TAX CREDITS FOR WORKING FAMILIES COULD BE WORTH THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO YOU
“As working families in Oregon start to prepare their tax returns this year, they need to know they may be eligible for federal and state tax credits worth thousands of dollars,” said Nina Roll, Director of Family Care Connection’s Child Care Resource & Referral program at Oregon State University Extension Service. “Families are facing incredible economic pressures, and can’t afford to leave this money on the table.”
Federal and state tax credits can help offset the cost of child care and other expenses for working families. or 2011, families may be eligible for a number of federal tax credits, including:
* Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps provide a wage supplement for low and moderate-income families (those earning less than $49,078 annually). This credit is worth up to $5,751, and is refundable.
* Child Tax Credit, designed to help families offset some of the costs of raising children. This credit is worth up to $1,000 per child. Families who owe little or no income tax can receive some or all of this credit as a refund if they earned at least $3,000 in 2011.
* Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, designed to offset some of the child or dependent care costs that families incur in order to work. This credit is worth up to $2,100, though the amount that can be claimed is limited by a family’s federal income tax liability.
In addition, Oregon also offers:
Oregon Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, worth up to $1,800;
Oregon Working Family Child Care Tax Credit, a refundable credit worth up to 40% of qualifying child care expenses; and
Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit, also refundable and worth up to $345.
“These credits can help families in Oregon make ends meet, but they must file a tax return to claim the credits,” Roll said. “Our goal is to help more families learn about the benefits of these tax credits, so they don’t miss out.”
Find out where you can get FREE help with your taxes by calling the IRS toll-free at (800) 906-9887. Or go to www.irs.gov. You can also contact the AARP Tax-Aide toll-free at (888) AARP-NOW or (888) 227-7669.
New Year Brings $118 Million Tax Cut for Oregon’s Wealthiest
Provided by Oregon Center for Public Policy
A tax cut for Oregon’s wealthiest taxpayers that will cost $118 million this budget period will take effect in the new year, unless lawmakers vote to extend the temporary top marginal income tax rates put into effect by Measure 66.
“This is not the time to allow a tax cut to Oregon’s most fortunate taxpayers,” said Chuck Sheketoff, executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “That money should instead be used to shore up the budget to prevent further cuts to education, health and human services and public safety.”
New Year Brings $118 Million Tax Cut for Oregon’s Wealthiest (PDF)
The tax cut set to take effect on January 1 is the result of how lawmakers drafted the law that became Measure 66, which was referred to voters and approved in a January 2010 special election.
Measure 66 temporarily raised the top marginal tax rate from 9 percent to 10.8 percent for couples making between $250,000 and $500,000, and to 11 percent for couples making more than $500,000. The new top rates apply only to the income received above those levels and impact only about 3 percent of Oregon taxpayers.
For both of these income groups, the top marginal tax rates will go down to 9.9 percent on January 1.
“When the 2009 legislature scheduled the end of the higher rates, they expected the economy to be in much stronger shape than it is now,” said Sheketoff. “With the sluggish national recovery and the state still struggling with a revenue shortfall, letting the top rates go down is a mistake.”
Though the country’s recovery from the deepest recession in decades has been slow, by some measures Oregon’s economy has performed better than the national economy with the temporary higher tax rates in place, according to Sheketoff. He cited, for example, an economic index produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and referenced in the most recent state economic forecast, which shows Oregon’s economy outperforming all other western states and ranking sixth best in the nation over the past year.
The legislature will have an opportunity to keep the higher top marginal tax rates in place when it convenes in February 2012. Declining revenue forecasts since the legislature adjourned last June has lawmakers considering cuts to public services.
“Cuts to schools, health care, child care and other public structures don’t create prosperity or rebuild our middle class,” said Sheketoff. “Investments in our people and state lay the foundation for a brighter future.”
The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a non-partisan research institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax and economic issues. The Center’s goal is to improve decision making and generate more opportunities for all Oregonians.
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An initiative recently passed by the voters raised taxes on the wealthiest Oregonians to prevent massive cuts to programs for schools, the poor and the disabled. However, those cuts are being partially restored starting at the first of the new year which was also laid out in that initiative. It means although the state’s fiscal problems are just as bad as they were then, the tax cuts will, none the less, take effect.
When a political entity like a city or county charges a property management firm more for a business license because they manage a lot of properties, does that constitute an illegal tax? A circuit court judge in Portland said no. But the State Court of Appeals Friday overruled the lower court by declaring that such a tax escalator based on “income levels” of a real estate firm is not legal and ordered the city of Portland to refund the illegal “overage.”
How this latest ruling might affect Newport’s business license ordinance as applied to local property management firms like Dolphin Realty, Yaquina Bay Properties and Mishey Real Estate remains unclear. The city’s attorney and others will be studying the ruling with an eye to seeing if the city of Portland appeals the case to the State Supreme Court.
But in the meantime, the ruling caught the eye of Newport Finance Director David Marshall who immediately conferred with city officials and announced that the city will drop it’s “business license surcharge” on the property management firms while it revamps its entire business license ordinance. Marshall also said the ruling will certainly add to the discussions with the firms and the city attorney when they meet for a workshop on the issue at city hall September 19th. Dolphin Realty, Yaquina Bay Properties, and Mishey Real Estate have protested the graduated business license fee based on the number of housing or commercial properties they manage, which they view as constituting a graduated tax based on income.
The Newport property management firms contend that they should be subject to no more than the same flat rate business license fee as any other business, with a slight surcharge indexed for the number of employees. They have protested vehemently an additional escalator that was imposed by the city for the number of residential and commercial units they manage on behalf of their client property owners which they claim is at the heart of Friday’s State Court of Appeals ruling. One school of thought suggests that any property that is income property is, in fact, a business, and so should be subject to a business license fee (or tax as some call it), and that it should be paid by the property owner not the property manager.
We’ll see what they all come up with at their September 19th workshop at city hall.