SOURCE: Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

March 03, 2016 10:42 ET

Jackson Hewitt® Offers Hardworking Americans Tips to Avoid Missing Tax Credits and Deductions

Encourages Review of Prior Returns to 'Find Lost Money'

JERSEY CITY, NJ--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2016) - Each year millions of hardworking Americans over pay their taxes by overlooking credits, missing deductions and leaving the IRS to hold more than $1 billion in unclaimed refunds. Jackson Hewitt® urges taxpayers not to let a knowledge gap stop them from getting the maximum refund they deserve. 

For anyone who self-prepared their returns, or even used another tax prep service, Jackson Hewitt suggests a review of 2012, 2013 and 2014 tax returns with one of their tax professionals. Taxpayers have up to three years from the filing deadline to amend a return and claim previously missed credits or deductions. 

"Major life changes affect the eligibility for specific credits and deductions. Without help, it's easy to miss them," said Mark Steber, Chief Tax Officer of Jackson Hewitt. "If there are mistakes or opportunities to increase the refund, Jackson Hewitt can prepare an amended return."

Jackson Hewitt offers a list of the most overlooked credits and deductions, based on life stage:

  • Students: The American Opportunity Deduction and Lifetime Learning Credits are worth up to $2,500 and are available for students attending a qualified college or trade school, based on enrollment status, tuition and fees paid, adjusted gross income, and filing status.

  • Single Parents: Filing as 'Head of Household' status offers a higher standard deduction and a lower tax rate than filing 'Single.' This is available for single or unmarried taxpayers who pay for more than half of the cost of maintaining a home and have a qualifying dependent.

  • Newlyweds: Couples who got married in 2015 can file a joint return, which is generally more advantageous.

    • Charitable donations: Those who were married at a place of worship or historical site may be able to donate an offering and claim it as a charitable contribution. Brides may even write off the fair market value of their wedding gown if they donate it.

  • Families may miss a host of credits, including:

    • Child Tax Credit: A credit of up to $1,000 per child under the age of 17.

    • Earned Income Tax Credit: One of the largest federal tax credits, worth up to $6,242 based on income and number of dependents, is overlooked by one in five who qualify.

    • Child and Dependent Care Credit: A credit of up to $2,100 assists with the cost of daycare for dependents while an individual works. Qualifying dependents include children under 13 and elderly family members who are no longer able to care for themselves.

  • Homeowners: Don't wait until mortgage interest and real estate taxes are bigger than the standard deduction to itemize deductions. These items, and more, can be itemized:

    • Energy-saving upgrades: Earth-friendly home improvements -- like energy-efficient windows or insulation -- could be eligible for a tax credit up to $500. 

    • Tax preparation fees: Enlist the help of a tax professional and deduct the cost of tax preparation on Schedule A.

  • Planning for Retirement: Don't miss the 'Saver's Credit' of up to $1,000 per person for contributing to a pension plan or 401(k). Many people contribute to these accounts, but then forget to claim this credit.

    • For those born in 1950: People who turned 65 by the end of the tax year, or 12/31/15, are entitled to a higher standard deduction. However, they should still review expenses during the tax year to determine if itemizing deductions would be more beneficial than taking the standard deduction. 

  • Non-Filers: Each year, nearly one million Americans are not required to file taxes. However, this can be a big mistake, as they may qualify for a refund on their taxes paid, as well as other credits or deductions. 

To make an appointment or to find the nearest location, visit www.JacksonHewitt.com or call 1 (800) 234-1040.

About Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. is the fastest-growing full-service tax preparation company, with a mission of offering its hard-working clients access to simple, low-cost solutions to manage their taxes and tax refunds. With more than 25,000 Tax Professionals, Jackson Hewitt is devoted to helping clients get ahead with Maximum Refund and 100% Accuracy Guarantees. Jackson Hewitt is convenient, with approximately 6,300 franchised and company-owned locations, including 3,000 Walmart locations, and online and mobile tax solutions. For more information about products, services and offers, or to locate your neighborhood Jackson Hewitt office, visit www.JacksonHewitt.com or call 1 (800) 234-1040.

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