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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Some Families Qualify for Additional Tax Credit This Year

LAS CRUCES - Many parents should get a break on their income taxes this year. The 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act has established a child tax credit of $400 per child for kids under 17.

The credit increases to $500 per child for the tax year 1999, said Susan Wright, consumer education specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. People who take care of grandchildren and foster kids also may be eligible.

To receive the full child tax credit amount, joint filers must have incomes less than $110,000, she said. Single parents' incomes cannot exceed $75,000. Parents who earn more may still be eligible for a smaller amount.

Families also may qualify for an education tax credit, Wright said. The Hope Scholarship Credit is available for children who are in college. Parents can take a nonrefundable tax credit of up to $1,500 per student per year for tuition and related expenses incurred during the first two years of post-secondary education. They can get credit for up to $1,000 for additional years students stay in school.

To qualify for the education tax credit, students must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent degree, Wright said. They also have to carry at least half the normal course load for one term during the tax year and not have been convicted of a federal or state drug felony.