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1. Take a fresh look at your taxes*

The most important thing to do as you prepare your 2018 tax return is to throw out all of your preconceptions about whether you qualify for a particular tax break. The rules have changed enough on some key provisions that if you simply ignore them out of habit, then you could miss out on a lucrative tax-saving opportunity.

One key example of this involves the child tax credit. Most of the news surrounding this credit centered on the fact that it doubled in size in 2018, to $2,000 per child. But what many people might not know is that the income limits that determine whether those with qualifying children can claim the credit have risen substantially:

Filing Status Old Law Income Threshold New Law Income Threshold
Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er) $75,000 $200,000
Married Filing Jointly $110,000 $400,000
Married Filing Separately $55,000 $200,000

Data source: IRS

That’ll dramatically expand the number of taxpayers who are eligible. If you regularly earned a six-figure salary, you might have written off ever getting to claim the credit — but it might suddenly be available to you for the very first time this year.