Tax time: SC tax credits that may get overlooked - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Tax time: SC tax credits that may get overlooked

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From college students and first responders, to those who work out of state, accountants say there are several South Carolina tax credits and deductions that may get overlooked.

With 11 days left to file your 2012 tax returns, Certified Public Accountant Mark Bokesch of Bokesch & Tipton in Columbia recommends keeping certain credits and deductions in mind.

First, the state's Tuition Tax Credit. While there are specific eligibility requirements, it could add up to $850 for students or parents paying college tuition at a 4-year school. Bokesch says students receiving the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship are not eligible.

Volunteer firefighters, rescue squad workers, Natural Resource Department enforcement officers and members of the South Carolina State Guard can deduct $3,000 from their taxable income if they meet certain criteria. Bokesch says their eligibility must come from the State Fire Marshal's office or an I-332 certification.

There's also a credit for people who live in South Carolina, but work out of state.

"They'll pay taxes on that income [in those states], but you get a credit for those taxes paid on your South Carolina return and that way your income is only taxed once," said Bokesch.

Bokesch says in South Carolina there's an additional deduction for dependents. If someone has dependents under the age of 6, they may claim a deduction of $3,800 per dependent.

There are also some credits that may be a little less common, but are worth noting. For instance, a deer carcass that is donated to charity is worth a $50 tax credit under the "Venison for Charity Credit."

Bokesch says it's not for your average hunter, but licensed meat packers, butchers and processing plants may be eligible through a state Revenue Department program.

"They do have to be certified," added Bokesch. "They have to be signed up in a program that specifically is run through the South Carolina Department of Revenue."

Newly married couples may be eligible for a $50 joint tax credit through the "Premarital Preparation Course Credit."

"It has to be a 6-hour premarital course, and it has to be taught by an active clergy member or professional counselor," said Bokesch. The course also has to be noted on your South Carolina marriage license.

Movie magic is money magic in the Palmetto State. Bokesch says those who have invested at least $250,000 in a movie made in South Carolina qualify for a big credit.

For those who've invested elsewhere, historic homes also make the tax credit list.

"If you have an old house in Columbia and are looking to refurbish it, check it out and see if you qualify for this deduction," said Bokesch.

He adds it's a good idea to check out all of the available credits, and when in doubt about whether you qualify, ask a professional. "The IRS and the SCDOR want to make sure you're following the rules… these deductions aren't for everybody,' said Bokesch.

Also remember tax credits are different than deductions. Tax credits are a dollar for dollar amount against what you would owe for your taxes. Deductions help reduce your taxable income.

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