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Don’t Miss Out on Tax Savings

Many Tax Credits Available to Long Islanders

Senator Kemp Hannon is reminding you to review this end of the year savings checklist, to make sure you don’t miss out on your savings.

1. Homeowners Tax Credit - If you are a first-time homeowner who bought a house in 2009, you can receive a tax credit of up to $8,000. Perhaps you’re not a first time homebuyer? Well, if you buy a house on or after Nov. 7, 2009 and prior to May 1, 2010, you can qualify for a credit worth $6,500.

2. STAR (school tax relief) Program – You must have filed your STAR application by Dec. 31, 2009 to ensure that you will get your savings. The School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most owner-occupied, primary residences. The exemption consists of two parts: (1) a “Basic” exemption available to virtually all New Yorkers who own their own one, two, or three family home, condominium, cooperative apartment or mobile home; and (2) an “Enhanced” exemption available to senior citizens (age 65 and older) with yearly incomes of $74,700 or less. If you are already receiving the Basic STAR exemption or have been participating in the Enhanced STAR Income Verification Program, there is no need to re-file.

3. Tuition Tax Credits - Are you or your children heading to college? Then take advantage of the newly expanded American Opportunity Tax Credit. Those who spend more than $4,000 in a single year on their education will get a $2,500 tax credit, which is 40 percent refundable (up to $1,000 cash back). The credit begins to phase out for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes over $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing jointly.

 4. Newlyweds and New Children Credits - If you got married, had a baby or adopted a child in 2009, you may be eligible for a personal exemption worth $3,650 for each member of your newly expanded family. For 2009, the tax exemptions for married couples filing together start to get partially phased out at adjusted gross incomes of $250,200, $125,100 for married filing separately, and for heads of households, $208,500.

5. Purchased a Car in 2009 Tax Credit - If you buy a new vehicle after Feb. 17, 2009, and before 2010, you can get a tax deduction for the state and local sales tax. The deduction is for new vehicles costing up to $49,500, and the benefit begins to phase out for individuals with a modified adjusted income of $125,000 ($250,000 if married filing jointly). You may claim this benefit on your 2009 tax return even if you do not itemize.      

6. Home Improvements Credit – Did you make any “green” improvements to your primary home this year? If so, you may be eligible for a residential energy property credit, which is capped at 30 percent of the price of certain qualifying improvements, such as energy-efficient windows and doors to several home heating systems. The credit is available for 2009 and 2010, up to a combined maximum of $1,500.

If you have any questions or need assistance regarding any of these tax credits, call Senator Hannon’s community office at 739-1700 and visit his website at www.kemphannon.com.