Unemployment benefits collected in 2011 will be taxable.

Bet that wasn't the news you wanted to hear today if you're combing the job sites. But here's some consolation. If you spent either all or part of the year actively looking for a job, there are some ways to skirt the tax pinch.

One is by checking to see if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you earned a low income—whether you worked for someone or you employed yourself—in 2011, you may qualify for a tax break. There are other special qualifying rules, but this credit is especially helpful for individuals and families that may have worked part of the year during 2011.

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