April 10th, 2010
10:08 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama touts tax credits

(CNN) - President Obama is urging Americans to take advantage of several tax credits in the stimulus bill.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president called the credits "targeted relief to help middle class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy, and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream – making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family – back within reach for millions of Americans."

Full transcript of the remarks after the jump

Remarks of President Barack Obama

Weekly Address

The White House

April 10, 2010

All across America are good, decent folks who meet their obligations each and every day. They work hard. They support their families. They try to make an honest living the best they can. And this weekend, many are sitting down to pay the taxes they owe – not because it’s fun, but because it’s a fundamental responsibility of our citizenship.

But in tough times, when many families are having trouble just making it all work, Tax Day can seem even more daunting. This year, however, many Americans are seeing some welcome relief.

So far, Americans who have filed their taxes have discovered that the average refund is up nearly ten percent this year – to an all-time high of about $3,000. This is due in large part to the Recovery Act. In fact, one-third of the Recovery Act was made up of tax cuts – tax cuts that have already provided more than $160 billion in relief for families and businesses, and nearly $100 billion of that directly into the pockets of working Americans.

No one I’ve met is looking for a handout. And that’s not what these tax cuts are. Instead, they’re targeted relief to help middle class families weather the storm, to jumpstart our economy, and to bring the fundamentals of the American Dream – making an honest living, earning an education, owning a home, and raising a family – back within reach for millions of Americans.

First, because folks who work hard should be able to make a decent living, I kept a promise I made when I campaigned for this office and cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans. For most Americans, this Making Work Pay tax credit began showing up in your paychecks last April. And it continues this year, for a total of $400 per individual and $800 per couple, per year.

Second, because a college education is critical to the success of our workers and our economy, we’re helping to make it more affordable for millions of Americans. Millions of students and parents paying for college tuition are now eligible for up to $2,500 under the American Opportunity Credit. Along with a host of other steps we’ve taken, this will help us reach our goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Third, we’re restoring the home as a source of stability and an anchor of the American Dream. If you’ve bought a home for the first time, you’re eligible for a credit of up to $8,000. And if you bought a new car last year, you can deduct the state and local sales taxes you paid on that car.

Fourth, whether you bought a home for the first time or you’ve owned one for a long time, if you invested in making your home more energy-efficient with certain improvements like new insulation or windows, or plan to this year, you’re eligible for up to $1,500 in new tax credits. This does more than just put money back in your pocket; it’s helping create new clean energy, manufacturing, and construction jobs at small businesses across the country.

Fifth, to help working families with children through difficult times, we increased the Earned Income Tax Credit and allowed more families to qualify for the Child Tax Credit.

Finally, for those who lost their jobs in the recession and need some help getting back on their feet, we provided a 65 percent tax credit to help cover the cost of health care and made sure the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits is tax-free.

These are among the tax breaks and savings that are available to over one hundred million Americans right now. It’s also important to note that the new health reform law includes the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, and once it’s implemented; millions of Americans will finally be able to purchase quality, affordable care and the security and peace of mind that comes with it. And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That’s another promise we’ve kept.

We’ve also made it easy to find out what’s owed to you and your family. After all, the big guys know how to find their tax breaks; it’s time you did, too. Just visit WhiteHouse.gov and click on the Tax Savings Tool. It’s already been accessed more than 100,000 times by folks who want to see what savings they’re owed and how to collect them. If you’ve already filed your taxes and missed some of the savings available to you, don’t worry – you can still amend your returns after April 15th to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

And just as each of us meets our responsibilities as citizens, we expect our businesses and our government to meet theirs in return. That’s why I’ve asked Congress to close some of the biggest tax loopholes exploited by some of our most profitable corporations to avoid paying their fair share – or, in some cases, paying taxes at all. That’s why we’re tightening Washington’s belt by cutting programs that don’t work, contracts that aren’t fair, and spending we don’t need. And that’s why I’ve proposed a freeze on discretionary spending, signed a law that restores the pay-as-you-go principle that helped produce the surpluses of the 1990s, and created a bipartisan, independent commission to help solve our fiscal crisis and close the deficits that have been growing for a decade. Because I refuse to leave our problems to the next generation.

It’s been a tough couple years for America. But the economy is growing again. Companies are beginning to hire again. We are rewarding work and helping more of our people reach for the American Dream again. And while there’s no doubt we still face a long journey together, with more steps to take, more obstacles to overcome, and more challenges to face along the way; if there is one thing of which the people of this great country have convinced me, it’s that the United States of America will recover, stronger than before.

Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

Major Tax Benefits

Taxpayers can collect on more than a dozen 2009 Recovery Act tax benefits when they file their 2009 tax returns, including:

Making Work Pay – Ninety-five percent of working families are receiving the Recovery Act’s Making Work Pay tax credit of $400 for an individual or $800 for married couples filing jointly in their paychecks in 2009 – and will continue to in 2010.

· Taxpayers whose withholding in 2009 did not provide the full amount of the credit they are due will get the additional amount when they file their 2009 tax return. Even though most taxpayers received the benefit of this credit in their paychecks from adjusted tax withholding by their employers, they still need to claim this credit on their tax returns (i.e., Form 1040 or 1040A).

Up to $2,500 in College Expenses – Families and students are eligible for up to $2,500 in tax savings under the American Opportunity Credit as well as enhanced benefits under 529 college savings plans, which help families and students pay for college expenses.

· American Opportunity Credit – More parents and students are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,500 to pay for college expenses and can claim the credit annually for four years instead of two.

· 529 College Savings Plans – Students can now use a 529 plan to pay for computer technology, adding this to the list of traditional college expenses (tuition, books, etc.) that can be paid for by a 529 plan.

Up to $8,000 for Purchase of First Home – Homebuyers can get a credit of up to $8,000 for first homes purchased by April 30, 2010 under the First Time Homebuyer tax credit. Long-time residents who don’t qualify as first-time homebuyers and those with incomes of up to $145,000 for an individual and $245,000 for joint filers are also eligible for a reduced credit.

Up to $1,500 in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives – Taxpayers are eligible for up to $1,500 in tax credits for making some energy-efficiency improvements to their homes such as adding insulation and installing energy efficient windows.

Money Back for New Vehicle Purchases – Taxpayers can deduct the state and local sales taxes they paid for new vehicles purchased from Feb. 17, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009 under the vehicle sales tax deduction. In states that don't have a sales tax, some other taxes or fees paid may be deducted.

Expanded Family Tax Credits – Moderate income families with children may be eligible for an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional Child Tax Credit.

· Earned Income Tax Credit – The Recovery Act increased the credit for families with three or more children, bringing the maximum amount to $5,657.

· Child Tax Credit – More families will be able to take advantage of the child tax credit under the Recovery Act, which reduced the minimum amount of earned income used to calculate the additional child tax credit to $3,000 from $12,550.

Up to $2,400 in Unemployment Benefits Tax Free in 2009 – Unemployment benefits are normally taxable, but the Recovery Act made the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received in 2009 tax free.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    If you think that your taxes went up under Obama, (when in effect, 95% of us got a tax cut,) you might be an idiot.
    If you think Obama's health reform is a government takeover, you might be an idiot.
    If you think that Obama's work at reducing the number of nuclear warheads, (like Reagan,) is making us less safe, you might be an idiot.
    If you don't think the stock market is up almost 3000 points under Obama, you might be an idiot.
    If you think that the vocal minority of tea baggers speaks for the majority of us, you might be an idiot.
    If you think that Fox and their employees (Palin, Beck, Hannity, etc) tell the truth, you really are an idiot.

    April 10, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Big John

    Nothing President Obama does is good enough for the republicans and the tea baggers. Mark my words these idiots will find something to complain about. They're bigots plain and simple and 90% of the intelligent Americans see through it.

    April 10, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Bobert

    So, people who don't pay tax got 10% more money from the government, and those who might have paid tax got off the hook. Meanwhile, those of us who work hard and pay taxes get footed with the bill. Wonderful.

    April 10, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. jd

    How about increasing earned income credit for uo to 2 children and for every additional child you lose percentages of credits?

    April 10, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Listening to GOPer Kyle, you'd think taxes on the middle class had been raised.

    More lies and fear mongering coming from the right. Nothing new, that.

    Can't for the life of me figure out why ANYONE would associate themselves with the out right LIES this party spreads, day after day after day . . .

    April 10, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. ronalde

    I'm tired of kyle and the rest of the republicans what are they proposing to help the job market what bills are they trying to pass to help us get jobs so far none but everytime the president propose something they are agains't it,they loved regan when he sought nucular reduction but when obama sign a treaty to reduce necular reduction they are agains't it,they are a pitiful group of men with no meanful ideas and they are still holding up 290 bills passed by the house,they all need to go into a corner and shutup.

    April 10, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. ib

    save america; if you want to read stupid comments; read yours. another blind liberal.

    April 10, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. JJ

    If you think that your taxes went up under Obama, (when in effect, 95% of us got a tax cut,) you might be an idiot.

    So only 5% of the population smokes???? You my friend are an idiot...

    By the way, my taxes did go UP effective 1 Jan, and I don't make over $250,000!! No where close...

    April 10, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Kevin

    The part that they don't mention about that statistic of the wealthiest 10% paying 70% of collected taxes (or whatever version you might hear spewed around) is that they also control 90% of the nation's wealth. They're getting a free ride on the backs of the middle class for the other 20%. The richest often don't actually pay as high a percentage of their income as the middle class. Yeah, the tax TABLES call for a higher rate, but that's on Adjusted Income. And if anybody knows how to "adjust" their income, it's accountants of the top 10%.

    The block of people who don't pay any tax (speaking of the poor one, not the ultra-rich, of course)? How much of the nation's wealth do you think they control? 1%? Probably not that much.

    GOP: "Abortion? Opposed. Poor children dying of preventable diseases? No problem."

    April 10, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Arnie

    Thanks Mr. President, we the people appreciate your hard work in cleaning up the mess that was left behind by the last administration. We know you had to make some tough decisions but your true supporters still have your back. We just ask that you keep being honest to the American People. Some will still call you names; they will use racial overtures to describe you; they will even doubt your ability to lead but never mind them. At least you want quit, or abandon the American people for you personal gain. And most importantly you will stand up for decent hardworking people. You know it looked bad for Jesus when he was nailed to the cross for doing the right thing but that is not how the story ended. Jesus got up and his work was accomplished. Sooner or later independent voters like myself will reali

    April 10, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. CONNIE

    since 47% of americans don't pay taxes but they get a refund and the top 10% of the earners pay the most taxes and the more kids you have you get a tax credit, what about the people who work everyday and have no kids i live paycheck to paycheck and i haven't seen a tax break just the one bush gave us and it will be up soon.

    April 10, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Brice Macaluso

    It's funny how they say it's "a fundamental responsiblity of our citizenship". Taxes are only to be collected in times of war (which is supposed to be declared upon before entering, which we haven't) and only for a term of 2 years. Read the tax code manual that's handed out to IRS agents (but is strictly forbidden to be made public, I wonder why). Let me first get to the "American Dream" started off with. Earning an honest living (something a lot of government politicians are blinded to when they start making the "big bucks", so they quit listening to the people). Earning an education (from history books that only teach what's on the curriculum because the government doesn't want you to see the ugly truth in history, or how absolute power corrupts). Owning a home (for which we can thank Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and, of course our government. Homeowners still got evicted even when their own tax dollars helped the corporations to get rich) but that's ok, as long as the bosses got their bonuses for really screwing up big time. Raising a family (yeah, in squallor or worse. When you bail out the companies instead of the taxpayer and the companies still don't help the taxpayer but rather themselves, guess where the taxpayer ends up. In the streets, doing drugs, usually the children resort to violence or prostitution to get a meal or their next fix). But it's ok, Obama's in charge and I'm sure he has our best interests at heart. Oh, I so wish I could've wrote that last line with sarcasm.

    April 10, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Bobert, you're an idiot if you can't see how these tad cuts actually work in your favor.

    April 10, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Cleaning up 8 years of GWB mess and to think there are those who still want Republicans back in office must be totally clueless. Whether you like President Obama or not, he's working hard for all of us and in less than a year brought this economy back from the brink of the worst disaster. Why are Republicans trying to destroy him, because his work has shown that they have done nothing for the American people, and they don't like that but they do try to take credit in some ways without being obvious.

    April 10, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Darrell

    Mr. President

    I am a small business owner and an liberal, independent registered voter. I am paying more taxes because my business is actually growing. I voted for you and worked to get you elected. I will do both again. God has blessed me with a great business and good life. As a single, middle-aged educated professional, I will be happy to pay more taxes for investment in education, renewable energy, and start-ups. I want more Americans to achieve the Am. Dream as I have...so, please work hard to create more job opportunities for those who don't have/want a job. I will be watching...you got my support now; please don't give in to the Tea Party or Republicans...just keep on fighting. God Bless!

    April 10, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. todd

    He is absolutely right, better take advantage of the tax cuts now, because when the bush tax cuts expire, ALL HELL IS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE!

    April 10, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Marcus

    Big John – The problem with 'hollier-than-thou' fellas is that no matter how their talking points are debunked by facts, logic and (usually very bad) results of their theories/beliefs after they are allowed to be put in motion... THEY WILL STILL BELIEVE IN THEM!!!
    'The 'hollier-than-thou' attitude actually IS a form of brainwash. If you are a 'hollier-than-thou' dude you do not believe in any other source of data than one that mirrors/supplies your point of view; you disbelief automatically in any information that comes from 'the other side', you are ready to do anything that your beliefs says that are right even if the law disagrees with you... and the list goes on and on.
    That works with the right AND the left.
    So unless reality punches them in the face (no I am not advocating that they are dealt with by using violence!!!!), it's very likely that they will stay 'hollier-than-thou'...

    April 10, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. From President to Saint

    Barack Obama will attain Sainthood for wrestling the evil Republicans to the ground and casting them into the pits of hell. That's why the Palin Brigade and Senator Bonehead Boney Boner Boehner and the GOP gang are foaming at the mouth taking nitro tablets trying to keep from dying of a well deserved heart attack. Just like when David killed Goliath, Obama is slaying the evil right wing, fascist, rich white men good-ol'-boys club in supeior fashion and form. Ah Ha – God loves a merry heart and the middle-class couldn't be merrier than right now!

    Go Obama!

    Obama-Biden in 2012!

    (All SIng] Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. red and brown and black and not just white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world!

    April 10, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Marcus

    'That’s why I’ve asked Congress to close some of the biggest tax loopholes exploited by some of our most profitable corporations to avoid paying their fair share – or, in some cases, paying taxes at all.'
    And that's one of the main reasons the Republicans hate you so much... because you are proving that their 'trickle down' economy REALLY doesn't work!

    April 10, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    you idiots! yes obama will not raise taxes ya ok liberal democrats don't want our money! no they don't need our money they don't want gov regulation dept's on top of dept's on top of dept's, you liberals are such delusionsal hypocritical scum! you guys are the racists. its so funny you guys are so concerned about people being treated fairly, you think profiling muslims at the airport is mean but profiling tea party activist that's different right?????? they are all the same right???? you people need to be dealt with once and for all!

    April 10, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    I love Obama, but giving you credit in May, and then subtracting it next April is not a tax cut. Bush did the same thing, but because of 911 and the build up for the war in Iraq, a lot of people missed it, they got their 300 or 600 dollars in 2001 only to have it taken out in April of 2002.

    I'm with libertarians on this one, lets have a flat tax of 15-18 percent for everyone, that way D.Trump cant claim his 7 palaces as an expense and get money back from the government.

    Pay his fair 15-18 percent, we pay about 21-23 percent now (the middle cass)

    I personally know of a brother of a talk show host, I'm not sayin which one, Republican /Democrat/Independent that made 4.1 million dollars in 2003, and only paid $146 dollars in taxes, all legally, I pay more in out of my one weakly 800 dollar checks. I saw his pay stubs accidentally after he had applied for a loan from a bank.

    If you want to make it fair taxation, where most of us would actually pay less, then do a flat tax.

    The only reson we don't have a surplus it is because peopel like Mark H. pay 146 dollars a year out of 4.1 million. So stop paying attention to those radio jocks, they really have two agendas, making money for the people they work for and making money for themselves.

    And both Republicans and Democrats overlook this injustice. At least most Democrats pretend to care and a very few try to fix this but money talks as they say.

    April 10, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Johnny

    One by one , this president is taking away the planks of the republican platform what in order to run you must have something to stand on. No platform, no solutions only rhetoric the loud minority is just that-- loud.

    April 10, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

    welcome to my parlor the spider to the fly

    sing us to sleep barri boi grease us up and welllll you know the rest
    yogi berra said it best i aint over til its over i dont buy this 1% is going to pay for all this health care bill but i guess barri boi will mandate that we buy gm cars next where does it end????????????

    April 10, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    Obama is really reaching to say that tax refunds are a result of the stimulus plan that included tax breaks.
    With 20% unemployment (real numbers) the economy in the tank, wages cut, businesses lost, foreclosures at record numbers, and personal income almost nill, the working class is not making enough money to be taxed.
    To hear the media tout the Obama regime's spin that the economy is turned around. Where are the jobs (except census takers).

    April 10, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. one voice

    Here that teabaggers, the President is on the side of the AVERAGE AMERICANS, including you. WAKE UP!!!

    April 10, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
1 2