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For more information, see Publication 596.
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Earned Income(p18)


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For purposes of the earned income credit, earned income includes the following.
For purposes of the earned income credit, earned income does not include:
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Nontaxable combat pay election.(p18)


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You can elect to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the earned income credit. If you make the election, you must include in earned income all nontaxable combat pay you received. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. The amount of your nontaxable combat pay should be shown on your Form W-2 in box 12 with code Q. Electing to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income may increase or decrease your EIC.
Figure the credit with and without your nontaxable combat pay before making the election. Whether the election increases or decreases your EIC depends on your total earned income, filing status, and number of qualifying children. If your earned income without your combat pay is less than the amount shown below for your number of children, you may benefit from electing to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income and you should figure the credit both ways. If your earned income without your combat pay is equal to or more than these amounts, you will not benefit from including your combat pay in your earned income.
The following examples illustrate the effect of including nontaxable combat pay in earned income for the EIC.
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Example 1—election increases the EIC.(p19)

George and Janice are married and will file a joint return. They have one qualifying child. George was in the Army and earned $11,000 ($5,000 taxable wages + $6,000 nontaxable combat pay). Janice worked part of the year and earned $2,000. Their taxable earned income and AGI are both $7,000. George and Janice qualify for the earned income credit and fill out the Earned Income Credit (EIC) Worksheet in the Form 1040A instructions and Schedule EIC.
When they complete the worksheet without adding the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,389. When they complete the EIC worksheet with the nontaxable combat pay added to their earned income, they find their credit to be $3,043. Because making the election will increase their EIC, they elect to add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income for the EIC. They enter $3,043 on line 41a of their Form 1040A and enter the amount of their nontaxable combat pay on line 41b.
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Example 2—election does not increase the EIC.(p19)

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except George had nontaxable combat pay of $20,000. When George and Janice add their nontaxable combat pay to their earned income, they find their credit to be $2,147. Because the credit they can get if they do not add the nontaxable combat pay to their earned income is $2,389, they decide not to make the election. They enter $2,389 on line 41a of their Form 1040A.
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IRS Will Figure Your Credit for You(p19)


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There are certain instructions you must follow before the IRS can figure the credit for you. See IRS Will Figure the EIC for You, in Publication 596.
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Advance Earned Income Credit(p19)


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If you expect to qualify for the earned income credit for 2010, you can choose to get part of the credit in advance by giving a completed 2010 Form W-5 to your appropriate finance office. The credit will be included regularly in your pay. To get this advance payment, you must have a qualifying child. For details, see Form W-5 and its instructions.
If you received advance earned income credit payments in 2009, you must file either Form 1040 or Form 1040A for 2009 to report the payments.
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Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld(p19)


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Credit for Excess Social Security Tax Withheld

Most employers must withhold social security tax from your wages. If you worked for two or more employers in 2009 and you earned more than $106,800, you may have had too much social security tax withheld. The maximum amount of social security tax that should have been withheld for 2009 is $6,621.60. You can claim the excess social security tax as a credit against your income tax.
EIC
All wages are subject to Medicare tax withholding.
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Railroad employer.(p19)


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If you work for a railroad employer, that employer must withhold tier 1 railroad retirement (RRTA) tax and tier 2 RRTA tax. See Excess Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tax Withholding in chapter 3 of Publication 505 for more information.
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Employer's error.(p19)


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If any one employer withheld too much social security tax, you cannot take the excess as a credit against your income tax. The employer should adjust the tax for you. If the employer does not adjust the overcollection, you can file a claim for refund using Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.
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Joint return.(p19)


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If you are filing a joint return, you cannot add the social security tax withheld from your spouse's wages to the amount withheld from your wages. Figure the withholding separately for you and your spouse to determine if either of you has excess withholding.
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How to figure the credit.(p19)


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Figure the credit as follows:
1.Add all social security tax withheld (but not more than $6,621.60 for each employer). Enter the total here             
2.Enter any uncollected social security tax on wages, tips, or group-term life insurance included in the total on Form 1040, line 61             
3.Add lines 1 and 2. If $6,621.60 or less, stop here. You cannot take the credit             
4.Social security tax limit 6,621.60
5.Credit. Subtract line 4 from line 3. Enter the result here and on Form 1040, line 65 (or Form 1040A, line 43)             
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How to take the credit.(p19)


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Enter the credit on Form 1040, line 69, or include it in the total for Form 1040A, line 44.