TrustPlus Personal Financial Coach Elise Nussbaum discusses taxes, stress, and workplace financial well-being.

TrustPlus personal financial coach talks workplace financial well-being and six credits all workers should know about for 2024 tax season.

Looking for an employer resource, quick, low-cost ways to boost wellness and productivity among your workers?

Don’t have a ton to invest in employee financial well-being solutions this second?

Provide them with information and resources so they feel equipped to file taxes, for starters, because many of them are stressed at the moment and it’s getting worse.

Personal finance, including taxes, is a top stressor among his patients, says Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist Dr. Sammie LaMont Moss. It’s a stress that deepens as tax day approaches, when people “can get caught in a thought loop and often overthink in these situations.”

When your workers are stressed their health and productivity dip along with your organization’s performance, whether you’re pursuing profits or impact or both.

Human connection in employee financial well-being solutions

In the absence of employee financial well-being solutions that feature personal financial coaching, a human resource with real, live, human connection and a human touch, simply sharing information and resources that address financial stressors demonstrates that you care about their financial health.

The human connection piece is too often overlooked by organizations augmenting their employee financial well-being solutions, because financial literacy, alone, is not enough:

“One-size-fits-all financial education has little to no effect on changing real-world financial behaviors. A meta-analysis of more than 200 studies found that educational interventions explained only 0.1% of the financial behaviors studied,” found Martha Menard.

It turns out we all want (need?) that human resource, that human touch and human connection, when it comes to strengthening our financial health (and in living life, generally).

If that investment in your workers’ financial health is off the table at the moment, then demonstrating to your workers that you recognize their financial challenges and are trying to help can be the next best thing, plus it’s smart leadership.

Show you care

According to Gallup, employees who strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are 69% less likely to actively search for a new job, 71% less likely to report experiencing a lot of burnout, and three times more likely to be engaged at work.

So, show them that you care. To combat overthink and offer workers a stronger sense of control amidst a stressful time, we spoke to TrustPlus Personal Financial Coach Elise Nussbaum about six tax credits that your workers should know about, to ensure that they don’t leave any money on the (tax) table.

If that doesn’t contribute to workplace financial well-being then nothing does.

Earned Income Tax Credit

Elise: “For many of my clients, the EITC is a vital lifeline. They rely on it and arrange their yearly finances around that lump sum of income. It might go towards paying down high-interest debt, saving up for a down payment on a reliable car or a home, or one of those big expenses that hits all at once, like property taxes or summer camp for the kids.”

Low- to moderate-income workers with qualifying children may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), says the Internal Revenue Service.

For tax year 2023, the EITC is worth up to $7,430 for a family with three or more children, up from $6,935 in 2022.

In 2022, roughly 23 million filers received $57 billion from the earned income tax credit, but nearly 1 in 5 eligible taxpayers didn’t claim the credit, which averaged $2,541 last year, according to the IRS.

Who’s eligible? Generally, you must have worked and earned income under $63,398, with investment income below $11,000 in the tax year 2023.

You may qualify for the EITC even if you can’t claim children on your tax return. Find out how to claim the EITC without a qualifying child.

If you’re unsure if you qualify for the EITC, use the IRS’ Qualification Assistant.

Child Tax Credit

Elise: “The expanded Child Tax Credit helped cut child poverty in half during the pandemic, and I saw that play out in real time. I make sure that all of my clients with kids are well aware of the Child Tax Credit, which helps families with qualifying children get a tax break.”

You may be able to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file a tax return.

The maximum tax credit available is $2,000 per child under 17 on Dec. 31, 2023. Only a portion is refundable this year, up to $1,600 per child, meaning even if you earned too little to have to pay taxes you still could be eligible to receive $1,600 as a refund.

You qualify for the full amount of the 2023 Child Tax Credit for each qualifying child if you meet all eligibility factors and your annual income is not more than $200,000 ($400,000 if filing a joint return).

Among other requirements, to be a qualifying child for the 2023 tax year, your dependent generally must be under age 17 at the end of the year, have lived with you for more than half the year, and been a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or U.S. resident alien.

Use the IRS’s interactive tax assistant to see if you qualify.

Saver’s Credit: Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

Elise: “Trying to save money for the future can feel overwhelming and distant in the here and now. The Saver’s Credit is a huge help to my clients who are struggling to make ends meet, paycheck to paycheck, to make it easier to put money aside for a stable retirement.”

If you contributed to a retirement account and made $21,075 as an individual or up to $73,000 filing jointly then you may be eligible for the Saver’s Credit.

Formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, the Saver’s Credit lets eligible taxpayers claim 10%, 20%, or 50% of their first $2,000 in retirement savings contributions to reduce their tax liability.

Your credit amount will vary depending on your adjusted gross income, 50%, 20% or 10% of:

  • contributions you make to a traditional or Roth IRA,
  • elective salary deferral contributions to a 401(k), 403(b), governmental 457(b), SARSEP, or SIMPLE plan,
  • voluntary after-tax employee contributions made to a qualified retirement plan (including the federal Thrift Savings Plan) or 403(b) plan,
  • contributions to a 501(c)(18)(D) plan, or contributions made to an ABLE account for which you are the designated beneficiary (beginning in 2018).

The maximum credit amount you can receive is $1,000 if you’re single or $2,000 if you’re married filing jointly.

Huh?! Here’s an example from the IRS:

Jill, who works at a retail store, is married and earned $41,000 in 2021. Jill’s spouse was unemployed in 2021 and didn’t have any earnings. Jill contributed $2,000 to her IRA for 2021. After deducting her IRA contribution, the adjusted gross income shown on her joint return is $39,000. Jill may claim a 50% credit of $1,000 for her $2,000 IRA contribution on her 2021 tax return.

For Education Expenses: American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit

Elise: “The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Tax Credit are great ways to mitigate the cost of education, whether it is college, vocational training, or other continuing education.”

Lots of digital ink has been spilled over the growing student loan debt challenge in the U.S. which is saddling millions of workers with unsustainable costs. Bad news for the physical and mental health of borrowers, your workers, and for your organization.

There are two education tax credits designed to help offset these costs — the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

To claim either credit, taxpayers complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file it with your tax return.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is:

  • Worth a maximum benefit of up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • Only available for the first four years at an eligible college or vocational school.
  • For students pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Partially refundable. People could get up to $1,000 back.

The Lifetime Learning Credit is:

  • Worth a maximum benefit of up to $2,000 per tax return, per year, no matter how many students qualify.
  • Available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • Available for an unlimited number of tax years.

Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on to figure out if you’re eligible for either of these credits.

For Health Expenses: The Premium Tax Credit

Elise: “The Premium Tax Credit is vital for my clients who are struggling to afford health insurance through the Exchange, especially since the sliding scale enables additional support for those who need it most.”

The Premium Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit is a refundable tax credit designed to help eligible individuals and families with low or moderate income afford health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the Exchange, per the IRS.

The size of your Premium Tax Credit is based on a sliding scale. Those who have a lower income get a larger credit to help cover the cost of their insurance.

In general, individuals and families may be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit if their household income for the year is at least 100 percent but no more than 400 percent of the federal poverty line for their family size.

Check out the 2023 income figures here, roughly $14,600 for an individual to $51,000 for a family of eight.

When you enroll in Marketplace insurance, you can choose to have the Marketplace compute an estimated credit that is paid to your insurance company to lower what you pay for your monthly premiums (advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit, or APTC).

Or, you can choose to get all of the benefit of the credit when you file your tax return for the year. If you choose to have advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit made on your behalf, you will reconcile the amount paid in advance with the actual credit you compute when you file your tax return for the year.

Either way, you will complete Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC) and attach it to your tax return for the year.

For Childcare Expenses: Child and Dependent Care Credit

Elise: “The Child and Dependent Care Credit is an important credit for all of my clients who pay for childcare and have work-related expenses.”

The child and dependent care credit is a tax credit that may help you pay for the care of eligible children and other dependents.

The credit is calculated based on your income and a percentage of expenses that you incur for the care of qualifying persons to enable you to go to work, look for work, or attend school.

To determine the amount of your credit, multiply your work-related expenses (after applying the earned income and dollar limits) by a percentage. This percentage depends on your adjusted gross income shown on Form 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR, line 11.

See p.13 for a table showing the sliding scale with income ranges and corresponding percentages to divine your credit amount. (See, it’s so simple! Anyone have a protractor?)

Schedule a time to speak with TrustPlus about your employee financial well-being solutions today.