With the advent of the new calendar year 2009, I am happy to announce
3 benefits, which are either brand-new or "newly improved" for this
year. Two are from the IRS [US taxpayers], while the third is from
Mas Hachnasa, the Israeli Tax Authority.
1. CHILD TAX CREDIT: This [2008 tax] year's "threshold" or
"deductible" has been reduced to $8,500 [down from $11,750 for 2007]!
Even with no tax liability, you may be eligible to receive a refund
of up to $1,000 per child, based on the amount over the "deductible"
which is credited at 15%. Children have to be under 17 years of age,
and have a valid Social Security number. Income of both parents
counts towards the credit, and only one of them needs to have US
Citizenship. Single parents can also receive this credit. You may
also claim this credit retroactively for the tax years 2005-2007. The
return for the year 2005 must be filed by April 15, 2009.
2. REBATES: Last year's [tax year 2007] rebates, known as the
Economic Stimulus Payments, has been restructured for 2008 and is now
called "Recovery Rebate Credit." If you MISSED your rebate in 2007,
by filing after Oct. 15, 2008 [or for any other reason], you can
still get it when you file your 2008 tax return. It is still $300 per
person, including each parent [with a US Social Security number] and
children under 17 with Social Security numbers. Unlike last year, it
is now included as a credit on this year's tax return, and will be
added to your refund check [or direct deposit].
3. ISRAEL ONLY - NEW "NEGATIVE INCOME TAX" [Mas Shlili] or Earned
Income Credit: For low-income earners in Israel, there is, for the
first time, a credit where even the ISRAELI government is paying
money to taxpayers! If you earned NIS 3,000 or less per month, you
can receive a refund from Mas Hachnasa. This can be obtained from as
early as the year 2007. However, the program is being "phased in,"
meaning that not all areas are included in the first year of
benefits. Jerusalem and Netanya are included. Eventually, it will
Yitzchak Dorfman, CPA