Do you have your W-2s ready?  Over the years, I've learned to keep a list of the tax documents I need to keep track of in order to do my taxes.  I do them myself and do so online but this year a few big things came up and I found some great tax credits that I could benefit from and you could, too.

I found a few that I wanted to share with you from Pine Tree Legal Assistance a Maine organization that advocates for lower income folks in our state but educating and empowering them.  I found a list of programs and tax credits that any Mainer could potentially benefit from and thought I would share a few with you now, since we are all about ready to start filing our taxes, if you haven't already.

  • 1

    Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC)

    Refund: Up to $6,318

    This tax credit is a "refundable credit" meaning you get the full amount of your credit.  Qualifications are if you make earned income.  If you are raising children, you get more out of this tax credit.

    Pine Tree Legal Assistance states, "For tax year 2017, this credit is worth up to $6,318! (This amount goes up every year.)"

  • 2

    Dependant Care Credit

    Refund: Up to $500

    If you have your child in a child care center you can use this tax credit.

    You could double your refund if your child is enrolled in a facility that is a Quality Certificate program.

    Per Pine Tree Legal Assistance, " The credit may result in a refund of up to $500."

  • 3

    Maine Property Tax Fairness Credit

    Refund: Up to $900

    Do you own a home?  Do you rent?  Then you could qualify for this one, too.

    Formally the "Circuit Breaker" program, Mainers whose property tax or rent payments are high in relation to their income will benefit from this tax credit.  Generally, your household income must be $53,333 or less, property tax must be more than 6% of your adjusted gross income and your rent must be more than 40% of your adjusted gross income.

    Pine Tree Legal Assistance gives the following directions to claim this credit:

    Most people who qualify will get their payment as part of their state income tax refund. Use Maine Income Tax Form 1040ME and the Schedule PTFC form to apply.

    For tax year 2016, the maximum credit was $600 ($900 for people 65 years of age or older).

  • 4

    Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit

    Refund: varies

    Otherwise known as the Opportunity Maine tax credit, this credit is for more recent grads of Bachelor's or Associate's programs.  The school must have been a Maine school and you have to have graduated in 2008 or later.

    You must also live and work in Maine, at least part time.

    Pine Tree Legal Assistance mentions that you still qualify if you took classes outside of Maine and if you are self-employed.

    Learn more about this credit at Opportunity Maine.