Did you go to college? Did you graduate after the year 2008? Did you get a Bachelor's or Associate's Degree?
These are essential questions to ask yourself. Why? Because if you answered yes, you may be eligible for substantial tax savings. I'm not sure about your feelings on taxes, but my opinion is that they are awful, confusing, and every other negative word you can think of.
I am going to try to make this as simple as possible, but if I'm not clear enough, check out www.opportunitymaine.org, where you can find all of the information explained in more detail.
What does the program give you?
The program offers tax savings for eligible Maine residents. If you graduated from a college in Maine, and if you live and work in the state, you may be eligible for a Maine income tax credit for student loan payments that you have made.
WAIT! What are tax credits?! (I'll admit, I didn't know either, but here's my attempt to explain): Tax credits are an amount you can deduct straight from your tax bill. Say you made $50,000, and you made a $10,000 tax deduction. We'll say the tax rate is 10%, so your tax bill would be $4,000. Now, you could subtract your tax credit directly from the $4,000 tax bill. (Side note: tax credits are better than tax deductions). A tax deduction is an amount of money you can deduct from your taxable income.
What makes you eligible to get a tax credit?
Basically, you have to have graduated from a Maine college or university, with a bachelor's or associate's, and you must work in Maine. If you want this info in more detail, read the bullets. If not, skip down to learn how to claim your money!
- Must have been Maine resident while attending a Maine college/university in pursuit of a bachelor's or associate degree
- Must be working for an employer in Maine or be deployed for military service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Must have received associate's or bachelor's degree on or after January 1, 2008 from an accredited Maine college/university
- Qualifying graduates may have earned up to 30 credit hours of coursework toward the degree at an accredited non-Maine college or university prior to transferring to an accredited Maine college/university, if the transfer was after December 31, 2012 and credit hours were earned after 2007.
- If both spouses are eligible, both may claim the credit on a married-joint return.
To claim your tax credit, go to www.opportunitymaine.org. There, you'll find much more info than I can provide, and you will find the form to download so that you can claim your money!
I realize that it's past tax time, and I just heard about this opportunity on Friday, or else I would have blogged about it sooner.
But there is good news! It's NOT TOO LATE to claim your credit! I spoke with the representatives from Maine Education Services, and they were kind enough to let me know that I could amend this year's taxes. I was excited to hear that this is even possible, and even more excited to learn that you can go back to years before last, to amend tax returns. So if you've been missing out on Opportunity Maine, no problem! You can go back and fix it.
- It's another form to fill out.
- You have to fill out each year's form separately.
- You may have to call an expert for help.
But so what! If you are eligible to receive some help, why not take it?
Or, if you don't feel like going through the process, save this blog to remind you to do it next year!