Tax credit cheat sheet
This tax filing season you want to be sure to get all the breaks and credits you can. Gerri gives her timely tips.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Here are some tax credits you don't want to miss. Now, keep in mind that a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability as opposed to a deduction, which lowers your taxable income.
1. $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit
You can claim the credit on your 2008 or 2009 tax return if you buy a house this year before Dec. 1, 2009.
There are income limitations here. This credit phases out for joint filers with income of more than $150,000 and single filers with income above $75,000.
2. Real estate deduction for non-itemizers
You can deduct up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples filing jointly. In the past these deductions were only available for itemizers.
3. Second chance at stimulus payment
If you didn't receive the full amount of economic stimulus payment last year -- $600 for singles, $1,200 for married couples, plus $300 for each qualifying child -- you may qualify for the remainder as a tax credit on your 2008 returns.
This might have happened if your financial situation was different in 2008 from 2007. For example you may have lost your job; perhaps you had a baby or adopted a child last year, and you would be eligible for the $300 credit.
4. Flood victims can file later