A $100,000 gift from the government is a long shot, but it might be worth chasing to make a difference. There are two types of free money available under the new law: the federal government’s Basic Annual Allowance, which is for single people up to $90,000, and the Child Tax Credit that, for single parents up to $10,000, is available with the federal refundable tax credit.
The BAA is a guaranteed income supplement for people making less than about $30,000 annually, and benefits about a quarter of single people and about a quarter of families. In 2013, the program cost taxpayers $23 billion.
The child credit, however, is a refundable, income-based child tax credit that currently only goes to families on the government’s earned income tax credit. The idea behind the federal credit, which was introduced in 1975, is not to give everyone a $100,000-plus grant, but to provide an income-earning alternative that would also give families a way to supplement their incomes. More than half of the households in the top 10 percent of income earners now receive the credit, according to one recent study.
So does this mean that if your income is too high to qualify for more than one of the programs, you could be entitled to a $100,000 tax refund? No, it’s more complicated than that. For one thing, while the Basic Annual Allowance and the child credit are “unconditional” programs that pay out money if you get any of them, the Child Tax Credit only pays out if you get more than the total amount of benefits. So don’t be in despair just yet. There are lots of ways for you to be eligible for either the BAA or the Child Tax Credit.
For instance, one thing anyone could do to qualify is get married and file a joint tax return. In the past, the federal government has only paid Child Tax Credits of about $200 million a year, which leaves a lot of other benefits that make it worth looking for other avenues.
What’s really important to keep in mind, when it comes to tax credits like the BAA and the Child Tax Credit, is that the federal government only gives this money to people who make less than about $35,000. The amounts that this $200 million gets to people’s hands vary widely. But the important thing all the numbers have in common is that the amount is not equal to the amount of money
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