Non-Refundable Tax Credit

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DEFINITION of 'Non-Refundable Tax Credit'

A tax credit that can't reduce the amount of tax owed to less than zero. If the credit were able to reduce the amount of tax owed to less than zero, the taxpayer would be entitled to a payment from the government.

Also referred to as a "wastable tax credit."

BREAKING DOWN 'Non-Refundable Tax Credit'

A tax credit is applied to the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer after all deductions are made from his or her taxable income. For example, before credits, if the tax owed to the IRS is $500 and the taxpayer has a tax credit of $200, the total amount owed is $300. If the taxpayer has total non-refundable credits of $600, his or her tax bill will be $0 ($500 tax bill - $600 in non-refundable tax credits). An example of a non-refundable tax credit is the saver's tax credit, which is available to taxpayers who make contributions to retirement savings plans.