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Fundranker Blog—Making Work Pay Tax Credit for 2009 and 2010

Making Work Pay Tax Credit for 2009 and 2010

The Making Work Pay tax credit for tax years 2009 and 2010 came about as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed into law by President Obama in February, 2009, to help stimulate the economy in the depths of the Great Recession.

Under the Making Work Pay tax credit, working people are supposed to receive up to $400 per year ($800 for married taxpayers filing jointly) of a refundable credit against their federal taxes. Refundable means that if any remains after it is applied against your tax, it will result in a tax refund. The Making Work Pay credit begins being phased out for single taxpayers at an AGI of $75,000 and for married taxpayers filing jointly at an AGI $150,000.

The whole idea of this tax credit was to get money in the hands of working people as soon as possible so they could spend it and stimulate the economy, so withholding tax tables were changed as of April 1, 2009, and workers started receiving a little bit more take home pay for the remainder of the year. Those little bits, over the last nine months of 2009, as well as over the entire 12 months of 2010, should add up to about $400 ($800 for married taxpayers filing jointly).

When you fill out your 2009 federal tax return, and you get down to the Payments section of your Form 1040, you’ll put down your withholding, which should be about $400 ($800 for married taxpayers filing jointly) less than it would have been had the tax credit not existed, and then you’ll also put down $400 ($800 for married taxpayers filing jointly) for the tax credit. So your tax payments should add up to about the same amount as they would have had the tax credit not existed, but Uncle Sam contributed $400 ($800 for married taxpayers filing jointly) of it for you. He just gave the credit to you a little at a time during the year instead of giving it to you all at once when you file your tax return.

A few taxpayers may find that their employers cut their withholding too much during 2009. If you have more than one job, or you and your spouse both work, remember that your different employers are unaware of your income from the others. They simply look up your payroll withholding according to the number of allowances on your W-4 form. It was up to you to make sure that you claimed the appropriate number of allowances on your 2009 Form W-4 so that your employers didn’t cut your withholding too much during the year. If you are unpleasantly surprised at how this works out on your 2009 tax return, make sure you update your 2010 Form W-4 right away.

Posted 4/1/10 7:20pm ET in Tax Tips

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