Take Advantage of the New Tax Regulations and Get a Larger Refund College Students Married, Children

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Byline: Anna Marie Kukec For Reflejos

After the stock market crash last fall, a tough economy and layoffs, whipsawed taxpayers now are facing the dreaded annual tax season.

So youAEre not too eager to jump on those forms yet? Think again.

You should be aware of some tax regulations or changes that could help put a few more dollars into your pocket, experts said.

This year, new items such as the Recovery Rebate Credit and the First-Time Homebuyer Credit are available, said William E. Dever Jr., principal with Oak Brook-based JMG Financial Group Ltd.

"Some of these tax credits are getting to be like college scholarships," said Dever. "They are out there, but you have to know they exist and how to file to take advantage of them."

There are several credits and deductions that taxpayers of all groups should be aware of, said IRS spokeswoman Sue Hales said.

Today, weAEll look at some possibilities for college students and married couples with children. FridayAEs article will focus on singles, people of all ages and senior citizens.

* Take advantage of education credits like the Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. If the level of the parentAEs income is too high to qualify for these credits, the parent can forgo claiming the student as a dependent. Often the benefits of claiming the exemption are phased out anyway, and the student may then be eligible to claim the credit, Dever said.

The Hope Credit applies only for the first two years of postsecondary education, such as college or vocational school. It does not apply to graduate and professional-level programs. It can be worth up to $1,500 per eligible student, per year.

YouAEre allowed 100 percent of the first $1,000 of qualified tuition and related fees paid during the tax year, plus 50 percent of the next $1,000.

The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses, including instruction to acquire or improve job skills. …