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Taxpayers benefit from recovery act



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SALT LAKE CITY - The deadline to file income tax returns is about two weeks away. This year, taxpayers could be entitled to extra benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act recently signed by President Obama.

"There's a lot of opportunities built into this act," said Steven Moore, district manager for tax company H&R Block.

A provision that gives a tax credit to new homebuyers is getting a lot of attention. Those who bought a home for the first time last year can receive a $7,500 credit that is actually an interest-free loan that needs to be paid back over 15 years. Those who bought a new home after Jan. 1 are entitled to an $8,000 credit that doesn't need to be paid back.

For parents who have been hit hard by economic times, the government has lowered the amount they must earn in order to qualify for the refundable child tax credit.

"Previously it had been over $11,000 you had to make above before you get the refundable child tax credits. For 2008 it was lowered to $8,500. For 2009 and 2010, it's lowered to $3,000," Moore explained.

There are other ways to benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Students also get a break, as well as homeowners who made energy-efficient improvements to their home.

There is a deduction for sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles through 2009. The deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions. Purchases before Feb. 17, 2009, are not eligible for this special deduction.

The deduction is limited to the tax on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of an eligible motor vehicle. The deduction is phased out for joint filers with modified adjusted gross income between $250,000 and $260,000 and other taxpayers with modified AGI between $125,000 and $135,000.

E-mail: spark@ksl.com

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Shara Park

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